I’m concentrating on many long-overdue tasks related to the family of my Maternal Grandmother. Deadlines have a way of focusing one’s attention!
My Mother’s Mother was Zura Gooch Todd, raised in the North Georgia mountains in a place that came to be known as “Lost Hollow.” Just up the creek from that farm is Mt. Airy Baptist church, which is now the home of the Gooch Family Reunion, held every 4th Sunday in July starting at 11am. I think this is the 84th reunion (although W.D Gooch, my brother and his immediate family were the only(?) attendees last year!).
Between school, work and young children, I’ve only made it every five years or so. I’m living closer to Suches, GA, now, and my son is older, so I have no excuse to not be there. Not that I want an excuse. It is a great family to be a part of, and to learn more about.
My Father did extensive genealogical research work on the Gooch Family, publishing a quarterly newsletter for several years. I am continuing that work, as best as I can with my other client work.
So, I’m catching up on posting some photos and documents, including electronic copies of the newsletter. It will never be “done,” which is the joy and frustration of genealogical work.
In the end, I have to get up from in front of the computer out of those family history libraries and go see these people I am documenting!
I’ll update this with a report of how the reunion went…
Family is what we call that select group of people who we share our lives with. There are many various levels of “family” as defined by those in the family.
About 40 or 50 people showed up at the reunion – some for only a short while, some for the whole time.
People who stay in touch and show up every year are engaged more by others. People like myself, who only attend about once every five years or so, are engaged less. This is one way those various levels of family are shaped. The lack of name tags and the fact that my cataracts had me mostly blinded in the bright sun, made this reunion not so engaging for me.
I am disappointed that nobody made the connection to my father, who died just over two years ago. He was a fixture at these events, collecting genealogical tidbits and sharing what he had collected. He published the Gooch Family newsletter for about 5 years. He was family.
Many people did reconnect with their family. Many great stories were shared, along with those embedded values. I heard people share stories that hinted at the undercurrent of white guilt that comes with living on land taken from the Cherokee people only a few generations ago. I heard stories of people who love that land.
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I drove into the event in a vehicle with “big city” Fulton County tags, a big sunscreen hat and a little dog with a retractable leash* – all indicating that “I’m not from ’round here!”
Were all still family. Some closer than others.
I’ll go back next year with my cataracts fixed, my father’s research information organized / expanded, and I will connect more.
*The retractable leash did not work so well… It was a gift – I don’t think these leashes set healthy boundaries or make others nearby feel safe. I used it to tie Chakra up so I could go into the church for the meeting. When I came to check on her a few minutes later, she had broken the leash and was being friendly to the few folks still outside.