My Big Fat Polish Midwestern Family Reunion

I just got back last night from Sandusky, Ohio; home of Cedar Point and my birthplace. Much of my family still lives in Ohio, but in years past, I haven't been able to make it home for my family reunion. Last weekend was the first one for me and it was great.

We stayed at a great bed and breakfast, run by some of the nicest people you will ever meet. If you haven't done the bed and breakfast thing, I'd highly recommend it. I can't imagine feeling more comfortable when traveling. I slept like a lump and the food was great.

The Sandusky area is kind of a local resorty, vacation place. We went out to the islands (Put In Bay on one day, Kelly's Island on another) and had a nice get-together with all the family, most of whom I haven't seen in at least 15 years (I know...I am bad! But I live so far away).

Another thing you do when you go to Sandusky is eat a lot (or is it just my family?). I decided to abandon my eating rules (mostly so my relatives wouldn't think I was a big pain) and ate lots of fried fish. It reminds me of going fishing with my grandpa and catching our own dinner. Nothing's better than perch or walleye out of Lake Erie.

It was a great trip. But all great trips come at a price. Given the 95 degree weather out there, and the fact that my body is accustomed to the temperate Pacific Northwest climate, my feet swelled up. Like Fred Flintstone feet...I could barely force them into my shoes for the plane ride home. I'm sure the airplane travel didn't help, but I'm wearing compression bandages to try to get them to go down. It hurts like the dickens. No running today.

Of course, it was all worth it just to hear my grandpa tell me he is proud of me and brag to the other relatives about how I work for Bill Gates. Grandpa is pretty special.

I've lived so many places that it was good to be reminded of where I came from. It was also great to confirm that people age well in my family (I have some very good looking aunts, if I do say so myself).

Quick trip, well worth it, and I didn't have to do a darned thing to injure myself.


Comments (17)

  1. Todd says:

    Welcome back – it really is grounding to go back to Ohio.  Oh — and to answer your question — it’s not just your family. Todd

  2. Tim says:

    Hmmm, I didn’t hear anything about white flour and sugar. Did you eat the biscuits or didn’t you, Heather? I’m dying to know.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, I did but I tried to keep it under control; which in Ohio means I didn’t eat any fried dough. I ate pizza and fried fish and had dessert one night too. But I watched portions. If there was a selection, I ate the stuff without the flour and the sugar. White flour and sugar make me feel sluggish and tired, but after taking a red-eye out there, I’m not sure I could tell the difference. One weekend of indulgence and I’m back to my normal habits. But I’m still struggling with whether to run  tonight or take another night off. My feet are almost back to normal but really achey. It’s so weird!

  4. Tim says:

    What, no Pierogi?

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Nope, that’s a make-at-home dish and the weather was too hot for that. I save that for New years. Pierogi and cabbage and kielbasa. Yum!

  6. I’m mostly Polish… and it seems like when the Polish side of the family gets together, there seems to be a polka band… and lots of polkaing.  I’m hoping you didn’t miss out.

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Adam…sounds like fun. The polka isn’t really a great choice at a barbecue i 90 degree heat ; ) We did discuss having the next reunion at a different time of year though. So maybe next time!

  8. Wine-Oh says:

    Dont know how you did it Heather. I spent the day with my family yesterday and by the time I left to go home, I needed an extra strength Xanax. Not that I dont love my family. Maybe it was the hot weather, but everyone was talking over eachother and not on their best behavior.

    Next question, did everyone behave at the reunion or do you have one of those uncle’s who tells the same jokes year after year? I also hope you didnt mysteriously hurt yourself while away.

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wine-Oh, in my family, even the crazy ones are fun. We do have an uncle who is over-the-top but he’s hilarious (and I haven’t seen him in ages). Everyone behaved, as far as I know. Maybe I am the one who misbehaved and nobody told me. We’ve definitely got some colorful characters in the family, but I would  never blog about that kind of family stuff. It was all fun!

  10. Wine-Oh says:

    Sounds like a fun time was had by all. I think when you live farther away from family you appreciate them more and their quirks dont bother you as much. I dont have much experience with that being that I live 25 miles from my parents. Would like to try it sometime though 🙂

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wine-Oh, that is true. Or you compare them to the annoying people you do see every day and their quirks somehow come off as endearing. : ) Not that I am implying that I see anyone every day that is annoying…I don’t even see anyone every day.

    I’ve always lived far away from relatives….kind of did my own thing. If my family had lived in a bigger city, that may have been different. Just got used to moving around. Actually, it would have been tough to return to Ohio after living in LA. I still find Seattle a little on the mellow side but somehow was able to adapt.

  12. RJD says:

    No @$$tricks on this trip?

    Did I ever mention I was born in Akron?  Lived there for almost 7 years.  That might be the kind of thing which leaves a memorable impression.  Sandusky is pretty close–let me know next time you’re in the area–I have to raid Evil Mom’s photo albums.

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    OK, RJD, I have to ask…what are @$$tricks and what about me made you think my relatives would be performing them? : ) Is it like being asked to pull someone’s finger? (sorry)…there was none of that going on this trip! Must be some midwestern lingo I don’t know!

    Last time I rolled into Sandusky was July of 99…one week after I started at Microsoft….a lifetime ago. When they told me that I would get 4 weeks of vacation after seven years, I thought "like that will ever happen"…and well, here I am.

  14. HeatherLeigh says:

    No eggcorns at all (I forgot I was funny once). Guess we are an articulate bunch.

  15. Nellie says:

    I’m not Polish – but anticipating a family reunion in Sandusky this Summer (2007) and enjoyed this read very very much!!!

    Wondering if you are thinking of waiting another 15 years before another appearance ? ….. LOL

    Thanks so much for the sharing!

  16. HeatherLeigh says:

    Definitely not waiting another 15 years!

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