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June 29, 2006

The Clayton Family Reunion

I have to admit, as a kid I could sometimes be a real snot. I remember once when my mom graduated with her Master's Degree in Counseling. She was so proud, and wanted all of us kids there to support her. But, it was like 130 degrees at the University of Delaware football stadium that day and all of us just complained the whole time we sat there through the lectures and the ceremony, complaining because pop wouldn't buy us the overpriced Pepsi.

After the ceremony, we continued to complain about the heat, and no one mentioned that we were. . . proud of my mom or anything. I remember not understanding why my parents were so annoyed and (my mom) hurt by us.

Like I said, total snots.

I think part of growing up, part of becoming an adult, is examining the parts of your life where you act like a snot and deciding if maybe you shouldn't. Now I don't think being a snot is always a bad this necassarily. Sometimes it's good.

But in my attitude towards the Clayton Family Reunion, I was definitely wrong. As a kid, I would not look forward to this day. The Claytons are my father's mother's family. My dad's mom, Helen, was one of 8 children (7 girls and 1 boy). She died when he was 4 in a tractor accident. The Claytons loved Helen and were devastated by her death, and my dad was the only child, the only trace left of her.

Looking back now, as I understand more about kids and connections and such, I can see that my dad wanted to go to these reunions because these sisters needed that connection, and my dad needed to remember his mom through them. And of course seeing Helen's grandchildren would only strengthen that severed bond.

Enter us the Latshaw kids. Complete and total snots.

Where what in reality what was going on was recovering something lost in this tragic accident, all we say was old people who we didn't know and food we didn't like, at the end of a very long drive.

We'd complain on our way there, alot. We'd complain there, we'd ask when we could go. We'd reluctantly meet people, embarrassed that we didn't know who they were since they were family. I'm actually shocked my dad didn't just scream at us in frustration. Of course, we only went about 3 times and I think I know why.

Last Sunday, Darby and I and the kids attended the Clayton Family Reunion with my parents. i have to say, I think I've grown up, because I realized all this stuff and I had a great time. Meeting all these women who were my grandmother's sisters, it helped me recover something that I lost out on. And I could tell they all loved my dad, and seeing us.

Fortunately, I think the 1999 and 2002 models of Latshaw (my kids) are much less snotty then me. They managed to be well behaved, not complaining once, the entire time – and we stayed a long time. I was very proud. And they are better at introducing themselves and all that.

The reunion ended with some of the ladies playing brass instruments, and some of us singing along with them with handouts of choral versions of hymns (many of which I'd never heard). It was a total and complete blast, so full of life and energy. It made me regret all the Clayton Family Reunions I've missed in the past, and decide that in the future we will go if at all possible.

Posted by jason on June 29, 2006 10:12 AM


it is interesting how your memory is so different than mine, because i remember being excellently behaved in every situation. thank you.

Posted by: joshua Latshaw on June 29, 2006 10:58 AM

Susan and I are very close with her grandmothers side of the family. Some of those 2nd and 3rd cousins treat us more like uncles and aunts.

I think distant family is a thing that we have definately lost in our culture.

I wish I knew more of my family that way

Posted by: jaysonjaz on June 29, 2006 01:27 PM


Jason has always been the rotten apple. He tries his best to bring anyone else down to his own level. I'm glad you spoke up. Don't let him soil your reputation to make himself feel better.

Posted by: ian on June 29, 2006 02:09 PM

I know exactly what you mean. The last time I got to go to the reunion was such a fun time--partly cause Drew was with me and they instantly put him to work in the brass ensemble (he turned out to be a hit), and partly because they are family. Period. And they are a link to the grandmother that I never knew--and the mother that pop barely knew.
Thank goodness that none of us stay kids forever. Here's to trying to be as snot-free as Josh apparently is and always was!

Posted by: Jessica on June 29, 2006 05:32 PM

Hey! I think it's really neat that you can see that :-) Family reunions are an interesting thing... I haven't seen everyone on my mom's side in a while...
OH! by the way... I'm going to go take my driver's test today (for my actual license) SO! if you guys see this, I'd really appreciate your prayers, I'm kinda nervous :-P Thanks!

Posted by: sha'uri on June 30, 2006 08:37 AM

Hmmmm.... What's in it for us? If you get your license, will you come to all of our shows? JK. Good luck. I'm sure you will pass.

Posted by: Collin - band member on June 30, 2006 09:27 AM

you don't want my prayer, I am bad voodoo when it comes to driver's licenses. I failed my permit exam 2 times, my driving test 2 times, AND one time my car failed for me.

Posted by: jason on June 30, 2006 10:19 AM

so, that would mean that you failed your driving test three times, right?

Posted by: jessica on June 30, 2006 02:06 PM

no, one time I didn't even get to take the test because the turning signal didn't work when he checked it beforehand.

Posted by: jason on June 30, 2006 02:08 PM

AFI, you know, they're a band. Bands play music, right? Music is... well you should know, or do you? AFI's new album is really good. i just failed my motorcycle permit test, even though i passed easily last summer, so i didn't study at all. it work out awesome.

and germany won. woot

Posted by: childish on June 30, 2006 06:03 PM

love the new afi. love the new angels and airwaves. like the new keane. haven't heard enough of the new dashboard to have a opinion, but I like it. love the new pearl jam. love the new pink. love the new morrissey.

Posted by: jason on June 30, 2006 06:05 PM

Why is PA's driving test so hard.. i know of few people who passed it on their first try... not even Susan

Posted by: jaysonjaz on July 1, 2006 12:30 PM

I passed it the first time (brag, brag)

Posted by: ian on July 1, 2006 01:29 PM

I LOVE family reunions. They have always been really important for my mom, and also for me. It's nice to know in advance that if my kids are total snots and don't get why it's important for me to drag them to Hartman family reunions (that's my mom's family); there is hope for them that eventually they may grow up to be sensitive and wonderful people (like you Latshaw kids) and they may go to family reunions voluntarily...

Posted by: Susan on July 1, 2006 04:18 PM

I failed for a different reason each time, but mostly for me it's that there is no margin for error and you know that so you are so nervous so you make any error.

and the parrallel parking was so hard.

ian, it's been dumbed down. we used to have to exectued a wheelie and land it in 5x5 foot island in the middle of a lake of fire. no lie.

Posted by: jason on July 1, 2006 11:29 PM

susan, one thing my parents never did for the two examples I list below that I think would have made a difference is explain to us why these things were important. for instance, I told my kids why we were going and why these people mattered and why we had to be polite and I think that had something to do with them behaving very well there.

for some reason, my parents never did this for the graduation or the reunions!!! they just kind of sighed and dealt with it, instead of saying, "you know, make sure you let mom know you're proud of her because this is a really big deal." I think we would have gotten it!

Posted by: jason on July 1, 2006 11:31 PM

It's weird that your parents didn't explain the importance of the graduation or the reunion- that seems like such a 'your parents' thing to do

Posted by: Susan on July 2, 2006 07:16 PM

when you have so many kids I think sometimes big events become more "crowd control" and herding then opportunities for rational discourse.

Posted by: jason on July 2, 2006 07:25 PM

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