The term “family reunion” always brings back memories of our Ernster family reunion, held in Hitchcock Park in Mitchell, South Dakota. My mother was utterly convinced it was always held on the hottest day of the summer. I do remember it was usually “hotter than blazes” but, my cousins and I didn’t seem to mind as we would head to the swimming pool at the park. The pool probably measured no more than four feet at the “deep” end, but it provided hours of endless fun for us. By the time our age group was finished with swimming, we’d head back to the picnic area, where the adults were visiting, only to discover the older cousins had gone to a movie. We always felt a little cheated but somehow overcame being disappointed.
My other memories of the day were, despite the heat, I can’t recall anyone ever suffered from food poisoning. I don’t think we were as vigilant as the current safe handling guidelines for food would recommend, but somehow we survived. It just wasn’t something we worried about.
Hitchcock Park also was home to a beautiful flower garden. Sadly, I don’t think it exists anymore. (If any readers know otherwise, please advise me on this.)
Most of the persons attending this reunion were my grandmother’s siblings and their children. At the time, I didn’t always know who each person was … but now I wish I did!
If I could revisit that era, I’d probably be making the rounds filling in the family group sheets and pedigree charts.