15 August 2006

Return from Family Reunion

Got back from Texas last week, and am now attempting to cope with reality once again. The reunion was pretty good, but not much was accomplished in the historical line. We have made great strides in making the reunions a celebration of our local heritage, but most still show up to eat and leave. The children were given an interesting variation of bingo to play. They had to go around the room and talk to family members who had a specific experience and get them to sign their card. There was also a quilt made up of old family photos that was a popular auction item. We had intended to sit down with some of the older cousins who remember Lukas and record their stories, but we had to cope with some the more bizarre members of the family, as well as a trip to the old farmhouse.

The tour of the old Zihlman farm, was the highlight of the event. My grandfather, Ben Schneider, had sold it to Larry Meurer in 1975, so even some of the Windthorst family members had not seen it in more than thirty years. The place has changed too much to bring back any memories for me. They enclosed the porch that went all the way around, and expanded the kitchen, the features I remembered most from the foggy depths of infancy. Mom thinks Lukas was very ahead of his time, because he designed large walk-in closets. Even so, the house seemed quite small to raise a large family in. Of the outbuildings, the barn and silo were torn down, and only the milking shed and the hog slaughterhouse are now standing. The rest of the weekend was spent with a cousin from the other side of the family, who has joined me in researching the Schneiders. She was able to track down a distant cousin (at 4'10" a literal 'little old lady') who had been to Germany and found the actual house the Schneider's came from in 1835, still occupied by even more distant cousins.

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