|Gail, Dotsie, Rita, Rodney, Kay Charlie, Vicki (Grams), & Bylinda|
Our branch of the Skelton Family is not big. Our Grandparents had five children, three boys and two girls. Neither of the girls had children. The three boys had a total of 13 children. One is deceased. That leaves only 12 surviving cousins. Eight of us were there for the reunion.
We were all pretty close growing up. We all lived in or near Texarkana, Texas and we all spent lots of time at Granny's house, often together. One summer almost all of us lived in Granny's tiny little house. That closeness ended when we moved to Corpus Christi, which was about 500 miles away. About the same time, Uncle Buster's family also moved to Plano. After that, we hardly saw each other at all.
I was ten years old when we made that move. The older cousins were able to stay in touch over the years, but there wasn't much connection among the younger cousins, so we just lost each other. There were a few individual visits over the years when one of them would visit my parents. And, Grandad and I visited Aunt Suzy once. Other than that, we only saw each other at funerals.
Early last year we organized our first reunion. Last year was sort of just getting to know each other again. This year was even more fun. We shared memories of Granny and Aunt Nava. As well as family stories of things we recall from our childhoods. After lunch, we gathered round the piano and sang old hymns as Nancy played the piano. Many of us were moved to tears when we sang the song that Rita sang a capella at her brother Tommy's funeral and wondered at the strength that must have taken.
It was a beautiful day and we were able to spend part of the day outside. A few of us pitched washers while the rest of us sat and talked.
I realized that, although many of us are virtual strangers after all these many years, we have a real connection. We have a shared history that transcends all the years we've been apart. I believe we are growing closer, even after just two years. Not only do we have a shared history. We have a shared responsibility. Together, we are the keepers of our family destiny. We owe it to those who came before us to maintain our Skelton family ties.
In the two years we've gathered, we have not been very successful in getting our children together. I realize that they are not even acquainted with each other. Most of them have never even met. I realize that traveling halfway across Texas to spend time with people you don't even know is asking a lot, but I'm hopeful that, as the years go by, they too will get to know each other and join in the preserving the Skelton family connection.
"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." – Alex Haley