I’ve never been one to care much for family reunions.  There’s usually more humanity present that you don’t know, than you do.  Of the few family reunions I have attended, I’ve often felt I was required to repeatedly declare my right to be present when asked the incessant question, “Now, who do you belong to?”

This past weekend, however, I was blessed to attend the Tennyson (aka Tennison) reunion at the local city park. This group of first cousins and the one remaining Aunt gather annually on the second Saturday of September to visit and reminisce, and they have been doing so for some number of years.  How I lacked knowledge of their assembly every year, and in my own town, I do not know.  My awareness has been forever changed, as I have now been accepted into this small group of family.  And no one had to ask to whom I belonged – they all said I favor my Grandmother Cleo.

Cleo, the matriarch of the Page homestead, was born to the Tennyson clan on November 8, 1908, being the third oldest sibling of six other females and one male.   Her father, Columbus (Lum) Howell Tennyson, married Millie Alma Davis on January 6, 1901 in Prentiss County, Mississippi. Although it is said that Lum, who died at the age of 71, was often sickly, Alma lived to be 104.  What teeth she had were hers, she dipped snuff and partook of a daily toddy.  She was a bit of a spitfire.

My Grandmother lived to be 94, passing from this life on June 11, 2005, and surviving her husband, James Olen Page, by 21 years.  She too was a bit headstrong.  I remember Grandmother telling stories of her youth and how she helped her “Poppy” in the fields because there was only the one boy born to the family.

Me, Aunt Quay Hunt (91), Pam Wolfe (my sister)

The one surviving Tennyson sibling, Aunt Quay Hunt, is 91.  She still lives alone, drives (as much as her daughter allows her) and volunteers most week days at her local hospital.  Upon seeing her on Saturday, I became teary-eyed as she so resembled my grandmother in appearance and mannerisms.  Five of the eight Tennyson siblings were represented at the reunion by children, grandchildren and even a couple of great-grandchildren, Anna Page Wolfe and William Page.  My sister and I offered the farmhouse for next year’s reunion and all seemed enthusiastic to gather there.  We look forward to hosting all of the Tennyson ascendents at the farmhouse September next.

If we did not have enough incentive to move the farmhouse further along in its restoration, we do now.  Jack and nephew, John Mark Wolfe, stayed home from the reunion to continue the restoration process.  Every hour invested brings us closer to completion. I look forward to the end product and the many memories that we will continue to make at the old home.

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