At a time when having three or four kids makes for a “large” family, a recent reunion of the Young clan puts things in perspective.
The gathering of Nettie and Joseph Young’s progeny yielded 88 of 132 family members — including 10 of the Lacombe County couple’s 11 children, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Relatives arrived, from as far as Toronto, Vancouver Island, and Idaho, for the July 14 to 16 reunion at the Cardston County ranch of oldest sister Lynda Young-Stewart.
Family members ranged in age from babes to patriarch Joseph, who is 98.
Since the event fell within Canada’s 150th birthday year, Lynda’s daughter, Sheri Henry, created red T-shirts designed with the names of family members in the shape of a Maple Leaf. Among them were Central Alberta-based family members Roger Young, Helen Craig, Shane Young and Colleen Shippelt of Red Deer, Terry Young of Lacombe County, and Sharon Nielsen of Sylvan Lake.
Participants did kayaking and rafting on the St. Mary River, said Lynda, who also enjoyed watching her parents, Second World War veteran Joseph, and Nettie, 88, cut a few dance moves on the patio.
Raising 11 children back in the 1960s and ’70s “was a busy time,” recalled Nettie, who had moved with the family from Saskatchewan to Alberta. “There was always work to be done, so everybody learned to work and do their chores.”
Since the Youngs resided on a farm, there was a dairy cow to milk, a garden to hoe, berries to pick, field work to get done, dishes to wash, and kitchen preparations before every meal.
Nettie and Joseph, who have sharp memories to recall the names of all their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, were thrilled so many family members family turned up at the reunion. Although one of their sons had to work, several of his children attended the gathering.
“It was good to see them all there,” said Joseph.
The children played crafts and games — “including Uncle Roger being a human piñata!” said Lynda. There was also a “Forever Young” Jeopardy match in which competitive siblings raced to answer answers about family history.
Lynda is looking forward to the next family gathering, which Nettie wants to hold next summer on her and Joseph’s Lacombe County property.