You know how difficult it can be to get your immediate family together for a holiday dinner? Now imagine getting multiple families and multiple generations from multiple states to meet up the same week every year in Wisconsin Dells. Pat Wallace from suburban Chicago and his childhood friend Terry Monaghan started the tradition of getting their two broods together for an annual Wisconsin Dells family reunion some 30 years ago.
One year, 85 people showed up, but the number usually hovers around 60. Recently, like the more than nine summers before that, the group chose Baker’s Sunset Bay Resort as their gathering spot. Relatives came from as far away as Maryland and Missouri. Four generations were represented, ranging in age from one month to 67 years. Most stay for a full week, no small feat in itself, with the kids experiencing the thrill of getting up on water skis for the first time and the adults spending quality time reminiscing. On the warm summer day we visited, the pool was full of little ones splashing around with grandparents, with a competitive sand volleyball match going on nearby.
Even before the week was up, the group had booked their rooms for the following year. Wallace and Monaghan joked that some of the kids have included a mention of the family reunion in their wedding vows so new members of the clan know their presence will be requested every July in the Dells. Now that’s good planning.