Darrell V. McGraw, winner of our 2019 Door Prize
Our 2020 Reunion
Well, we have just over 2 months until July 19, 2020. That should give you plenty of time to come up with an idea for something you'd like to share. Want to share one thing? GREAT! Want to share 2-3 things? GREAT! Share as many items as you would like. Each item you submit will be an entry for the door prize. You can submit something in writing, a photograph, a video or audio recording, whatever you like. Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to give us time to put everything together, the deadline for submissions is Friday, July 17, 2020.
Not only will we be sharing your submissions on Reunion Sunday, but it is our plan to put all of them in a commemorative book for the virtual reunion that we will then distribute at our 2021 Reunion. That's it. The 2020 Reunion is now in your hands. Each year before the reunion we share some words from Mike McGraw about the Reunion and I will include part of that here: "As families progress in generations and move away, many family members have never lived here in the area where John and Mahalia settled, called home, and raised the children from whom many of us are direct descendants. Bring your family back, meet your "kin folks", and make that reconnection... Folks, this is OUR reunion. If we haven't seen you in a while -- come back. If you've never been here before -- you are welcome to come. Make the effort, it will be well worth it."
We may not be meeting in person this year, but this certainly gives some of you an opportunity to join in that you may not have had before because of the distance. Well, if we can't meet face to face, we will get together online.
Please reach out if you have any questions! Once again you can contact us at email@example.com
It's almost summer, and usually that means vacations, cookouts, the fourth of July and then on the third Sunday in July comes our annual McGraw Reunion. We've been carrying on this tradition since 1953 when John & Mahala's children and grandchildren spread out tablecloths on the grass at the Milam Methodist Church. There have been ups and downs and many changes since that first gathering in 1953. In January 1953 Dwight Eisenhower was sworn in as 34th President of the United States. A few weeks after that first reunion on July 27th the Korean War came to a close and most Americans had never heard of Vietnam. In 1957 we saw William C. Marland elected as West Virginia's 24th Governor, the first and so far only Governor to come from Wyoming County. Man landed on the moon, a President was assassinated, another resigned in disgrace and the Soviet Union fell.
So much history and through all these events, in good times and in bad, our family continued to get together on the third Sunday in July to continue the tradition and renew the bonds of a family that was ever growing and getting farther apart. The Reunion moved from the modest gathering on the church lawn to an event that filled the gymnasium of John McGraw Grade School with hundreds of attendees. After Grandfather John's namesake school was closed we moved our gathering to Southern West Virginia Community College in Saulsville where John's Great Grandson Mike McGraw was the Dean. Attendance diminished for a while and discussions were had about whether the Reunion might survive. Thanks to all of you, those discussions were proven wrong and the event has grown dramatically in recent years. Now our family, our state and our nation is faced with a pandemic the likes of which hasn't been seen in over a century.
So where does that leave us now? Many people have asked if we were going to hold what would be our 67th Annual McGraw Reunion this July. This has been a hard question to answer. We are carrying on a tradition that has been unbroken by it previous caretakers, but at the same time our foremost concern is for the attendees who are our family and friends. Our government has asked us as a society to curtail any unnecessary gatherings and to observe social distancing. While we cherish the tradition that is ours to protect, we feel that in order to protect it we must also protect our family. One of the things we do each year is present an award to the oldest McGraw descendant in attendance. How could we in good conscience expect those who are at the most risk, or any of our family, to possibly endanger themselves? So, once again, where does that leave us now?
After much soul searching we feel the most responsible solution is to not have our usual in-person reunion this year. That being said, we do feel that we need to do something to continue the tradition and not to break the streak. The Lilly Family here in Southern West Virginia has been having a reunion since 1929. It wasn't held for several years and it began again in the 1970's. They still say that 2019 was their 90th reunion, but we have an unbroken streak and don't want to give that up. In order to do do that we need your help.
This year, we plan to have a Virtual McGraw Reunion. What is that? What does that mean? We are going to take advantage of our website, our Facebook page and our online blog page to try to bring you all together on the third Sunday in July. So mark your calendars for July 19, 2020, for an entirely different experience. Here's the plan:
On Reunion Sunday, our doors normally open at 11 AM for people to arrive and start sharing memories (and maybe a few tall tales) and renewing old friendships and making new ones. At 1 PM we have our traditional potluck lunch followed at about 2 PM with a memorial service for those family members we lost in the last year. We then present our awards for the youngest, oldest and person who traveled the farthest to attend as well as our door prize. In recent years, we have finished our program with a discussion of genealogy and family history. Our 'virtual' online reunion will work mostly the same.
What we need from you is information. We would like for you to send us, via email, your memories to share with the family. What are we looking for? That's kind of up to you. Do you have a favorite family story you would like to share? Would you like to tell us about a family member who had a special meaning to you? Would you like to share some photographs? Would you like to share a family recipe? Anything you would like to share, or think people may find interesting is what we would like from you. Then on Reunion Sunday we will start posting these things on our Facebook page, our blog and our website. At 11 AM, when doors normally open, we will start with photographs and general stories. At 1 PM, when we would normally have lunch, we will start posting your recipes. At 2 PM we will post any memorials we have for lost family members, at 2:10 we will award for our Youngest, at 2:20 we will award for your Oldest and at 2:30 we will award for the descendant who is farthest away from McGraws (our most socially distant!). At 2:40 we will randomly award our door prize to a descendant who has submitted material to us to share for our Virtual Reunion. We will then close at 2:50 with a family history article.
Will there actually be awards? YES! We have designed a special shirt for our 2020 Virtual McGraw Reunion and we will be awarding those to our Youngest, Oldest and Farthest Away. To be considered for these, just email us your name, date of birth and how you are related to John & Mahala. We don't need a full family tree, but enough information to confirm you are a descendant. Our door prize will be a McGraw Family Reunion cutting board like we awarded last year. If you are the winner for any of these prizes, we will contact you for your mailing information and your prizes will be sent to you directly from the manufacturers. IF we have enough recipes submitted, we may have a recipe judging contest and make an award for that. IF we have a substantial amount of submissions (let's say more than a dozen participants), we may have a people's choice award for favorite submission and make an award for that as well. If you want one of these limited edition 2020 Virtual McGraw Reunion Shirts and didn't win one, they will be on sale on our website. We are looking at a different supplier for our shirts to be able to offer lower prices on these.
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