PROGRAM: Friday will be “Get Acquainted With Your Family”
Day. After an opening
ceremony at 1:00 pm with introductions and information sharing, we will
trace the family history focusing on Archibald and Esther and their
fifteen children. Why did
they leave a beautiful home in Pennsylvania for the Nebraska frontier?
What was life like in Nebraska in 1879?
Who became a physician? Who
helped establish colleges? Who
went abroad to teach? Why?
What were their religious lives like?
Who was educated and who was not?
Are there “skeletons” in our closet?
Etc., etc.! There will
also be opportunities for you to share stories you have
about Archie, Esther, Calista (Do you know who Calista was?) and the
children. Come prepared to
speak up! There will be a huge family tree and displays for Archibald,
Esther, Calista and for each of the children.
(More about the displays below.)
Those of us who have been planning the
reunion feel we have a wonderful history and heritage to share.
Many of you know a lot about it and have helped us gather stories
and information. But far more
of you have candidly told us you know very little about the family beyond
your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
We are hoping you will be interested in learning more.
For those foolish enough to stay up, Paul Brumbaugh will host a Late
Night Video Friday night, with a brief discussion
following. We considered
using either “Friendly Persuasion” or “Witness.” Both movies could be used to illustrate aspects of Van Dyke-Swigart
family traditions and life. However,
we think the movie we chose (we’re keeping it a secret for now so you
won’t go out and rent it before the reunion!) does a better job of
reflecting family dynamics generally and many of our family dynamics
morning will start with some mixers, contests and “gimmicks” to help
those in attendance get acquainted with other people at the reunion as
well as with our forebears. Then
there will be a brief “business meeting” and free time for browsing
among the displays. (More
about the business meeting below.)
afternoon we will board buses and tour significant family history sites: the
site of the first farm Archie and Esther bought, a couple of cemeteries,
the site of a church that was so full of Van Dykes it folded when they
moved away, places where some of the “kids” were employed, etc.
evening will be a banquet with entertainment provided by various family
members and a keynote speech by Gage County historian, Laureen Riedesel,
on what Gage County and southeastern Nebraska were like when the Van Dykes
arrived. The reunion
committee has met this person and heard her speak and we believe you will
enjoy her. Besides knowing a
lot about Gage County, she already knows as much or more about the Van
Dykes than we do--even though she is not one of us!
we will attend the worship service at one of the three Beatrice churches
with significant ties to our family.
(The other two churches no longer exist!)
church we will head for the “Filley Stone Barn”–that historic old
barn I mentioned earlier–for a catered “pioneer picnic.” The Gage County Historical Society will conduct a program
following the meal and we will formally close the reunion following the
program. This portion of the
reunion will cost $10.00 per person.