Monday, June 21, 2010

Eicher Reunion at Lehman Park in Berne, Indiana

I’m not sure what it means when only 104 out of over 5,000 in the family show up for the annual family reunion. Some where I feel like we’re missing the boat getting more to show up. The second to last Saturday of June every year hosts the Eicher Reunion at the Lehman Park Pavilion. This is the gathering of the descendants of Samuel E. and Emily E. (Schwartz) Eicher. They were married on November 29, 1928 and about a year later on November 4, 1929 gave birth to their first child, Ruth (better known to me as – Mom). Both of my grandparents have passed away as well as some of Mom’s siblings. There are still many of us left both Amish and Yankee (as the Amish used to call non-Amish). The number can be found online in Geni but since not everyone has been added the 5,000 currently listed will continue to grow.

At this time, I’m not sure what year the family reunion began. I can say that we’ve held it annually for as long as I can remember (40+ years). We used to rotate it to different locales so that some years it would be closer and easier for some to make. About 20 years ago, the decision was made to hold it at Lehman Park on the second to last Saturday of June every year. Since it can be a bit large and to ensure that it is well organized from year to year the family nominates and elects officers: President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. The last is voted in annually and with each passing year rises in rank to VP and then to President before falling off the Committee again. An offering is collected each year to pay for the next year’s reunion. The Committee will pay for the rent of the Pavilion, the main meat (usually sliced ham) for everyone, bread, coffee, punch, plates, plastic ware and other basics. The rest of the food brought in to eat is done so as a potluck. We have never suffered from too little food at a reunion; there is always more than we need. The officers also organize some activities, especially for the young – like they need help finding something to keep them occupied in the Park.

This year Mom made beef and noodles (an old family favorite), a salad and a rhubarb pie. She actually made two types of sugar cream pie, two rhubarb pies and an apple pie, but this was the only one left by the time Saturday arrived. I drove in on Thursday and we couldn’t help but start digging in to them right away. I’ll put the recipes up for these later because you will have to try them – Mom can bake a pie! My youngest brother, Chris, brought a new favorite for us to eat – JalapeƱo poppers that are cream cheese stuffed and topped with a strip of bacon. I lost track of how he came up with this combo but I ate several. The JalapeƱos are cut in half, seeded, filled with cream cheese and then a cooked piece of bacon is laid over top. Yum! I can’t remember who brought what else to eat. I do remember eating and eating and eating … and then feeling rather full.

If memory serves me correctly along with Mom the following of her siblings also attended the reunion: Clara, Rosie, Verina, Samuel, Ben and Amos. The oldest and youngest were also recognized (shown below). Mom was the oldest at 80 and Gabe was the youngest at 6 months.

It was wonderful visiting with my family. I look forward to doing so again soon.

Auf Wiedersehen!

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