Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Family Affair

When was the last time you read an article like this in your local newspaper?

A joyful gathering of a large and happy family at the old homestead.

One of those days that seldom come in the life of a large family, but which is so full of the joy and happiness, was successfully celebrated at the home of Mr. & Mrs. William Shade of Wayne Township, Mifflin county, on last Saturday, August 10, 1901. It was the day set apart for the reunion of their family.

With the children come the grandchildren, and with the grandchildren come the great-grandchildren, and with such kindly favor surely the giver of the ever good and perfect gift looked down upon this family. So strong and mighty has it become that the old house could no longer shelter the family as in the years gone by, so that it was necessary to hold the gathering in the beautiful grove which forms a part of the homestead. Had an all wise Providence allowed man to dictate the conditions that should prevail upon that day, they could not have been better suited to the occasion.

Very early in the morning the dear ones began to arrive, coming from all points of the compass, and as the venerable couple greeted the last arrival their feelings were well expressed in the words of the Psalmist; "Surely goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

At 11 o' clock the exercises of the day were opened with singing by the young people, after which the assemblage was led in prayer by the Rev. Vondersmith, followed by addresses by Rev. H. W. Koehler, Rev. Vondersmith, and Jacob Stine, each dwelling on the happiness of the occasion and rejoicing with Mr. and Mrs. Shade.

The article goes on to list 30 recitations, skits (called dialogues), and songs, and instrumental pieces performed by family members. In closing,

Ten of the eleven children, sixty two grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren, together with their wives and husbands, made a gathering that numbered over one hundred, and excellent testimonial to the love and esteem in which Mr. and Mrs. Shade are held by those whom they love and have nurtured and raised.

- Democrat Sentinel Paper of Lewistown, Penna. Saturday August 17, 1901.

The couple mentioned in this article are my wife's maternal grandmother's paternal grandparents.

For good or bad, the press controls the tempo and topic of the national conversation. There is no such thing as a neutral or impartial press. It is  always promoting or denigrating something. The question is, What? Skillful press is able to do so without the typical reader even realizing what is being promoted or denigrated.