Do you remember the Washington Elementary School in Shawnee?
We had a wonderful, fun, family reunion at the Shawnee Community Center which is right next door to the school. The center is on on 804 South Park Avenue. I heard there will be a Washington School Reunion Saturday September 7. 2017 at the Center.
The Akin (Pope) family got together for an awesome meal and fellowship last Saturday. The kids loved the playground.
One of the little ones asked, “Come play with us on that thing that goes around.”
“You mean the merry-go-round?”
“No, the thing that goes around.”
Guess the kids don’t have merry-go-rounds like in the old days.
My second historical novel, A Promise Child, is ready! The book release date is August 15th, 2017.
Here’s the back cover of the book:
Sibyl Trimble Pope, from a wealthy banking family, marries a handsome hobo from the wrong side of the tracks.
As the Depression rips through Sibyl’s hometown of Shawnee, Oklahoma, it leaves dying stores, repossessed farms, and countless men and women out of work. Now living in poverty, Sibyl suffers the burdens of a changing world and troubled economy.
Based on a true story, Sibyl Pope wants to make the world a better place. Since her youth, she has followed her papa, a respected, clever-minded banker. Interested in socialist politics and asking the hard questions of life, she struggles to find her own purpose. She does her best to listen to God, even when her father refuses to help.
Blessings come. A new baby, a job with the PWA, and a promise of a brighter future. Concerned for her children, she still struggles to keep food on her table and love alive in her heart.
Many people head west to save their families. Will Sibyl and Fremont abandon Oklahoma and their hopes and dreams for the promises in California? Or will they find a way to survive in Shawnee?
Shawnee, Oklahoma has some interesting places that have existed since the 1920’s or 30’s, some mentioned in my book, A Promise to Break. Last week, when I was in Shawnee, my mother and I ate at the Hamburger King.
She says they make the best hamburgers she’s ever eaten with toasted buns, fresh lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. They also make many kinds of homemade pies. Oh, delicious.
What important people or dignitaries may have eaten at this hamburger joint during the past decades? Many famous people came through Shawnee and could have stopped in. It’s strange to think that my great-grandparents probably ate at the same café I did. That history connects me to them in a tighter way.
Which makes me think of my ancestors’ godly, Christian lives and the way their values have been passed down through the years. Some history never fades. I hope my great-grandchildren remember the values I’ve been taught and tried to live by. Maybe that’s one reason I write historical fiction based on true stories, so future generations won’t forget their past.
Why did 50 of us travel to Dodge City cow-town on Memorial Day weekend? Some of our family caravanned, a slow but fun way to travel, cars dog-tagging along, arriving at Dodge House Lodge before nightfall on Friday.
For the reunion, we wore matching t-shirts. Now that’s a bonding experience. We had cute gift bags, volley ball tournaments that lasted hours, card games, swimming and Billy Sims delicious BBQ. We made our own family tree on the wall, tracing our grandparents’ Sibyl and Fremont Pope’s lineage back to British royalty, well at least according to Ancestry.com. What fun! Then little acorn families popped up along the bottom. All we missed was the watermelon and a few family members who couldn’t show up.
Why do we do this? Why do we take time out of our busy schedule to gather together?
I thought about what family means, in particular my family. We’ve held reunions since I was a child, gathering elderly relatives, new babies, and strangers. Well, related strangers.
We do this to stay connected, or maybe reconnect. I was amazed at how different people played ping-pong or chatted over breakfast, ones who had never connected before. And grandma, oh my, she took individual pictures with each person present, chatting with them about their lives.
That’s the part I like, making memories.
All this is to create memories for our younger generation, and to also remind each person how precious and special they are. They are what makes up our family. We are a bunch of good-looking, creative, moral, and fun individuals. Diversified – different sizes, shapes, ages, colors. Maybe a little competitive. Maybe a little crazy. But we care about each other and that’s what counts.
Individuals have difficulties, days we have trouble getting through, but the support of a family is like a canopy of rare gems. We have to hold on to it, value it, and not let it slip away.
We are jewels. Each person shines brightly, reflecting on past achievements and future promises. Some like me may still need a bit a shining up after the failed starts, but remember that we go through this life together, a handful of people aging in the same sphere.
The lesson I learned this weekend: cherish each other, and go make some memories.