What is it about families that unite us?
Do all families get along?
Two weekends ago my sister and I attended our family reunion on the Gold Coast. Our father was one of 8 and most of those siblings had large families. So I have about 48+ first cousins! So many different personalities but somehow on the few occasions we all come together we have fun.
my Father’s wedding with his parents and 5 sisters and 2 brothers
Lots of stories, laughter, singing ( some of it bad) and planning to catch up more often- even if it doesn’t happen. Of the 8 original McGann family there are two siblings left. Eileen the eldest and the lynchpin of the family and her younger sister Dorothy. Both retired to the Gold Coast where several members of their own families are now living.
Aunty Eileen 93 and Aunty Dorothy 87
We started the weekend at the Coolangatta Bowls Club. This is significant because all the McGanns were keen bowlers and had many weekends away together playing tournaments and no doubt playing up!
Celebration dance with Natalie and Lizzie and my sister Catherine
So after we had lots of kissing and telling lies about how wonderful we all still looked we formed teams and started our own competition. Some were more competitive than others. Some of the McGirr and Fisher boys actually bowl so had a head start on the rest of us I was with some of my girls cousins Natalie and Liz Fisher, Liz McGann, Kevin, Tracey and Marion McGirr and my sister Catherine. Well we bowled and laughed and told stories until time was declared.
Then we all stood in a large square around the whole rink and on the signal GO all bowled together – the closest to the jack won a bottle of rum. Of course the non drinker of the family ( and the only one I think) won. Her 9 brothers and sisters were pretty pleased though.
After a swim, rest and quick repair to the makeup we were gathering at the Coolangatta blows club for a “dinner dance” organised by the Dunn family – mostly Alison – whose turn it was to plan the whole reunion. Well done Alison.
We had our own family band courtesy of Andrew Fisher , Jim McGann, Michael McCarthy and various other talented or otherwise musically challenged cousins. They did a great job and after some speeches we were all up dancing and singing.
The speeches were many and varied as the eldest of each family introduced and said something about the members of their own family.
We all prepared our own family tree with photos to put on display and it’s interesting to see likenesses between various members of the different family and their children. Of course Catherine and I had the best display! So we thought. But with many teachers in the family ( 2 are school Principals) the competition was stiff. I think there are 10 girl cousin teachers.
Feeling ‘talked out’ we slept in Sunday before the family gathered with our 2nd cousin Father James McCarthy who said Mass, before their 10 children lay the ashes of their parents – our Aunty Eileen and Uncle Frank in the memorial garden at the church. A very moving memorial for all relatives we have lost.
So what is it that bonds?
We are quite different. We have different personalities, careers, lifestyles but the link that is family is strong. Everyone talks to each other. There are no fights or cruel comments. Not that I heard ! We all share a tolerance, understanding and caring that should be bottled and distributed to people and countries of the world. World peace McGann style. Our parents would be proud.
Happy Family to all readers.