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Keen Reunion 2009
Posted by: Michael Barbour (ID *****9444) Date: March 19, 2009 at 12:26:11
  of 1801

Keen Reunion 2009
June 28, 2009
American Legion
Gretna, Virginia

The old days when families got together every Sunday for dinner, or chatted over the fence, seem to have disappeared in a whirlwind of the commitments and distances of life in the 21st century. It is often hard now to find time to get together with family members - especially when you're spread out across the country, or even in different parts of the world. That doesn't mean you can't easily stay connected! One easy way to stay connected is by coming to this year’s Keen family reunion.

This year’s Keen Family Reunion is going to be held on Sunday, June 28th, at the American Legion in Gretna, Virginia. I ask for all of you to please help spread the word about the move back to the American Legion in Gretna on Leftwich Street.

The doors will be open early for those of you who like to get a head start on the day of visiting. I encourage getting an early start because things tend to get a bit hectic and starting early ensures enough time to talk to everyone and explore the family history information on display. The traditional Keen family potluck lunch will be served around 1:00 like always. The food alone is enough reason to attend the family reunion, be sure to try some of Dorine’s famous Chocolate Pie.

Family reunions are a celebration of our family members past, present, and future. When we all come together and share the stories, photos, and other artifacts of the past, we pay homage to and expand our knowledge of the family that has gone on before us. We owe everything, our very existence, to our ancestors. Most know next to nothing of them mainly because their lives were so humbly recorded. It is good that we seek to expand and record our knowledge of their lives so that we may better understand our own.

Family History Corner

Each year I try my best to provide new and interesting information at the family reunion. This year we will explore the Irish origins of the Keen Surname and the migration of the Keen Family from the little village of Eashing in England to America. I also would like to encourage everyone to put together a poster or some other display to represent how you feel about the family or how you feel about just one person. The reason I ask this is because different people have different perspectives on things and the way you view an ancestor may be truer than someone of my age would have.
In the past couple of years I have tried to start adding additional facts about people to the family history. Facts such as causes of death, occupations, military service, migration, and hobbies are the details that makeup the grand Keen tapestry we all take such pride in. One such detail, that I just found out and find very interesting, is that Charlie Keen’s grandfather James Asa Woodson helped him build his house and lived with him briefly in the 1920’s when the 1920 census was taken. I ask all of you to write down some of these details to contribute to the recorded family history. I know some people find such sharing of information to be unimportant and embarrassing, however these details are what shapes the future generations idea of who we were. One very important thing to remember is that one day we will be the ancestors and we have the power to shape how the future generations will view us. How do you want to be remembered? How do you want your parents to be remembered?

People often overlook how important family history is. When you go to the doctor one basic question most times asked is whether or not there is a family history of Cancer. The answer to this question has a direct impact on the medicines and treatments that you are given and could cause you your life. So, ask yourself again, why is family history important?

“One person’s trash is another’s treasure”

On a recent outing I casually wandered into a favorite antique store and once again I found photos of our family members. I quickly identified the people in the pictures by the names of the individuals written on the back. I have heard stories of people selling, burning, and throwing away family photos but for whatever reason it never occurred to me that this was happening to photos of my own family. In addition to photos people often take for granted and throw away other things left behind when loved ones die such as newspaper clippings, funeral/memorial announcements, and invitations to weddings and showers. There are many people within the family who would be ecstatic about such items, I know I would, and if necessary pay for items if that was an issue.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is always hard and sorting through possessions of the loved one is often very painful. People tend to just want to get it done and over with and let grief cloud the way in which they dispose of the person’s possessions. The saying, “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”, comes to mind when thinking about the way estates should be handled. The hymn book of Aunt Flo or the old pipe that Uncle Joe smoked may mean nothing to you but could be a very meaningful memory to someone else in the family. So the next time you come across those unidentifiable photos or those yellowed newspaper clippings before you toss, sell, or burn them, please take a moment and consider who may cherish them forever.

The Safest Harbor

As a potter molds clay to form a beautiful creation, so does the strong bond of family and good values. Family bonds are a link to our beginning and a guide to our future. Early influences are fundamental to our individual development.

We all want to "belong" and feel accepted. A sense of belonging is derived from the strong bond of family. Family is where our roots take hold and from there we grow. We are molded within a unit, which prepares us for what we will experience in the world and how we react to those experiences. Values are taught at an early age and are carried with us throughout our life.

A close family bond is like a safe harbor where we find refuge. From trusting that someone will pick us up when we fall, as a toddler, to someone being there for us as we experience the storms in life - family bonds help to instill trust and hope in the world around us and belief in ourselves. Rituals of bedtime stories, hugs, family reunions, holidays and daily meals shared together, provide a sense of warmth, structure and safety. These rituals and traditions, not only create memories and leave a family legacy, but create our first path in life - one that is positive.


The Reunion is being held at the American Legion on Leftwich Street in Gretna, Virginia. Leftwich Street runs from Main Street Gretna to 40 (Vaden Drive) the American Legion is closest to the 40 (Vaden Drive) end of Leftwich Street near the West End Church of Christ and Jeff‘s Tire and Auto Center. Highway 29 runs straight through Gretna and you can get onto 40 (Vaden Drive) directly from 29. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact us.

~ Contact Information ~

Michael Barbour
1901 Braeburn Drive, Apt. 806
Salem, VA 24153
(540) 206-6646

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