For over 65 years, my mother’s side of the family, the Millers, have gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first weekend in July to attend our family reunion. Besides Christmas, this is my favorite time of the year because I get to hang out with my out-of-state cousins. My aunts and their families always camp out at my house for the long weekend. All of us kids look forward to spending this time together. Gram always arrives Thursday morning so she and Mom can spend the day cooking family dishes passed down from generation to generation, like Mexican chili with canned corn. Each evening, we sit around the dinner table, sharing family jokes, eating, and listening to Gram’s stories. Gram writes children’s books, so she has the very best stories. But this year was different.
After dinner, Gram stood up and said, “I want all you children to follow me into the living room. It is time you learned about our family history. You should know the contributions made by your ancestors. Our family has lived on this land since before the Revolutionary War and before America was a nation. We have a long and distinguished history, and I want you to know what an awesome family you were born into.”
So, my sisters, my brother, and all my cousins followed Gram into the living room to begin our family history lesson. Gram sat in the high-backed chair and got comfortable, while all of us kids sat on the floor in front of her chair, waiting to hear Gram’s history lesson.