Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Eaton Meeton Family Reunion from Manhattan, Kansas

My husband's father, Zip, was one of 11 children in the Eaton family from Chanute, Kansas. Zip was number 10 in birth order and the youngest of three boys. The other 8 siblings were girls. One of the girls died at age two so 10 reached adulthood--7 girls and 3 boys.

Two of the girls never had children. Four more of the girls only had one child each during the depression and early war years. During this time the oldest brother had two children but one died in infancy. Post WW2 led to bigger families. The middle brother had four children with one dying as a baby. Zip had three kids and the youngest daughter in the entire family had two.

As confusing as this is, it boils down to this: the 10 Eaton children together had only 13 children reach adulthood. At the Kansas family reunion only one of the 10 original siblings, one of the three boys, is alive and he just turned 90. Hence, the reason for the get together! Amazingly, 11 of the 13 children---all first cousins were there. One of the other two we discovered had died and the other chose not to come.

So, we had one original Eaton--Uncle Mark--and 11 of the first tier offspring (first cousins) show up along with their families. The oldest cousin was 79 and the youngest was 51. It was great fun to see family resemblance and to look at old pictures. Of all of the cousins, Dave and I had the youngest child, Kaley 18.

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Here is the entire group. Most of them went to KState and are KState fanatics. This picnic was after the football game so that is why everyone is wearing purple. We won the prize for traveling the farthest from Seattle to Kansas. People came from all over the country including California, Connecticut, New Mexico, Georgia, Utah and Wisconsin. Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary, the surviving patriarch and matriarch are right in the middle. I am in the back row and I must say all of the Eatons are short because I was one of the tallest people there.

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The 11 first cousins. The youngest, Jill 51 (in the hat) is next to the oldest, Jeanne 79 (in black) in the front row. The back row the three on the right are Mike (blue shirt--Dave's brother) Shirley (Dave's sister) and Dave.

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Yep, here are the Mediterranean/Jewish/Gypsy/? genes. Dave's sister Shirley looks like she could be her cousin Jill's sister. Shirley and Jill look more like each other than they look like their own siblings. They both have stories of people asking them what they are. Are they Greek? Are they Italian? We are not sure but our Kaley fits right in.

We all had so much fun. Interestingly, only one of the 11 cousins had a failed marriage. All of the rest of us have had long marriages contrary to statistics. It really makes you think. This is a strong and good family but with no dominant religion. So you just wonder--what is the secret? I don't know but the Eaton's have it.