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Hocking Hills, Ohio

It is hard to believe the great grandchildren now outnumber the grandchildren in the Knarr family. I am the youngest of seven having been born closer in age to the oldest grandson than the next sibling. One factor remains true, although I will always be the youngest of seven, I am no longer young!

 
This I learned at the latest Knarr Family Reunion. When I was young and there were few grandchildren in the picture, I was the one entertained by stories at the campfire and the making of s’mores.   I was the one who longed for the others to sing so I could sing along. Together we would hike and swim in the pool, if we were lucky enough to camp where there was a pool, and eat organized meals cooked by the different families represented. My favorite meal was the spontaneous pancake breakfast made by Mom who thought to take her electric skillet. We crammed into our parents’ cabin as our campsite flooded at Turkey Run State Park, Indiana. 
 
This year I was sick. Hiking Hocking Hills, Ohio, with or without my dogs was out. The dogs and I enjoyed sleeping in and walking slowly around the campsite. Sitting by the campfire in the cool evening brought on a deep cough and hurt my throat. If I stayed in my air conditioned cabin, I felt fine, consequently, I rarely left. Most would be disappointed to miss all of the fun, but observing the changing dynamics of the family was just as entertaining to me as discovering Old Man’s Cave.
 
The grands and great grandchildren were active, fashionable, and fun. They enjoyed the hiking and swimming, but created all kinds of hype with fireworks, new games, and ghost stories. Three grandchildren organized a Silver Anniversary Scavenger Hunt for their parents. Young cousins became close at Hocking Hills despite living a nation apart. 
 
I missed having my parents with us. There is an emotional adjustment watching the siblings become the leaders of the family. There is a shift as we, the once-active, become the elders as the grands and great grandchildren establish the new family traditions. Without the family farm as a gathering place, our family adjusts to finding ways to have reunions continuing the tradition our parents created for us. 
 
Finding an agreeable date for seven siblings, fourteen grandchildren, and sixteen great grandchildren is impossible. Many of the families have begun their own traditions of reunions with the in-laws or their own family trips. There are more summer camps and teams and competitions than I can name. I complicate matters by requesting a dog-friendly adventure. We do our best to offer a date with activities that can include all who can come and hope for the best. What we enjoy are the rewards of the changing dynamics of a growing family. Whether enjoying the villas in Virginia or the cabins of Hocking Hills, the Knarrs continue to prioritize the need for coming home to one another.