Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Skelton Family Reunion

Grams' family held it's first family reunion on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at New Berlin, Texas.  We chose the location because it's in Central Texas and we thought it wouldn't be too long of a drive for anyone.  No matter where we came from, the drive was beautiful.  Lady Bird Johnson's "Beautify America" campaign lives on with a spectacular bloom of wildflowers across Texas.  This year's is truly the most beautiful bloom I've ever seen.  This was the view from the New Berlin Community Center. 

First a little family background.  My family came from Cass County, Texas.  My grandparents, Charlie Ira Skelton and Helen Dotsie Zachary Skelton had five children; three sons, Charles, Buster and Oran  (my dad), and two daughters, Ava and Nava.  We lived in and around Bryans Mill until 1964 when my parents moved to South Texas.
  • Uncle Charles and Aunt Ruth had two children, Wesley and Carla.  
  • Uncle Buster and Aunt Susie had five children, Rodney, Tommy, Gail, Dotsie, and Rita.  
  • My parents, Oran and Louise, had six children, Jimmy, Charlie, Bylinda, Kay, Vicki (Grams) and Jan. 
  • Aunt Ava was married and had step-children but no children of her own.  
  • Aunt Nava never married and had no children.  

None of my parents' generation are living.  One of my first cousins, Tommy, died of cancer in 2000. That leaves 12 surviving first cousins who are the oldest generation of the Skelton family.  

Only two of the first cousins were not able to attend on Saturday.  We had a total of 43 people who attended the reunion; not bad for our first year.  Unfortunately, we did not get a large group picture, but we did get some pictures of the first cousins and of our kids.

These are the first cousins.  Standing from left to right, Kay, Bylinda, Wesley, Rodney, Dotsie, Charlie. Sitting from left to right, Rita, Jan, Vicki, Gail.

And our kids who were there.  Standing Nick, Greg, Eric, Zack, James.  Sitting, Katy, Andrea, Kelly. 

We had a great day getting reacquainted and learning about our families.  I learned that two of my first cousins are breast cancer survivors.  My cousin Gail has done extensive research on our family tree.  Her brother Rodney, is writing a book about the military service of the Skelton men.  He told us of our ancestors, three brothers who fought for the Confederacy in the War Between the States.  One was killed in battle; one was wounded; and one was captured, escaped, and was later wounded.  He also told us that my Dad and his two brothers were all World War II veterans.  He knows stories about my Dad's service as a tank commander under General Patton that I've never heard before.  I also didn't know that one of my uncles was wounded in the first wave to hit the beach at Normandy.

And I really enjoyed the pictures they brought.  I hope to get copies of some of them.  My dad and my uncles in their military uniforms look like old-time movie stars. 

And did I mention the food!  Everybody brought covered dishes.  The desserts were out of this world.  My sister Bylinda and her husband, Mack, barbecued brisket, sausage, chicken and pulled pork.  There was macaroni and cheese, baked ziti, boiled shrimp, just to name a few.  If you ever have the opportunity to eat Bylinda's cooking, don't pass it up.  She's really good and Mack is just as awesome with his grill.  Her macaroni and cheese is so good that my children have been known to fight over who gets to take the leftovers home.  Special thanks to them for all the extra work they did to make this a success!

We all had so much fun that we've decided to make this an annual event.  We're going to gather every spring for a day of family fun and fellowship.

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