“The passing of time is marked on the faces of people you have known for most of your life” -Richard C. Burroughs
This Sunday, September 2nd, I went to my first family reunion, which was held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ and the experience was quite memorable. I was really interested in having a family reunion on my father’s side of the family for the last several years and I could imagine the effort to pull it together, in a previous era, must have been a daunting task. Luckily, the internet has created an army of amateur genealogists, with it’s quickly rendered search results and a seemingly inexhaustible set of links to other, similar websites; though the most powerful ally by far has been Social networking and Facebook in particular.
Strapped with Zuckerbergian prowess, we began to plan. Our Family Reunion Facebook page and Free Conference Call service gave us all the necessary tools and allowed us to hold a real family reunion with a lead time of roughly Three months. I rode my bike from Bushwick Brooklyn to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. From my bag, I popped out the Disco Rice I made for the reunion (brown rice mixed with sautéed tomatoes, kale, baby bella shrooms, red and orange sweet peppers, scallions and eggplant) and a fresh button down shirt. People seemed to be amazed that I rode my bike. I did have to take the PATH train from WTC, One stop to Exchange place….couldn’t get around that. The ride was awesome as the series of pathways, and bike trails make for a nice and scenic ride from Exchange Place to LSP. I took a few pictures on a foot bridge across the marina.
I’m not sure how many people showed up, but it was an awesome turnout; which leads into the thoughts of this post.
It was my first real family reunion, but because The Family reunion is a familiar comedy trope for both TV shows and movies, I had some idea of the Family Reunion dynamics. Since life is never as depicted on TV or in the movies, I knew that I wanted to enjoy myself, reconnect and meet new relatives.
I haven’t had a stellar relationship with my father since my collegiate days and by stellar I mean we rarely talk. It’s not some seething anger that boils in my blood, though I did harbor some very sharp, initial anger when we first stopped talking. It was the cumulative weight of memories and actions that brought on a clear thought that I really didn’t want the relationship as it was and since that time, my life has simply grown accustomed to not having my dad in it. I guess I’m kind of lazy like that. To get it back on good footing, I’m going to ask for some accountability for what I hold as previous wrongs and perhaps a little ownership of the difficulties my father created but that’s gonna take some effort. It might not go smoothly. It could be denial involved. I might end up even more disappointed in our relationship.
But, I still had a real desire to see my family and making it happen was a priority, in spite of the state of non-relationship I had with my father. That could be addressed on another day, but Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 was a chance for me to see folks. I was still a little off on some relationships, like how people were actually related and I didn’t want to take up time by asking questions, like, “how exactly are we related”? So I just rolled with the flow. Saw so many children and realized how we’re all stewards of the world we leave to these kids. Voting and elections have short-term ramifications but also reverberate for decades, so each vote holds a lot of weight.
I’m not sure If I’ll ever have children. I never thought that I would get past 40 years old and not have any kids, but here I am. High school and college brought a few situations and a few mutually agreed upon abortions with girlfriends and perhaps I’ve used up all my baby tickets, though I certainly hope not. Then again, being that old father ain’t really appealing either….though proper diet, exercise and life decisions can keep me poppin’ and lockin’ into my Sixties.
I love how time flies and how my cousin Che went from being Doo Doo shoe as a kid (after stepping in doo doo at the Bronx Zoo) to this big teenager that “wrastles” for his high school team. And how wonderful his mother Kimberly looks. She being my favorite cousin and all and so spry and although she lost the foot race with Che (Che really went “Usainlly” fast on her), she still was quite faster than I expected. How seeing Craig, Carl and Dee was so good. We used to all be neighbors back on 84 Stegman Street as kids, with Auntie Ree downstairs on the ground floor. Jersey City was rough town as kids but 84 Stegman was a safe zone…..even though the house had its own demons and bad memories.
My relationship confusion will be cleared up soon, because we’re gonna start the official family tree! I totally can’t wait for that, but as a first step to getting to know my family again, the Burroughs Family Reunion 2012 was awesome!