It’s always fun to reminisce and visit my family

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Last week, I had the great opportunity to see some family members who I haven’t seen in years.

I always remember being jealous of my friends in Gadsden, Ala., because many of them had grandparents who lived in town, or at least somewhere nearby. I never had that same opportunity — my grandparents all live in Iowa.

Last Monday, I flew up to Kansas City to meet my mom, dad, brother and sister, and then we all traveled up to the southwest Iowa farmtown where my dad grew up. I also had the chance to see my grandparents, two of my aunts, my uncle and several cousins who I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

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While the occasion was partly a family reunion, which we affectionately called a “Schuverpalooza,” it was also a time to help my grandparents clean out their old farmhouse. My grandfather was born in this farmhouse and he and grandma had lived there practically their whole lives. However, recently my grandma had some health issues that required for her to move to an assisted-living facility, and my grandpa moved to an apartment close by so he could visit her often.

The house has been essentially vacant for some time now, so everyone in my dad’s side of the family pitched in last week to help clean out some of the old junk that they didn’t need anymore. While it was a lot of hard work at times, it was also terrific fun to see some of the old keepsakes that serve as a scrapbook of my family’s life.

We definitely found some items with great emotional value, such as old yearbooks from my dad’s senior year in high school and the engagement photo that ran in the Iowa farm town newspaper when my parents got married. We even found a letter that grandpa had written to grandma, when he was in the hospital with a broken leg when he was a teenager. However, there were also plenty of “interesting” items that ultimately hold no value anymore, including some old sports programs, vinyl records and countless recipes that my grandma had clipped from publications over the years.

I know that it’s hard to throw things away, and we had to make some tough choices as we sorted items into three piles — keep, donate and trash. However, I’m confident that we definitely allowed grandma and grandpa to keep the items that held the greatest value.

I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, but most importantly, I enjoyed the chance to see members of my family once again. Because they live so far away, it’s hard to get that opportunity, and I’m glad I was able to take advantage of it.