Monday, July 1, 2013

"So What Time Are You Not Going Today?"

Saturday, June 29, 2013 11:15 AM
It's going to be an Iffy day.

Even though I kept insisting that I wasn't going to go, I knew I would go.
I probably always knew I would go.  I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away.  I balked right up until the last minute, but I knew I would go.  Johanna teased me at breakfast.  "So, what time are you not going today?" She asked.
I knew it would be hard.  Going without them, being there without her, and not having him there, would be especially hard.
In the car, on the way, I daydreamed.  I imagined what it would be like to walk into the back yard and find them there. I would see them and I would cry.  My tears would be sugary sweet tears filled with joy.

Ross, and I are going to the Pugliese Family Reunion today.  I was a first born twice.   Bella was a first born twice, it seemed only fitting that she would come with us.

When we walked into the backyard, there were already a lot of folks mingling and gathering around.  The greetings were the familiar ones you hear from those who haven't seen each other in a while.  They call out to you, as if they are surprised that they have remembered your name or can recognize your face after all of these years.  Hey, Lynda!   "And who is this young lady?" They want to know.   Bella stands shyly by as I introduce her.
As each family comes around the corner and into the backyard, I begin to feel emotional.  I suppose it is partly nostalgic.  I sense those around me who stand in the shadows.  I look around for my mother.  Her presence is strong.  I feel her.
Bella takes off  to go play with Nicky.  Even though they have only been with each other a few times in their life, it is important to Bella that she is somehow connected to Nicky.  It doesn't matter that the connection is 2nd cousin once removed, it only matters to Bella that she is with family.
There were ten siblings of my mother's generation.  Each one of the sisters and brothers married.  I believe that with the exception my Uncle Red, Aunt Sue and Uncle Anthony, each sibling was represented by at least one member of their family.

I counted 82 people in attendance.  I surprise myself that I can identify each and every person, perhaps not always by name, but I can particularly identify which branch of the family they are part of.

I chat up with a few, but mostly I participate with my camera.

When the family band begins to play, there is hooting and hollering, clapping and singing.  Joe would have liked that.  I imagine someone trying to coax him to get up and play.  I feel tears welling up and I must walk away.

On the way home I asked Bella if she had a good time.  She said, "No, grandma, I had a great time!"

 I always knew I would go.  I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away.  


  1. Very cool and - in case you were wondering - I really like the back yard of wherever this is. Somewhere close to (if not in) New Jersey, I expect.
    I would be right there with you, questioning whether I wanted to go but, no surprise, heading out at the appointed hour. Why are such events so uncomfortable to anticipate? They are graphic reminders of change - some people no longer present and yet new people joining the group. And those who were children with us are now somewhat worse for wear along with us.
    Poignancy and fun sit on the bench together. What I know is, despite my reservations, I always enjoy the family reunions. There is one coming to my house on July 21. I guess I won't get to consider not going to that one....

  2. That is my cousin's backyard and it's in NJ.
    You are right, these reunions are a reminder of constant change. One of the things that has remained the same, though, is the family photo. Trying to get everyone to participate is always a challenge.
    Yeah, I think you better show up on the 21st. Besides being the host, will you also be the recorder of the event?

  3. This reminds me of my mom's mom's side of the family's reunion every August. That was always the bigger of the two family reunions we attended as kids--it was the Main reunion, which my now 40-year-old brother did not realize until recently was because my grandmother's maiden name was actually "Main." He thought it was the Main reunion because it was bigger than the other reunion. :)

    1. That's very funny. It wasn't held in Maine was it?