Kidder Tree Service: Not My Family Tree!

By: Abby Kidder
By: Abby Kidder

She may not be related to the Kidder's living in the MOV, but Abby Kidder talks about her monthly reunion in Marietta with Grandma, Aunt Betty, Uncle Dick, Aunt Phil, Uncle Bob...




Family Reunions: They can be embarrassing, boring and sometimes just plain uncomfortable. But one thing that's USUALLY a guarantee: the 'extended family get togethers' are typically few and far between.

Enter my family.

My grandmother, is one of twelve children. She is the oldest of the Blatt girls that grew up in Paden City, West Virginia (Some of you may know my second cousin, Dennis Blatt, he works for Warren Local Schools. Ironically, I am not, related to any of the Kidders living in the Mid-Ohio Valley).

Now, if there's one thing I can tell you about grandma, it's how much she adores her family. She can spend hours telling a perfect stranger about life growing up on the farm and how her family had no money. She worked hard every day just to help feed more than a dozen people but she wouldn't trade one of her siblings for an easier upbringing.

I'm sure a lot of you reading this blog can relate to what I'm writing about so far. Things have really changed in the past fifty to sixty years!

One thing I do want to share with you though, is how extended family reunions have made their way into my monthly routine!

My grandmother and her brothers and sisters have organized a Blatt brunch the last Monday of every month. The brunch consists of at least six of the siblings, their spouses, children, grandchildren, boyfriends... (you get the picture!)

On average twenty to twenty-five people are at the brunch each month. The core of the group (the loud ones!) remains the same and others trickle in and out of the rotation depending if they can get away for the day or not.

I cannot tell you how I have really lucked out in this one. The central meeting place for the Blatt Brunch just so happens to be in Marietta! Everyone starts trickling in around eleven-thirty in the morning and they stay well past two.

My parents almost always make the trip down from Akron with my Aunt Barbara (my dad's sister) and Jason (my fiancé) stops in to say hi! We all spend a better part of the day catching up and telling stories.

The best part of it for me, is just watching my grandma so happy. She is 88 years old and the brunch is definitely something she looks forward to every month. She will happily sit through a two hour car ride each way just to see her siblings for a couple of hours!

To be honest, when I first heard about the brunches a little over a year ago, I wasn't too thrilled about hanging out with family members I barely knew after a full day of work on a MONDAY. But now, I really look forward to them! My great aunts and uncles are hysterical and I love how involved they've become in my life! (Even if one of my aunts was trying to get Jason to date one of her granddaughters if we didn't happen to work out! Well we did Aunt Phil so lay off that one!)

I cannot begin to tell you how lucky I am to have a ''mini'' family reunion once a month. I hope after reading this, you too find the need to reach out to your extended family tree and make them a part of your routine!


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