The reunion was held in Ansted, WV (southeast of Charleston, WV). Zoey and I traveled with my mom and my Aunt Betty. It was SO worth the trip! Not only is the countryside absolutely beautiful, but the reunion was amazing!
The reunion honored the Ingram family, which is my great grandparents on my mother's mother's side. All the decedents of my great grandparent's 10 kids that were alive and could make the trip attended. I saw people that I haven't seen in years. I even met people that I forgot I knew.
My favorite part of the whole trip was being immersed in family. We do not live close to any of our family, so it was very special to see them all for the weekend. Ansted, where the reunion was held, was where my great grandparents lived their entire life. My grandparents met and lived there for many years as well. I loved seeing the history of the place. We stayed at Hawk's Nest State Park where my mom shared many memories of her youth. I got to see the house that my Papa built himself. I heard stories from all of my Aunts and Uncles about how life was living in the mountains.
I realized on this trip, more so than I have before, how important family and heritage is. I have always been extremely interested in history, especially my own, but I realize now a lot of what I learned when I was younger faded. I remember some things and I remember some places, but the extent of the history feels much more important this time around. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am now raising the next generation. I want to know where my family came from so I can pass of the heritage and the stories to my children.
Zoey did very good the whole trip! Even the 7 hour drive went fairly smooth. We stayed in the lodge, basically a hotel room, on the property of the state park that the reunion was held. That worked out really well I thought. Zoey loved the views and the mountains. We couldn't leave until she said goodbye to the river. It was so cute to watch her waving and saying "bye bye, river, bye bye." She did really well with all of the "strange" family. This was the first time she had met any of the family, except my mom of course. And they all knew all about her. But Zoey would just go up to anyone who gave her any interest. She especially loved my immediate Aunt and Uncle and several of my age cousins. Then her 6 year old cousin, Joanna (her generation) fell in love with Zoey and they were playmates all weekend. I'm really glad Zoey was able to come and enjoy weekend. Even though she probably won't remember it, there were many memories made. I know I will remember it. It was such a great weekend all around.
And now I leave you with a few pictures...
Zoey meeting the view of the river. She loved this spot and came to it frequently during our stay. This is also where she said goodbye to the river. By the way, river was a word she learned this weekend.
Zoey with her cousin and newest playmate, Joanna. They were so cute all weekend.
Three Generations: Me, Zoey and my Mom (Granny)
This is my Mom's branch of the family. There are actually many more of us in my and Zoey's generations, but they were not able to make the trip. This is my (left to right) Uncle Gerry, Aunt A'dria, Aunt Betty, Me, Zoey, and Dee (my Mom).
First Generation...my grandparent's generation
Second Generation...My parent's generation
Third Generation...my generation.
(minus Zoey of course, but she was loving on her Mommy because it was past naptime)
Fourth Generation...Zoey's generation.
I also want to note that Papa, who I have talked about several times, was part of this family. He is my Mom's Dad who married into the Ingram family who was honored at the reunion this weekend.