Summertime and Family Reunions

Last year I received a dvd made up of old 8 mm family movies from my Aunt Bev.  There was a clip of some of our family reunions on it, taken by my Uncle Billy Joe at my grandma’s house in Maryville.  

While I am working on my genealogy, I have noticed how  family reunions nowadays are being planned.  Games, themes, pricey door prizes, matching t shirts and the like.   It made me think of our reunions when I was growing up.  Ours were not like that.  They were generally in a field or someone’s backyard.  They consisted of the men BSing each other at the washer holes, good homemade food, old ladies gossiping in webbed lawn chairs and a lot of running and playing if you were one of us kids.   I usually went home and broke out in a miserable case of poison ivy a few days later from wallering in the woods.  Probably partly due to the fact I was wearing dresses.  

I am the little girl in a dress in the front of this picture. It was the mid 1960s and I remember that dress. It was blue, very pretty and barnyard appropriate 🙂   I believe David Joe is beside me.  Karla Sue is at the end of the table.  Billy Joe and Bev are getting their food.  This was a reunion in Kentucky.

Bev is talking to Ma Bolin.  Aunt Clara and Aunt Ruth are the others I think.  This is the same reunion in Kentucky.  We would take the ferry over from Cannelton to Hawesville.  That was something to look forward to for us kids.

Several of our reunions were in Hawesville, Kentucky.  Someone down there made the best cherry pie in the world.  I knew this and looked forward to that cherry pie each year.  I am sure they picked and pitted the cherries and made the crust homemade.   My mouth is watering writing about it.

One of the scariest funniest things that ever happened down there was when a  smart aleck boy ate mistletoe berries.  We were all out in the woods playing.  The boys were always having a “pissing contest” with each other.   They were usually in two factions.  The home boys and the visiting boys and they were all wilder than march hares.  I’m sure it was a dare.  But for whatever stupid reason he ate the berries off of some wild mistletoe growing up in a tree.  Then everyone got scared.  Someone said the words, “it’s poison, he’ll die” and we all took off running back to the Momma’s.   So all of the Momma’s gather round him and start talking about what they can whip up to make him puke.  I don’t know what they finally did, but I can still to this day see that dumb kid puking in the middle of the circle of the Momma’s.

If I remembered more he probably got his butt whipped too.  That’s usually what happened when you scared the Momma’s.

A get together of Bolin’s at my Grandma’s house in Maryville. Faye, Susie and Gene.   Early 1960s.

Grandpa Aaron Bolin and his sister, Jane Bolin Gipson “Aunt Katie” at Grandma’s house in Maryville.  Mid 1960s.

A Family Reunion at the State Forest shelterhouse.  My Grandma Evans is in the white dress and high heels next to the shelterhouse.  It must have been after church.

1970s.  My dad, Chuck, and Grandpa John having a BS session while Ev doesn’t believe a word of it I would imagine.

I sure miss those reunions and those folks.

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Summertime Drive In Memories

Whenever you enter Winslow from the North side, you will see this old neon sign from the Sunset Drive In that formerly stood on Highway 41 in Evansville.  The screen is set up back in the distance.  It is summertime nostalgia for me.  I called it the Airport Drive In.

Moved north of Winslow:  the old Sunset Drive In

Moved north of Winslow: the old Sunset Drive In

I know there once was the intention of opening a drive in here.  Now it is an abandoned roadside attraction of a day gone by.  It could just as easily have been laying in a landfill somewhere.   I like that it is sitting there.  You may see old junk sitting in weeds, but I see childhood memories.

Growing up in the 1960’s, going to the drive in on the weekends was the thing to do with our family.  We went to Oakland City Drive In mostly.  But once in a while we would go to the Sunset Drive In, all the way to Evansville.  The entire experience was just a big treat.  For one thing, we rarely went to the city at night.   I still love a city at night.  The first thrilling thing for me was driving past the airport with all of it’s colored lights.  If a plane was taking off or landing, we kids would hang all over the top of each other to look out the window busting with sheer excitement.  We weren’t in seatbelts back then.  Remember hanging over the front seat and your dad yelling at you to quit hanging over the seat?  We would drive past Dad’s work, that big bustling Whirlpool factory was bigger than anything in Winslow.  Then we were there, pulling in past the glowing light of the Sunset Drive In sign.

The Sunset Drive In.  Evansville, Indiana http://www.courierpress.com/

The Sunset Drive In. Evansville, Indiana.   http://www.courierpress.com/

At the Oakland City Drive In we kids pretty much could run around by ourselves.  But here Momma was a little more cautious with that.  We still could go up and play on the playground that was under the big screen under her watchful eye.  Dusk would turn into darkness and the cartoons would start.   Woody Woodpecker was our cue to abandon the swings and seesaws up front and head back to the car. Sometimes we had to look twice because Dad would have moved the car if the speaker didn’t work.  We would make a trip to the bathroom, Momma taking me, Dad taking the boys.  Cars were so much bigger back then.   Momma would put pillows in the floorboard on either side of the hump, making the entire backseat a big bed for me and my two little brothers.  Usually we lay down after the cartoons.  Sometimes I would climb up in the back window….in those old big cars the back window had a ledge that was perfect for little girls to share with the nodding dog and look out at the stars overhead.  At Oakland City when I lay in the back window all I could see were stars, here there were planes flying over my head with their blinking lights to dream by.

Memories of family drives, city lights, concessions stand bathrooms, crackly speakers, mosquito coils hanging on the window, just getting a few sips out of one pop for the entire family to share, just getting a few bites out of one popcorn for the entire family to share, the smell of Dad’s cigarettes, seeing my parents sitting next to each other with Dad’s arm around Momma, jostling around with my little brothers as we lay down to sleep and a hot summer night somehow seem a whole lot sweeter than that click of a button for that movie in my living room.