2009 Borden Family Reunion

Sadie crawling amid the activity of her cousins.

Yesterday Sadie and I attended our first ever Borden Family Reunion.  Sadie is named after Sadie Lee Borden, my Great Grandmother.  Sadie Lee was born in 1894, and she lived to be almost 100.  She died when I was in 6th or 7th grade, but I have quite a few memories of spending time with her when I was little.  She lived in a house with her sister, Helen; her daughter, Margie Russell; and her granddaughters, Margie Ann, Laurie (my mother), and Lyn.  My generation knew her as “Uma,” which evolved from “Numother,” which evolved from “Other Mother.”  (We have a family history of not raising our own children–a tradition that stops with my generation.)  Sadie Lee was a bold, stubborn, feisty old woman.  Sadie Diane has some big shoes to fill, but, from what we’ve seen from her so far, I believe she’s up to the task.

Baby Sadie Lee with her parents, Lillian and Ernest Borden.

Sadie Diane's nametag with her Borden lineage.

I'm not sure who the baby is, but this is how I remember Uma looking.

We had a good time at the reunion.  There were a lot of people I had already met and remembered, but there were really a lot of family members I’d never met (but had heard countless stories about).  It was good to put faces to names and hilarious stories.  The stories about Little Ross (who is a grown man with grown sons, including one my age named Brooks) were the funniest–how he strangled a monkey, how he shot his cousin in the leg with an arrow, how he always said his cousins were “just girls.”

Getting to attend was really special for me.  I don’t really interact with what little family I have on my Dad’s side.  And, since moving in with my Aunt Margie and Uncle Gene, I’ve definitely been accepted by Uncle Gene’s family.  But there’s definitely something about being surrounded by your “people.”  A nice sense of connection.  Looking around and seeing the commonalities in the faces, and knowing where mine fits.  There’s talk of having it annually, and I hope we stick to it.  I’d really like Sadie to be connected to this extended family of ours.  It’ll be a lot of fun when she’s big enough to run around with her cousins.

5 thoughts on “2009 Borden Family Reunion

  1. Amy Burke Shumate

    Your words just brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if I were writing them myself.
    I have so many memories of our family, and you, and am so glad that there are others out there that share my same feelings of wanting to stay connected.
    Being an only child, I didn’t have the opprortunity to be a part of a large group of children my own age like you, Paul, and the others that you grew up with. I have always felt like the family I knew as a young girl continued to grow up together while I had to always wonder what happened to them, where their lives took them, and if they would ever remember me.
    I wish I had been able to spend more time with you and Sadie yesterday. It meant so much to me that you chose to use Other Mother’s name. I was lucky enough to be a part of her life until I was almost 20, so the memories I have of her are some that I will never forget. She brought three very wonderful women into this world and I feel very fortunate to be an extension of those accomplished ladies.
    I am so glad to hear that you wish to stay connected and I am committed to keeping the reunions alive. I was thinking this morning we should just book this weekened every year and get in on the calendars. My hopes have always been to have one on Other Mother’s/Sadie’s lot in Forrest City, which my parents own now, using our house we have next door so we’d have plenty of room. I’m happy to get that ball rolling for next year if you can help me pull together the people you have contact with on your end.
    Thank you again for sharing your feelings, you and I have so much in common and I look forward to getting to know you more as an adult for years to come.
    Oh, and by the way, your mother Laurie shares the name of another wonderful woman – my grandmother Laurie Gene. There hasn’t been a day that has passed since she left us that I haven’t missed her. She was truly a remarkable women – just like all of us Borden women 🙂
    Love to you and your precious girl,

    1. citysteader Post author

      Thank you for writing this, Amy. I love the idea of having the reunion on Uma’s lot. I have faint memories of her house (mostly the way it smelled). What ended up happening to it? I remember at Granny Russell’s funeral seeing that there were only the step up from the sidewalk left. I do think that Aunt Margie’s (Margie Ann) was nominated for next year. I’ll check with her to see what she thinks of your idea. If she wants to host next year’s, perhaps we can get the ball rolling for 2011 in Forrest City. Oh, and I think we should have a prize for the person who can figure out our ties to Lizzy Borden.

      And yes, I did know that my mom was named for your grandmother. I’m not sure what you called her, but I remember her as Honey.

  2. Amy Burke Shumate

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure the baby is Mallory – I think it was Sadie, Little Helen, Cham, Bliss, and Mallory – 5 generations of Borden Women.

  3. Amy Burke Shumate

    Margie Ann’s is great for next year and we can certainly look at FC for the next.
    It’s funny that you remember her house by the smells, those are vivid memories to me too! haha I spent a lot ot time there and always believed it was haunted since it was so old. 🙂
    As for what happened to it – when Other Mother was put into the nursing home it was already in sad shape. Over time it was just so run down it had to be torn down. What’s so awesome about the lot is that she planted the trees and one of them that is about 100 years old is still standing there. Being there makes you feel like she’s there with you. If you’re ever in FC you should let me know – either myself or my parents would be more than happy to take you there to visit.
    Yes, everyone referred to my grandmother as Honey. I hear my dad started that when he kept hearing my grandfather call her “honey” all the time so at some point he just starting telling people that was wher name. But I don’t know if that’s the whole story on that one.
    Great to hear from you and let’s please try and keep in touch ok?
    Hug that baby for me 🙂


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