Monday, August 3, 2015

Going "Home" Again

Making the trip back to Ohio has always been a special time since moving away in 1981.
Getting together with far-away loved ones is the main thing of course,
but then there are those other things... crossing over the bridge.
When my boys were small, this was was the high point of their trip...

...or maybe it is getting a pizza from that favorite place that never changes...

...or taking a trip down memory lane...or the road that led you home...literally.
Family reunions...I love 'em.
For as long as I can remember, my family had one every summer without fail...
...same city, same park, maybe a different table.
It started out as the Davis Reunion—my mom's side of the family,
including uncles, aunts and cousins...all six of her siblings and their families.
When large families have large families, that's a LOT of folks!
It wouldn't be unusual if there were well over 100 or more in attendance some years.
There is only one Davis of that generation left these days... mom's baby brother who is on the far end of his 90's and unable to travel.
Little by little the crowd dwindled over the years, leaving mostly just us Billheimers.
Dad passed away in 2002, then Mom several years later in 2010.
One of her wishes was that her kids would continue to get together regularly.
 These photos are from our last reunion with Mom in 2009.

Six of my siblings live pretty close to each other, four of them attending the same church.
The eldest, brother Bob, lives in South Carolina and of course I am right above him.
Since Mom passed in 2010, we have been able to get together three out of the five years.
The photo below was taken in 2011 and is the most recent one of all eight of us all together.

Somehow, the group photo from the 2013 reunion didn't get taken...
...too much talking and craziness going on I guess.
I really had my heart set on getting an updated group photo this year.
Unfortunately, Bob had a health scare and wasn't able to make the trip.
It was very disappointing but we were just relieved that he is going to be okay.

So it was the seven of us in the new photo.
The one taking the picture (a nephew) told everyone to say something...can't remember what.
It looks as though several were caught in different stages of saying whatever it was!
And an added blessing this year was getting re-acquainted with a childhood friend.
Polly lived kitty-corner across the street and we played together almost daily.
Here's a peek at us from back in the day.

(left to right) Polly, Rhonda (another neighbor girl), me, my sister Barbara
Sister Barbara (left), me (middle), Polly (right) and big sister Ruby in back.
Polly and her family moved away when she was about eight and we lost contact.  
A little over a year ago, I received a friend request from her on facebook...
...good ol' facebook.
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather since I hadn't thought about her in years.
Now here's were the story gets interesting...
Not only is she a farmer who raises exotic sheep,
Polly is also a published author, her first book written about her father, Paul.

She wanted to get in touch with me and Barbara and tell us that we were in her book!
Over the past year we have rekindled our friendships and knowing that she lived in the area,
we invited her to our reunion!

It was so much fun to see her and reminisce about the old days!
She had also put some of those memories into her book,
memories that either I had forgotten or just blocked out...
...and it seems that I was a little mean girl at times!

Can you believe I did that?
I can't either... ;)
Now that I have a copy, I can't wait to read the rest of it!
So on Sunday morning, we seven siblings worshipped together as a family...
then had lunch together before we got back on the road to NC.
Yes, it surely was good to be "home" again.
And home isn't just the house that we currently live in...'s any place where we leave a part of our hearts. 
Have a great week, friends.

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  1. Santa isn't a real person???

    Funny, you reminded me of when my sons found out the *truth* about Santa. My oldest son thought it was wonderful that his Dad and I had worked so hard to do all the things that he originally thought "Santa" had done. And he was very eager to help continue the fun with his little brother.

    OK, speaking of little brother, one day he came home from school and told me that someone had told him that the Tooth Fairy wasn't real. Oh no, I thought, here it comes. I had told myself that if one of the kids directly asked me about this, I wouldn't lie. Well, I watched as his mind went from Tooth Fairy to Easter Bunny to...oh dear...Santa. And when I lovingly told him the truth, he pointed one little finger at me and said, "You lied."

    It took a long time for him to forgive his less-than-truthful parents!

    It's these sorts of memories that bring such joy to families. I'm glad that you had this wonderful time with yours. And I just love the photos of the sibs!


  2. How fun that you are in your friend's book. Funny how some of our memories are so clear and others are remembered better by friends or siblings. I'm sure it was a huge trip down memory lane for you. You probably "saw" your kids everywhere.

    1. You are so right, Dotsie :) It was a great day!

  3. This was a wonderful read, Debby. I think you look like your mom! Wonderful that at least most of you could get together...maybe next time it will be all of you.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. I love that you shared so many photos, old and new, and how fun to meet up with your childhood friend! Love the excerpt from her book!!!

  5. Sounds like you had a great time. So nice to see that everyone still gets together.

  6. aww, Debby, such a sweet post Full of wonderful family times and photos. We lived in Ohio when my husband had a job there in the late 1970s our first child was born in a suburb of Cleveland. We liked living there but it was just too far from our family so we moved back when he was able to get another job.

  7. You have no idea how much I liked this post Debbie. Coming from a small family that never did reunions, I savoured all the tidbits and photos about yours.
    Imagine finding yourself written about in Polly's book! So funny over the authenticity of dear old Santa. Well, we have to believe to keep the magic alive don't we?
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

  8. I enjoyed reading this post about your family reunion and friend, Debbie, and going home again.
    Take care and have a nice week!

  9. What a great family reunion, there is a real blessing getting together as your Mum wished for. It must have been amazing getting together with an old friend too and remembering all that went between you.

  10. Debbie, what a great post and a wonderful family reunion. It was great that your friend was able to be there too. I have to laugh over the Santa story. Thanks for sharing, enjoy your week ahead!

  11. Good morning, lovely Debby! What a precious and special time for you, my friend. Family truly is a blessing and the memories created with them will last a lifetime.

    The book written by your friends sounds fabulous! From the little bit that I read it would seem she has a cute sense of humor just like you :)

    Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Have a joyful day, dear one. Hugs!

  12. So precious! I am afraid our family has been lacking in this and it is sad. It is great you are still making the effort to connect with your family and friends! Blessings this day, Lynn

  13. What a fun reunion! I love the story of your friend. You, a mean girl? No way! I remember telling a classmate that there was no Santa Claus. I remember going home and crying and confessing to my mom as if it was some sin! Isn't that funny. The teacher was calling out spelling words and in her sentence, used the word, "Santa". I raised my hand before the whole class and told everyone that there was no such thing as Santa Claus and that mama and daddy were really Santa. I was taken out and scolded by the teacher. I cried and cried.

  14. Family reunions are the best. Mr. Sweet's family was very large, too, and they held a reunion in the same place for 30 plus years...then, as the older ones died off, the younger ones kept it going for a few years...then, when there was no longer any one that really KNEW any one, it just died away.
    His cousins are so scattered now....and our nieces and nephews are also far apart.
    So glad you got together again.

  15. I know that you had a wonderful time visiting your former home town, connecting with family, meeting old friends, reliving old times and treasured memories. What fun to find yourself in Polly's book! So funny!

  16. What a great story! Thanks for sharing it! I came over from the Roses of Inspiration link-up party. Have a lovely day!

  17. It is so wonderful that you are so close to all your siblings and visit as often as you can. My husband is from Ohio and his father's side of the family has a reunion every couple of years. There are always lots of people because, as you said, big families have lots of descendants. There were 8 surviving children in my father-in-law's family. The youngest two sisters are the ones who have been organizing the events for the last 20 years. Have a wonderful week!

  18. Oh Debbie that was such a lovely post about your family! We always appreciate them so much more when we get older. The Santa Claus story is hilarious! I think we all remember the first time we found out he wasn't real and how we found out. And your story was published! Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog. Hopefully we meet up again. Have a super week! Diane

  19. Oh Debby... I just enjoyed this post so much! I loved seeing you and your family, thank you for sharing your photos with us.
    You have the cuttest little chin!!!! It has personality plus. :)
    I chuckled when I read the part about you telling the truth about Santa Clause. I guess someone has to be thee one to tell all. :) I remember the day and the way I found out, and it was a sad day.

    Have a beautiful rest of the week!
    Joy! Debbie

  20. Hi Debby! Loved all the photos that you shared, I am one of eight children myself. It's so hard when time marches on, and family dwindles. I'm glad you are keeping the tradition of getting together alive. My Dad has told me the same thing. We had a reunion for his 90th birthday, and he wants us to keep that up even when he's gone.
    Family is such a blessing! And how about your friend being an author, and you in the book! (You little stinker!) What a lovely surprise!

  21. We have lived far from family for the past 30 years, it is hard to be so far away from them, makes you really appreciate those times together

  22. This is such a warm, feel-good post, Debby! Love the family photos and glad you're still having reunions even if not as often as before. Amazing how fb brought you back together. I love the story. Have a wonderful Thursday.

  23. I am an only child so enjoyed reading about your reunion and seeing all the pictures. Must be wonderful to be part of such a big family.

  24. Oh what a sweet post...while my grandparent's families were large they didn't stick together much in their later years but my ex's ( son's dad ) Italian family has similar large gatherings such as yours.

    Love the photos of your mom :)

    I chuckled at the pizza in the beginning because yes...places like that are always a great memory over time.

    Such a fun post altogether ! :)

  25. Oh what a sweet post...while my grandparent's families were large they didn't stick together much in their later years but my ex's ( son's dad ) Italian family has similar large gatherings such as yours.

    Love the photos of your mom :)

    I chuckled at the pizza in the beginning because yes...places like that are always a great memory over time.

    Such a fun post altogether ! :)

  26. Reminds me so much of my homecoming in the next two weeks. Thrilled! :D

  27. How wonderful for you, Debbie, fun family time and great memories.

  28. Is it mean to tell the truth? ; >

    So much fun to see your family reunion. Lots of stories there! Did you all grow up in the same home? The reason I ask is because each sibling often sees the same experiences, the same parents, in very different ways. So glad that your dear brother is on the mend. Hope that you're all together next time!


Thank you for stopping by today! Your sweet comments are such an encouragement to me.

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