Can anyone tell me if the Estenson Sisters Reunion still continues on? I thought I’d heard that it does, but it’s been years since I was at one of them – and years since I really thought about it. This photo of the four sisters reminded me of it.
From left to right, we have Gina Borreson, Oline Johnson, Emma Torud, and Thea Stalheim – the four daughters of Bertinus and Maria Estenson. I love this family photo! Plus it brings back memories of my distant youth. (Does someone know the date of this photo?)
Every year year on or around July 4, as I recall, the Estenson Sisters and their families got together. Getting there was often no problem; other years it seemed our cows chose special occasions to break through a fence and we had to chase them back home before we could leave. Melby Park in Whitehall, Wisconsin seemed to be the preferred reunion location; but Lesley commented recently that Fitch Coulee School was also a gathering spot. I suppose there may have been others as well.
For many years, our family (Garven and Cora’s) regularly attended – in the fifties and sixties – but as we kids got older, then married and moved away, we gradually lost contact. I remember the picnic/potluck with lots of good food, seeing our cousins, and being in touch with second cousins and their families that we saw occasionally or not at all. (Now I’d love to be able to go back and talk with all the old folks – oops, that just about us!)
In the years we attended, softball games were the big draw for some of us. These games included both boys and girls, big and little – and usually a few fathers as well. Besides my first cousins I remember uncles and second cousins including Johnsons (like Kenneth and Dennis) and Toruds (like Ardell and Mike) being in on this mix of every age and ability. Just hanging around got you into the game. “You want to play?” “Find your glove and take the field, kid!”
After a while, I think these softball-playing fathers re-joined the other men who had decided tossing horsehoes was more their game. Maybe more fitting their age too! Then some of us kids would hang around the horseshoe games at a somewhat safe distance and listen for “ringers” and the teasing of friendly competition.
At the end of the afternoon, our family would pile back into the car (our ’53 Plymouth or ’58 Pontiac) to return home in time to milk our 35 Holstein cows (hoping that the fence had kept them at home while we took a break from farming). Those were the days.