Friday, January 8, 2010

The Geeraths Family Reunion

January 4, 2010: At this moment, I am sitting in this wonderful hotel in Amsterdam. Wonderful because it’s huge, which is a good thing because we are sharing it with my brother and his wife. We are happy that we decided to stay in Amsterdam, close to the airport for our final night because it will make getting to the airport much easier in the morning. And I’m thrilled to have free internet at the hotel too! So I will use this opportunity to catch up on the blog. Here’s what happened on January 2nd:

The day after the big Stook Family reunion, we had our third reunion to attend. This time it would be for the Geeraths family. This is my maiden name, although as I have mentioned before, my maiden name was spelled G-A-E rather than G-E-E. This reunion, however, was not just my family; this was a reunion for all of the Geeraths’ in Holland. There is a gentleman named Reg Geeraths in Holland who has a website about the Geeraths family name and apparently, all of the Geeraths’ are all related to one another somehow. He has researched our genealogy and knows a lot about the family and family name. My brothers and I were all excited to attend this reunion and see other family members we have never met. One of my aunts, her three daughters and one of my uncles would also be attending. We had to drive to a town called Diemen, where the reunion would be held. Of course, like everything else, Diemen is approximately one hour away from Elburg, where we were staying. We left the house about 12:30 to make the drive. Diemen is very close to Amsterdam and also happens to be one of the stops that the train makes on its way to Amsterdam. When we got to the place where the reunion would be held and walked in, I thought there would be more people. I’m not sure why I thought that, maybe because when you think of every Geeraths in Holland, you are thinking a lot of people. I met Reg, who I had only been in contact with by e-mail up until now. I also met his daughter Annemarie who also helped a lot with putting this reunion together. There was a slideshow of photos of different Geeraths family members and I was surprised to see a photo of my Uncle Hans, who lives in Mesa, with an old family friend who passed away several years ago. And just like we have found since we first set foot in Holland, food was abundant at this get together! I LOVE the French fries they have here. And instead of serving them with ketchup, in Holland it is served with a kind of mayonnaise. Not mayonnaise like you would find in the U.S.. It just tastes different, as in better. Here’s a pic that Jack snuck into showing the fries we had!

Here are a few other pics from the reunion:

From left to right: Bill, my brother Ed, my brother Andy, my cousin Wendy, my nephew’s girlfriend Renee, my nephew Geoff, my niece Carrie, my cousin Donna, my aunt, Olly, and my cousin Theresa. They were looking at old family photos.

Reg also provided a family tree, so we could see how we are all related. A lot of the family members were the children and grandchildren of my grandfather’s brother. It was a nice little get together and I am glad we decided to attend. Before we left, we took a group picture just as we did for the Stook reunion:

We left Diemen around 6:00, and made the drive back to Elburg. It ended up taking us just over two hours to get home because on our way home, it began to snow and it was pretty heavy at times. I believe we were only driving 20 mph in some places. You can imagine how nerve wracking it would be to be a “Zonie” driving in heavy snow! My brother did a great job though.
This photo is of driving back home, but you can’t really see just how much it was snowing.

We were worried about our nephew Geoff, his girlfriend Renee and my niece Carrie because they had left the reunion and taken the tram or train into Amsterdam. They were going to have to make the drive back to Elburg as well. I called Geoff and told him to be very careful driving back in that snow. They did get home after 11 p.m. and it took them about 2.5 hours to get home. Driving in snow on slippery roads is pretty scary when you aren’t used to it! Thankfully we all did well and made it back home safely.

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