Monday, July 13, 2015
This past week, as I mentioned, I was in Minnesota for a family reunion. I had no idea what I was really getting into, as I've never even met the people who were going to be in attendance. My immediately family was going to be there, but none of my dad's siblings or parents were able to make the trip (they're on the East coast). So I kinda felt like we were crashing someone else's reunion. I thought it was one of my grandpa's brother's families that was hosting, but it turned out to be my great-grandpa's brother's family that was hosting. Whoa. That goes waaaay back. Since my great-grandpa was one of five (ish?), and he had 13, and his brother had 13, and after that I got lost about who had who and how many....there was a LOT of family represented. And it was precious. I loved being able to walk up to guys and say without a doubt, "You must be my grandpa's brother," because they looked just like him. I loved seeing my great-grandfather's homestead, where my grandpa was raised with his 12 siblings. I loved hearing the stories of growing up there from my great uncles. It was like stepping into a time machine.
This beloved home remains in the family, and my great uncles take turns caring for it and trashing it (depending on how good the hunting is on any given weekend). It's a piece of living history and base camp for family that still lives nearby.
The most striking thing about the homestead is its size. In a world where I have a bedroom for each kid, and we are only having the boys share for company and memory-making, it is shocking to see a home with three tiny bedrooms for a family of 15. My great-grandparents had a cozy room on the main floor. The stairs in the center of the house led straight into a 3 ft wide by 3 ft deep closet, flanked by two small rooms: One for girls and one for boys. A tiny crib was nestled among the beds.
It is immediately evident that these kids didn't have 10,000 Lego bricks to store or a stuffed animal collection so large it had to be rotated.
It makes you pause and think about the abundance we have. It makes you appreciate it, and at the same time wonder if what you deem normal and necessary is just plain craziness. In any case, it's interesting.
Since my grandparents couldn't make it, they sent a picture with their regards from IHOP. How cute is that? ;D
You can see how the house overlooks a lake, which the family calls "Pete's Lake" after my great-grandfather. I'm so grateful I got to visit this house. It's a place where time doesn't seem to exist, and you can lose yourself in the landscape and the breeze. And I'm so grateful I got to meet my extended family and hear about my grandpa's childhood. My great uncle said, "We were a poor family, but you wouldn't find a happier one."