The excitement started when family members arrived at the hospitality room to sign in and receive t-shirts, tote bags and nametags. Surprises included members from Texas who received no newsletters but found out about the reunion a couple of days before and came anyway. A connection was made with a “stranger” on the plane who, after conversation, was found to be “kinfolk”; she changed her plans, checked out of her hotel and registered for the reunion.
Friday there was a Youth Luau around the swimming pool outside the hospitality room. Young people received leis and had games and refreshments. Mostly they wanted to swim.
Everyone signed a colored flag assigned to his/her ancestor’s name. Flags were placed on a large Family Chart. “Autograph bingo” was a great way for members to get to know each other: a game sheet was divided into squares, with each square containing a description of a family member; the point of the game was to ask individuals to autograph the square that described them.
A Saturday morning tour was planned. Many members hadn’t pre-registered, and the chartered bus wasn’t large enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to go, so several cars formed a caravan behind the bus. The itinerary was to see historic sites in and around Shreveport, but plans gave way to a prolonged cemetery visit at Good Hope. In spite of very hot weather, it was difficult to move the group away from the old school and ancestors’ gravesites. The same was true at the former home of the late State Grant White.
A banquet was the family’s dress-up affair and showcase for its gifts and talents. Family members received souvenir booklets and other keepsakes. Each child age 12 and under received his/her own personal copy of A Souvenir Booklet for Kids.
Arrangements had been made with church officials to incorporate the White Family Reunion into a Sunday morning worship service. A brief candlelight service was included to honor the family’s ancestors.
Reported by Gertie V. White, Compton, CA