Friday, November 16, 2012

Jodi's Comments ...

This is my story ... take a minute a post your reunion story ...
In 2010, Joyce Fraser, my Mom, called me and we talked about the need for our family to have another reunion. In 2005 we gathered in Edmonton, Alberta and set a date of 2010 to gather again, but here it was 2010 and there was no reunion in the plans. Would I do a reunion?? I had my Mom's support, she is a great Mom – of course she is supportive of everything I do (ha, ha!). I made a few calls as I would need to have help because my health was not great at that time. I called my daughter Katrina; son-in-law Clinton; daughter-in-law Jenny; son Brian; brother Blaine and sister-in-law Sherry. Each one agreed to help. Great, now to get on with the planning. Laverne supplied us with information and forms from past reunions and Clinton (our computer man) prepared our online survey and it was on. We sent out a survey to all we could find about the location and year of the reunion. Would the reunion be in 2011 or 2012 or 2013. Where would the reunion be? Quebec, Ontario or Alberta. The numbers came in for Edmonton, Alberta area in 2012. The rest of our committee soon came on board.

Uncle Pat's home town of Westlock proved to be a very good community to hold our reunion. Westlock is close enough most of us knew something about it. The town of Westlock was very supportive, from Westlock town office with their donations to the golf course who found a perfect time for our 16 golfers to our photographer and of course the Inn was very helpful. Katrina and Jenny helped with lots of ideas and research time. Jenny, Launa, Ella, Lydia and I spent lots of time travelling to met with the Inn, the golf course, the photographer, the Westlock town office and the half a dozen stops looking for t-shirts, etc. How ironic that after all those stops we ended up ordering online, with great results – the t-shirts and cinch bags were very popular.

Thanks to all our committee members: Katrina Nielsen (sorry family illness kept you away) for organizing the children's program; JennyLynn Williams & Dorene for fund raising and decorating; Debra Fox with the computers; Gail Fox for your input at our meetings and your years of newsletter distribution; Greg Yohemas for your input and chauffeuring; Ed Fox – a great MC; Mary Fox for keeping our membership records and the years of bookkeeping;
And a special thanks to our extended committee members who were unable to join us for meetings, but read through long emails and helped us out with opinions and ideas: Lisa Hoecherl, Tom Yohemas, Blaine Fraser, Sherry Fraser, Lillian McFaddan, Janette Carwell and Faye Boychuk.

We cannot even think about the reunions without thinking of Laverne Aitchison, the driving force behind the reunions. She has taken a lot of kidding about “volunteering” people ....................... Laverne has been actively involved since the first reunion in 1985 in Galahad, Alberta. She is also one of our family genealogist, who keeps busy searching for the records of our ancestors, publishing at least 2 newsletters and trying to teach the rest of us to do our own genealogy. Thanks Laverne! Thanks Joyce aka Mom (another family genealogist) who is always been a great support for me and the one I call for more explanations of how the family fits together. I am always amazed to hear Mom and Laverne talking about family history - they can keep everyone straight! When I hear Mom (Joyce) answer the phone and the conversation quickly turns to someone born in 1823 or 1640, I know Laverne is on the other end.

Had a lot of fun at the reunion, visiting, getting the right names to the right Branton sisters, meeting family I had never met before. We can't get together without the name change coming up. How can one name get changed so many times? It was all good! The food was very good and the Inn had everything we needed: air conditioning, lots of space, the restaurant for our extra meals, cozy rooms and of course, the pool in the courtyard – not sure why we always seemed to be swimming in the dark, but it was a great way to relax before hitting the sack.

Thanks to everyone who pitched in to help in so many ways! It was all appreciated, even those who's actions are not listed here. Thank you!
Our golfers had a good time out on the Westlock Golf course and managed to get through with only a few showers. Thanks Blaine, for keeping an eye on the golfing.
Our professional photographer from Westlock: Portraits – Photography & Framing was kept busy for a few hours taking pictures of families and couples and groups and of course the ultimate picture, the big “group picture”, with some of us scattered across the floor and some teetering on the chairs in the back row and everyone else fitting in somewhere – and we all focused on Marcy, as she kept busy, moving the ladder taking pictures, moving the ladder again and then clicked away with the camera again. The pictures were a real delay, with trying to get everyone on the same page and ordered and picked up or shipped. It was one of those learning experiences and it was so easy to get lost in our busy lives.

It was fun to watch the kids enjoying themselves during the children's program – it was great! Debra's painting project was interesting – it's amazing what you can do with some shapes and a few cans of spray paint. Did anyone get pictures of the painters with all their protective clothing on? We had help from the youth and a few parents with balloon animals and face painting. Debra, you may have started something with teaching Evan about silent auctions!

The Name Game sure got everyone up and moving after a delicious meal and some good entertainment with Ed, Laverne, Tom and other family members.
The reunion would not be complete without Tom and Jannicke's “A Knight's Life” presentation. It kept many of us on the edge of our seats listening and watching, as Tom shared his knowledge and his humour about the 14th century weapons and some of the traditions that we still follow. Do you remember who the first person was that ordered a census count of who owns what and what it might be worth?
Donations came in all shapes and sizes from all over: Blaine Fraser; Carol Walker; David Aitchison; Debra Fox; Greg & Dorene Yohemas; Jannicke Ask; Jim & Laverne Aitchison; Joyce Fraser; Pat & Lynne Yandeau; Rod Williams and Town of Westlock. More info about the prizes, donations and the silent auction can be found in the Guindon Newsletter 2012 fall edition.

All too soon, the reunion was coming to a close with promises of getting together again. And we shall! The surveys are coming back almost tied between Quebec or France, so, maybe we will do both - it might be up to you.  Hope you are planning to join us on the next adventure.  

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