My great grandparents, John and Tillie Adams Huffman, celebrating their 50th anniversary at the Huffman Reunion.
(click on article to enlarge)
Today I am feeling "sentimental" about the Huffman family reunion. The Huffman side of my family was that of my paternal grandmother, Imogene Huffman Shoemaker. Growing up, this reunion was one annual summer event that I looked forward to with great anticipation. The descendants of John and Matilda (Tillie) Adams Huffman, my great grandparents, would meet at various venues, usually in the Clinton County area, but a couple of times my mom and dad planned the day at a park in Kettering or at their home at Indian Lake. There were so many of us, and even though I didn't always know who fit where, I always knew the people there were "family". I especially looked forward to seeing my "cousin" Wendy since this was the only place and time we would ever meet. As a child, it seemed like those afternoons would last much longer than the normal day and we ate fantastic home cooking, played games, told stories, and laughed together.
As the years went by, as always happens with the growth and aging of families, attendance went down. It is inevitable that new family traditions and reunions form and while it is sad, it is a fact of life. After a time, we lost my grandmother and her sisters. Only her brother, my great uncle David, survives, now well past ninety.
We were very blessed that accounts of all of our reunions were written and submitted to the Clinton County area newspapers for publication, and lucky for me my aunt kept them all. She had not only the stories of our reunions, but she also had in her possession accounts of the previous Huffman reunions; those that were gatherings of the descendants of John and Nancy Johnson Huffman, my great great grandparents. While most of the reunions that I remember were picnics, baseball playing, playgrounds, and horseshoes, the early Huffman reunions were quite a production. They held "business meetings" and voted for committees to plan the next event, even voting for a "president". They put on shows for each other, with singing, dancing, and poetry readings. I love the tales about the fun they had and it is a testament to how much they enjoyed being together, just like the later Huffman's did.
There are times when I get "homesick" for those reunions. We have tried putting one together again, but while it was nice, it felt a little hollow. The loss of so many of our loved ones was keenly felt and even though it wasn't spoken, I think many of us felt it was time to let the reunion go. But, those precious days will live on in our memories and in the articles and photographs that documented those wonderful times.
My grandmother, Imo (far left) and her sisters and brother at the 1968 Huffman Reunion