“Our Reunion Made History,” Ensign, June 1984, 68
Our yearly reunion includes five generations, with my grandfather as the first generation. Our seeds had been deeply planted in West Jordan, Utah, in 1889 when my pioneering great-grandfather built an adobe house and settled down to farm. The home has been beautifully maintained and lived in since then, and the farm (though lost and regained during the Great Depression) has passed through four generations of fathers and sons. The farm through the years has been a center point for all; everyone returns to “the farm” for outings and vacations and our family reunion.
1981 was my year to be chairman of the reunion, and I was determined to make it an occasion to remember. I discussed a plan with my mother and sister, and they agreed to assist me. As a result, our reunion was not only successful, but every head of household went home with a history book compiled by the entire family. This was our method:
1. We sent out notices to every home announcing the day and time of the reunion, promising a new and different experience. In that notice, we asked each member of each family to send in one or more personal experiences, in the form of a short anecdote, dealing with the house itself, the farm, and the family relationships there.
2. Four weeks before the reunion, a reminder went out.
3. Three weeks before the reunion, phone calls were made to all families that had not sent entries.
4. Two weeks before, I began compiling and typing.
5. Three days before the event, I took the completed manuscript to a copy center.
6. The night of the reunion we sold the book, titled I Remember, for the cost of duplicating its ninety pages.
In the meantime, we organized a program using some of the best anecdotes as readings, interwoven with appropriately matched talent numbers. For example, our narrator read excerpts about life on the farm during the Depression, followed by an aunt and uncle who sang “Side by Side.” One contributor’s anecdote about being in a young cousins’ singing group was read; the children (ages 4, 5, 5, and 7) had been dressed in cowboy and cowgirl outfits and sang “I Didn’t Know the Gun was Loaded.” The number was a big hit back in 1950, and even more so the night of our reunion as we grouped these cousins together (dressed up again, of course) and had them repeat their performance!
Both the reunion and the book were a great success and a lasting memory, and we all felt very proud to be who we are. Brenda B. Jeppson, Bennion, Utah