My Family Reunion 2009

This past weekend (7-30 to 8-2-09) was my family reunion. The Monroes got together in Fishkill, NY to commemorate the 18 children of Hector and Maggie Monroe. My great grandmother was their daughter, Katie, who had 9 of her own children and lived in Red Springs, NC. This year, the NY Committee hosted and decided to have it in a place that had a lot of resources. There was basic shopping, outlet shopping, a water park, movie theaters, bowling and plenty of places to eat outside of the hotel. Friday night was the “BBQ”, but since it rained…it was held inside. Saturday night was the banquet dinner, which included memorials for the 18 and other family members who have passed in the recent year or so. Sunday morning was our farewell breakfast…and of course the last day.

The onset of this reunion was tense to say the least. A lot of things threatened to go wrong. I guess that is the downfalls of any family…issues are certain to arise. One of the earlier snafu’s was the backing out of my uncle and his family over a 15yr long rivalry with my other uncle’s wife. *sigh* Sibling rivalry is REAL in the hood. LOL THEN…Friday, we almost didn’t get the reunion tees because the printer thought we wanted them to be ready Friday FOR Saturday, so he was lax in finishing them all…my aunt-in-law, uncle and grandmother were hours late to the BBQ because they had to wait for the shirts and drive the hour and change back up to the mountains. Actually, that story starts further back, because when we ordered them, the printer of the shirts said that my design wasn’t going to work on the tees. The tree was a picture of the African tree of life and I just added names and tinted it. As it was it would’ve been a 4 screen process, which would have been way out of our pricing range. I had to go to the print shop, sit down at that guy’s computer and work it so that he could lift the tree off the picture. Anyway, that took place and eventually we got it popping.

All in all, we had a great weekend. The feeling of being around your clan can be refreshing and tiring at the same time. I probably slept all of 8hrs TOTAL for the entirety of this weekend, which made for a very sleep kween. lol. That constant on-the-go of being in vacation mode is cool…so, it was worth every lost wink of sleep. I saw babies and toddlers and tweens and teens and my own crew and my mom’s crew and my grandma’s crew…which is scary. Scary to know because that means one day soon (but not TOO soon) my grandmother’s generation will be gone as well. That saddens me. Yet, it is the way the tide ebbs and flows. The children eventually ascend as more children beget descendants.

Here is a slide show of some of my favorite pictures from this past weekend. I love my family. Thank God for the Monroes ­čÖé

I told you…

I hate to say, “I told you so”…ok, maybe I don’t HATE it, lol. I just TRY not to revel in the inevitable backlash of dumbfuckery…but, it’s hard when folks make it so easy. Here’s the story:

My family is hosting this year’s family reunion. The NY Committee’s turn comes about 10yrs since the last time we did it. Being that this IS NY, it’s hard to find a hotel that will effectively house, cater and provide fun for a reunion for a decent price…especially in this economy. So, when we found a place that had a great deal of what we needed, we were ecstatic. Now, the “we” is comprised of my mother, aunt, sister, 1st cousin and I. No, we are not the totality of the NY chapter…so of course, we had to run it past the rest. Our chapter is comprised of 2 immediate clans; one based in Mt. Vernon, NY and the other in Queens/Brooklyn, NY, descended from 2 of the 18 children of which we honor. When the meetings were had, I was in DC babysitting for 3 months for my 2yr old godson. Meaning, I wasn’t able to weigh in on some of the details.

Back to the the place “we” found. We decided to have it about 40mins north of where I live now. This hotel was NEW…recently built. The rooms were SWEET. The entire hotel was no smoking, so for those suffering from allergies, asthma, etc…would be comfortable. Right next to it, down a flight of stairs was the owner’s diner, where he had a dining room that seated 80 people. It wasn’t HUGE, but it would’ve worked. It even had it’s own side entrance and a back room for convenience. We were offered the DINER’S menu for Saturday’s banquet and Sunday morning’s farewell breakfast. The menu’s offering was HUGE. We’re talking diner style cuisine over typical “fish, prime rib or chicken marsala” options…lasagna, rollitini, brisket, ribs, etc…all within a package. The owner was also going to throw in coupons for his steakhouse down the road for the one day when everyone would find their own lunch. There was a park near it (great for the BBQ we wanted to throw) and the Splashdown water park which was just 10 minutes away for an inexpensive answer to a not-so-big problem…the absence of a pool. “We” didn’t care. “We couldn’t remember anyone partaking of the pool the last time we had a reunion. Besides, for all that we’re getting…ESPECIALLY the low cost of a NEW hotel AND the ability to bring our own food, which is hard to find…who gives a DAMN about a pool?

NOW, after we sat and talked, looked at the rooms, saw the diner, my mother and aunt took a few other folks up there to look at the premises. Well, everyone had an issue with there being no pool. What did they end up with? The Holiday Inn that “we” visited where the rooms smelled of a combination cleaner, smoke and mildew. They had the option to get a free hospitality room (so that we wouldn’t have to rent one) as long as there were over 75 people. Now, we seriously cannot remember the last time that our numbers were over 70, but I guess they were so determined to have this damn pool, that they couldn’t see straight. Guess what? The head count is officially 55 people…which means that the hospitality room has to be paid for (damn near another $150). ALSO, we’d suggested earlier on that there be fund-raisers of some kind. A fish or chicken fry…bake sale…something! All of the cohorts involved in choosing the BS hotel outnumbered us logical thinkers and said no. Well, now…they’re saying we should’ve had one because the cost is piling. *snickering* They had such big ideas for little penny ante crap and NOW, the reunion is more expensive and less comfortable than they anticipated. As it currently stands, the economy is too unstable to be worried about a damn pool. The consideration was for the cleanliness, the convenience, the comfortability and the cost…our 4 C’s. For the extra $20+ spent on the rooms, that was the group rate for Splashdown. For the extra money spent on the food, that was the cost of the “nice” tees the committee wanted. I just wish people used their minds better, listened to reason and learned to compromise. I know one thing…those who wanted that pool so badly WILL be getting pushed into the pool. Swim damnit, SWIM! lmao

To that I say, HA! I told ya! Well…I’m saying it to myself. LMAO

It’s a FAMILY Thang!

My family reunion for 2009 is being hosted by the NY committee (us). I haven’t been stoked about planning this thing for a long time…til now. It’s funny because, the 1st meeting was on Saturday and I didn’t even attend (due to being under the weather), so I didn’t even get to sit in on the pow wow. Yet, I am raring to go.┬á

Let me give you a little info. I don’t know how most do their family reunions…but we do ours in hotels. A lot of Black families still have old-fashioned cookouts where the family gets together on someone’s land for a weekend and BBQ, party, plan activities, etc. We don’t know anyone who owns that kind of land *sigh* so we commune in hotels. We are spread far and wide but primarily take turns between the Maryland Clan, the NJ clan, the Mass Clan, The NC/SC clan, and the GA clan. This past summer (which I missed) the reunion was held in Massachusetts. There, the NY clan decided they’d host. Even though us young folks were lobbying a few years ago for a cruise…we’re opting to just go by land. The reunion usually takes place over a course of 3-4 days during a weekend. Friday is the meet and greet and BBQ. Saturday is a free-for-all until the evening where we attend a banquet where we have all kinds of activities. We’ve had stand up comedy, fashion shows, praise-dances, plays and the reading of our genealogical tree. We’ve even had church. ┬áSunday is the farewell breakfast and then we say our goodbyes.

THIS reunion, the young people were given the steer of the ship. Friday is supposed to be “Hawaiian Night”. We’re slated to find some Hawaiian shirts and khaki bottoms. Some Polynesian-Soul fare, and all of that themed stuff. Leis on entry, etc. I say we have Chicken-Pineapple kabobs, BBQ pork sandwiches ala Keikikiwi and some coconut cake. The gift bags are being HI-JACKED by my cousin and my aunt-in-law, but I think I’m gonna kick the door in on that! LOL I KNOW me and sis can find some mini lotions from Bath & Body in Pineapple, Coconut and Banana scents. Some mini suntan lotions, lip balms in tropical flavors, and some sort of key chain that looks like sunglasses or something. My creative juices are flowing and I am coming up with a BUNCH of ideas. *wondering can I get a hold of mini ukeleles*.

I also am working on a website for the family’s tree. The color on the shirts this year are gonna be a blue-green. I am hoping we can fundraise enough cash to get the screening done in color, so the tree can be full bloom. I am also gonna work on acquiring the family’s heritage info from my cousin. She told me years ago that it would be ME to continue her legacy of finding out more and more about our clan…and I am seeing now that she did indeed pass her crown to me. *thanks Carol* I truly DO want to know more about my people and how we’ve cross-bred with other nationalities. Irish and Scottish slave masters. Cherokee and Blackfoot lineage. I’d even like to tap into my mother’s paternal side, find out a little bit about the man they say was half Puerto Rican (or hispanic)…and half Asian.

I’m ready to do this mane!