Plain Talk

Neuharth, Al. "Plain Talk." USA Today, n.d.

Family reunions put life in perspective

You Can't Go Home Again

- Author Thomas Wolfe, 1930s

EUREKA, S.D. - Hundreds of Neuharths, of all ages, from South Dakota to Alaska, Florida to California and in between, gathered here for a 4th of July weekend family reunion.

Thousands of you had similar holiday homecomings across the USA.

If your reunions were like ours, they put the lie to Thomas Wolfe's novel warning against going back where your roots are.

Mine are deep in this pristine prairie town of 1,200 where I spent the first 11 years of my life (1924-35).

Much reunion reminiscing was about my grandmother, Katharina. She lived to age 90 and left this legacy:
17 children.
51 grandchildren.

Her firstborn, my dad, Daniel, died after a farm accident when he was 30. Her husband, my grandfather John, died at 60.

Most Neuharth women outlived their men. My mother, Christina, widowed for 54 her 86 years. Aunt Hulda, now a feisty widow of 80 who did much of the planning for this family reunion, called "Rejoining the Generations."

They practiced their own form of feminism. Family first. Gritty and witty women gave us our values and the glue that held our family together. Even after most of the third and fourth generations split for the four corners.

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings."

- Hodding Carter Sr., Mississippi publisher

Reprinted with permission of the USA Today.

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