A word about the Reunion...

"My father, Gilbert Richard Kern (no relation to the Gables since I married into the family), says that, 'History needs to be like a rear-view mirror.' When we drive a car, we concentrate on what's ahead of us. If we don't, then we're endangering our safety and the safety of those around us. However, every so often, we have to check our rear-view mirror to make sure things are in order behind us as well. Our well-being is not just ahead of us, it can be found where we've been, too.

It's a hard thing to accept that where we've been hasn't always been nice. We all have had, or will have, life-changing traumas in our lives. The Reunion minutes show losses of loved ones, including infants. There are family feuds that keep others from attending the Reunion now. A marriage ends—and we're still too discrete to record those on our minutes.

That is the balancing act historians must deal with. My personal opinion is that I am glad that divorces are not recorded in our yearly meetings. I see no reason to record a subject that is probably a hard issue for those who have suffered it. Lots of emotions, lots of rationale, lots of living went into the divorce. It is heartbreaking, and people are more important than their actions. Let's save face and keep the Reunion day happy.

On the other hand, the rear-view mirror is hanging there to help us. A few years ago, I heard one person tell Tony Masessa (a previous family historian) that he could take off the spouse under that person's name. He shook his head, and in his quiet manner simply said, "You didn't not get married." The marriage existed, for better or for (apparently!) much worse. This person lived it. They experienced all the emotions and events leading up to the wedding and then to the end of the marriage. They were hurt. They were embarrassed. And years later, they chose another spouse based on their rear-view mirror aspect of marriage, along with plenty of looking ahead.

This is an exciting time to be in this family. Our history is just as varied, thrilling, noteworthy and cockeyed as any other family's. Please don't be offended when you are asked delicate questions by the family historians. You certainly don't have to answer, but who knows what rear-view mirror your history will mean for other people someday?

Carolyn Schlicher"