Sunday, October 17, 2010

Family Reunion (Shurtz & Skins)

This afternoon Kirsten and I went to our family reunion. This was the Shurtz reunion. Shurtz is the maiden name of my father's mother (my grandmother Margaret). My grandmother was one of several (I forget how many) children. I am thinking it was about 7 or 8. This reunion was for all her brother's and sister's descendants. This is the first time we have gotten together in about 15 years. I don't know why we stopped the yearly tradition. We used to have one every summer and I looked forward to seeing my family that I usually only saw at this function. It was great, but it stopped suddenly and it took over a decade to make it happen again. However, now it is different.

Because we haven't seen each other in so long, I really didn't know who anybody was. I knew a few of them, but they were the ones that had lived close enough that we saw each other all the time growing up. Since they were part of my childhood, I obviously knew them. But that only applied to about a dozen of the people there. The other 90% of the crowd had to be explained to me by my parents. We had many conversations similar to this one (names changed to keep from offending).

ME: "Who was that woman taking pictures of me?"
MOM: "That's Sarah."
ME: "Who's that?"
MOM: "You know, Duane's wife."
ME: "Who is Duane?
MOM: "Brett, come on, tell me you remember. Duane is Gladys' second son."
ME: "So Gladys had two sons?"
MOM: "No, she had four. Three with her first husband and one with her second."
ME: "So, who is Gladys?"
MOM: "She's not here, she died in 2005."
ME: "Sorry to hear that, but who is she?"
MOM: "Your grandmother's sister."
ME: "Which one?"
MOM: "Brett, your father only had one mother. Which one do you think?"
ME: "I KNOW THAT! Which sister was she?"
MOM: "The one named GLADYS!"

So, needless to say, I still don't know who that woman taking pictures of me was, but she seemed to know me and my parents. So, I assume she was part of the family, but I honestly don't know how. I talked to several second and third-cousins about how we do not know any of the people in this room. Most of the time, I didn't know the cousin I was talking to. We would introduce ourselves, and sometimes explain whose kid or grandkid we were. The older people would always ask, so they could place us properly in the family tree, but the younger ones never asked. I think we were just happy to get to visit with someone without having to validate why we were allowed to be in the room.

Despite being surrounded by all these long lost relatives, my brothers and I (who live within a mile of each other) sat together when we started eating. I had a brother (Kyle and Trevor) on each side of me. Kyle's wife sat across from him. My daughter, Kirsten, sat across from me with Kyle's sons (Gage and Isaac) on each side of her. My aunt Claudia, my dad's sister, sat next to Trevor. We sat and told stories like we always do when we get together and had a very good time.

I really enjoyed eating in the same room as all the other Shurtz clan and cannot wait until next year when we can do it again.


  1. Love the dialogue - hilarious!!! There is something so special about family reunions - all the dysfunctionality, issues, and love under one roof. There's always some excitement or some moment that will be memorable. lol

    1. Thank you. Over the years, we all just grew apart and went separate directions.

  2. Enjoyed your story or should I say our story being we are part of that Shurtz family with all it's branches. I too am at a loss when it comes to all the new faces and the changed faces of those that have grown up and although I can see the family features in them I can't figure out who they are.
    I must say that one of my favorite people in the family was Aunt Margaret and her husband who was always so nice to us as kids. Oh, and there was the corn cob jelly and home made ice cream at their house all fond memories. Uncle Claude got my dad into the Masonic lodge and Uncle Claude was a Past Master at Sesser Goode Lodge # 744 where my Dad (J.D.) and Brother (David) and I currently belong. My brother and I are both Past Masters having followed in his footsteps and his picture still hangs in the Lodge to this day. and i owe so much to him as a role model for the short time I knew him as a child.
    Also our family goes all the way back to King Darius Shirts changed to Shurtz when family spread to America.
    -Bruce Shurtz

    1. I had no idea our family went back to King Darius. I had never heard that before. Claude died before I was born, so I never got to know him.

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I don't see extended family on here very often.


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