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Old 01-03-2009, 12:29 AM   #21
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Pretty much all of our extended family is in the same town. We just had a New Year's party where my wife counted 40 or so in attendance. Of those, approximately 37 were immediate family or DW's aunt's family (many cousins and cousin's kids there).

My parents, siblings, nieces and nephews are all here, too. I think we have established a critical mass of sorts that means other family ~4 hours away come to visit us some. We usually make around 1 trip per year "to the mountains" to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

We all get along, so it does make us want to stay in this area (plus we get very cheap childcare from family! ).
Wow! Your number of 40 beats my highest number of 28 (ourselves included). Over the years, 5 nieces and nephews have moved away, but we still see them when they go back home to see their parents and grandparents. Then, some years, our brother or sister decides to visit their children instead. Hence, the number that I have hosted has been getting smaller.

When talking about family in town, I meant immediate family members such as parents, siblings and their offsprings. My wife and I have aunts and uncles living out of state, whom I see when they came visit our parents. We also have cousins out-of-state, whom we do not see often.

The point I made was that, same as Fuego, because we have the "critical mass" in town, we have been able to use all our vacation time and expenses for real trips. How often do you see a couple use 2 weeks/year to take their kids back to his and her hometown, leaving only 1 week for a real vacation?

By the way, the builder of my home, with whom we have become good friends, has told me they have a big family reunion, with everybody coming to a neutral ground: a camping ground. They have 100+ in attendance, from multiple states.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:36 AM   #22
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Wow! Your number of 40 beats my highest number of 28 (ourselves included). Over the years, 5 nieces and nephews have moved away, but we still see them when they go back home to see their parents and grandparents. Then, some years, our brother or sister decides to visit their children instead. Hence, the number that I have hosted has been getting smaller.

The point I made was that, same as Fuego, because we have the "critical mass" in town, we have been able to use all our vacation time and expenses for real trips. How often do you see a couple use 2 weeks/year to take their kids back to his and her hometown, leaving only 1 week for a real vacation?
Well, 26 in our immediate family are here (parents, siblings, kids of siblings). But DW's cousins, aunt and kids of cousins number at least 40-50 in town (too many for me to count). We're all pretty close and see each other a few times per year minimum usually (more like weekly or daily for most immediate family).

But most of her aunts/uncles and cousins are in Long Beach, CA. From what I have heard, literally hundreds of them. But we don't really keep in touch with any of the left coasters since DW's immediate family has been on the east coast since they came to America in the 1980's.

Definitely agree with your main thesis of how nice it is to not blow through precious vacation time visiting family in far away places. We usually use it to relax and bum around, or, now that the kids are a little older, actually travel a bit (with or without kids). I always here the dread in the voices of coworkers who lament the weeklong trip to some far away place (which invariably involves driving a day or more each way). It's rough on the visitors and the hosts.
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:56 PM   #23
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My nearest relatives live over 1100 miles away (in the US). The nucleus of my family is in Europe with a smattering in several continents. While my parents were alive, I made every effort to be there for them at Christmas and most of my vacations were taken up with visits. As my parents grew older and more fragile, I had increasing numbers of "emergency" trips, each involving transatlantic trips and three flights in each direction. This proved quite exhausting and of course was expensive as the priority was to get there ASAP. My parents visited me once (a trip which I gave them as a 40th wedding anniversary gift). Now that they have passed away, a tremendous travel burden has been lifted from me.

I have made numerous trips for visits with other relatives (e.g. to South America), weddings or holidays, but since nobody cares enough to reciprocate, I no longer feel an obligation to travel just to see family members. Funerals pose practical problems because of the surprise element: at this very moment I am missing the funeral of my godmother. I keep in touch by email and phone. I send ecards, except to elderly relatives who don't use the internet.

There is no need for me to have a spare bedroom and I will bear this in mind when choosing a residence for ER.
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:14 PM   #24
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Until recently almost all the relatives that we're close to lived nearby. Two sisters, a niece, half-sister & her husband were all within an hour and half drive but within the last year they all moved to the same town in DE 3.5 hours away. That makes a one-day visit impractical so it doesn't happen very often, and they keep their houses so cold we're in danger of hypothermia. They have hinted that they'd like us to move there too but if/when we move it will be to warmer climes.

DW's family is all within two hour's drive, and her father and favorite niece are 35 minutes away. Her brother & one sister are making noises about North Carolina, which is where I wanted to retire to in the first place, so it would take very little arm-twisting to get me to move there. A twisting force of about an inch-ounce would do it.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:40 PM   #25
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All of my family -- what's left of it anyway -- is within 50 miles of where I sit. Used to get together several times a year and always had upwards of 40 or more first cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws. Now it's just me, DH, DD, Father, Brother & SIL, their three kids & spouses and their two kids....the 14 of us just celebrated Dad's 90th birthday on 1/1.

DH is last surviving member of his immediate family -- still has several distant cousins, who are distant in every sense of the word. I've never met them...and I've been married to DH for 32 years! They live at least 2,000 miles away.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:41 PM   #26
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When talking about family in town, I meant immediate family members such as parents, siblings and their offsprings.
In that case, it's only me and dear ol' Mom here in town, or anywhere even close. Siblings are 700 & 900 miles away, and their offspring are between 700 & 2000 miles away. Life is good great!!!
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:50 PM   #27
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In that case, it's only me and dear ol' Mom here in town, or anywhere even close. Siblings are 700 & 900 miles away, and their offspring are between 700 & 2000 miles away. Life is good great!!!
I'm in OH, sister in VA (don't know where all her children and grandchildren are), don't know where father is. That's all for immediate.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:00 PM   #28
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Used to get together several times a year and always had upwards of 40 or more first cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws.
Yeah, my sister tried several times over the years to put together a 'family reunion'...but due to utter lack of interest on everyone's part (except her's, of course), it never happened...and most likely never will! Thank God!!!

She did succeed once, though, in getting her (now) ex-hubby's family to one....but NONE of her relatives wanted anything to do with it! Although absolutely none of the relatives (his OR hers) were from Arizona...nor had any connection with Arizona....she planned it for Arizona...in freaking July! WTF! Why not Barrow, Alaska in January instead?! I know...I know...."but it's a dry heat". Or maybe more realistically, how about somewhere a little more centrally located...which would have put it somewhere around Tennessee....since 99% of all the relatives (his & hers) lived east of the Mississippi River, in a triangle from New Orleans, to Boston, to Chicago.

Did I happen to mention anywhere, that I'm not part of a really tight-knit (or too tightly wrapped either) family?
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:02 PM   #29
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My only DD is going to college 300 miles away. She was here for Christmas except for the time she had to return to college town to work.

Only brother is 45 miles away. We all went up to visit them and his new grandson last week.

DW's brother is 4 hours away. He also came up to visit for three days between Christmas and New Years.

Two cousins and their families will be here next weekend. They are 90 minutes away.
Have an aunt that is 600 miles away. We won't see here until after the new year starts.
Mother-in-law lives here in town. All other close relatives are deceased.
We plan to visit close friends for an swearing in party on the 20th. (I think this is a set up since everybody else attending the party are die-hard Republicans.) But we vacationed to Costa Rica with this group, so it should be a real blast.

As time goes by I find that getting together with friends and family is really what life is all about.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:04 PM   #30
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A great hole in our lives is not being in proximity to either set of kids and young grandkids. I don't think we are naive in thinking that living near them would be a Norman Rockwell painting, but we both feel that being within a comfortable day's drive (if not down the street) would be meaningful.

These circumstances seem to be related to careers and education. We ourselves were in a period of frequent career-related moves when they made some of their choices, and maybe they would have ended up nearer to us if we had been in a stable location during those years. Or maybe not.

Anyway, it is a major source of discussion and decision angst for us as we contemplate semi-retirement with no relatives here in Tampa. Friends, plenty of them, but it's not the same for us.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:44 PM   #31
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A great hole in our lives is not being in proximity to either set of kids and young grandkids.
Same kind of feelings here Rich. Except in our case, ours are nearby and we refer to the grandkids as "our little anchors" who keep us from moving away.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:17 PM   #32
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Yeah, my sister tried several times over the years to put together a 'family reunion'...but due to utter lack of interest on everyone's part (except her's, of course), it never happened...and most likely never will! Thank God!!!

She did succeed once, though, in getting her (now) ex-hubby's family to one....but NONE of her relatives wanted anything to do with it! Although absolutely none of the relatives (his OR hers) were from Arizona...nor had any connection with Arizona....she planned it for Arizona...in freaking July! WTF! Why not Barrow, Alaska in January instead?! I know...I know...."but it's a dry heat". Or maybe more realistically, how about somewhere a little more centrally located...which would have put it somewhere around Tennessee....since 99% of all the relatives (his & hers) lived east of the Mississippi River, in a triangle from New Orleans, to Boston, to Chicago.

Did I happen to mention anywhere, that I'm not part of a really tight-knit (or too tightly wrapped either) family?
My brother in St. Louis arranged for a family reunion at his house back in 2002 - - the first in about 50 years. Quite a few attended. It was very odd hanging out with dozens and dozens of (mostly) complete strangers, all of whom looked like me! Very nice people, but a strange experience.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:27 AM   #33
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Both my parents were only children so no aunts, uncles or cousins to count. My brother and sister and families live within 5 hours away. Four of DH's six brothers and sisters as well as his mother,his daughter and grandson live within a 4 hour drive. So we see them on lots of weekend trips.
Now to answer the town part. We live on 7 acres with 3 houses on the property. My 71 year old dad lives in one, my 91 year old grandmother lives in another. We have cared for my grandmother for many years, I just got a full time live in lady to stay with her. (Which is also another story...she is a relative of a friend who wanted to live out in the country and wanted to work off room and board for elder care, what a deal!) My mother lives about 10 miles away in town.
Because of the close proximity (close in Texas terms) to most our close relatives we also have been able to spend most of our vacations traveling to parts unknown rather than shuttling back and forth to relatives homes.
We have been throwing around the idea of renting a large house or multi-home property and getting all the family together for some time. The logisitics are monumental....
I think the 4 hour distance is just about ideal for so many relatives. Close enough to visit easily but far enough away that daily BS doesn't build up.
We plan on traveling more now that we have the grandma patrol covered. We are off for 8 days in Nevada and Utah tomorrow!
Hasta la vista,
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:09 AM   #34
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T

I try not to stress about their future because I know that even those of us who live fairly skookum lives can be subject to horrific events coming out of nowhere.

Ha
Skookum. A new one for me. Looks like a regionalism for your part of the country. Cool.

I am with you on family.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:54 PM   #35
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I defined immediate family as parents, siblings and their offsprings because that was my situation. Then, I realized that an uncle, aunt, any surviving great aunt or uncle, or cousins that you are close to ARE also family. It's really about the mutual feeling, not the lineage distance.

Myself, my brothers and my sister, all went to the same intown state university. Then, we all chose to take intown jobs, too lazy to move, and perhaps deep inside also not wanting to leave the "clan". Most of our offsprings also went to the same university, except 2 that escaped. In all, we have 12 alumni including my wife's side, with some more to come!

I got along with my brothers and sister a lot better than most families, perhaps due in part to our economic situations not being too far apart. We also never tell each other how to spend his or her money.

Among siblings, I am the only one who ever thought of voluntarily moving somewhere else, and then it was only for a 2nd home in retirement. We have declined, or refused to look for job offers elsewhere, preferring to stay intown. Early in my career, I declined an out-of-state job offer with 25% salary increase. Well, the higher cost of housing in LA was a big part, but the unwillingness to move was also a factor. My brothers have put a lot of money into their McMansions, and it would break their hearts to move if they have to, due to unforeseen job situations.

Our offsprings also get along, and they viewed each other more as siblings than as cousins. We have had so many family get-togethers on weekends that, growing up, my children were disappointed that we skipped some weeks. Oh, they fought when young, then kissed and made up, but just like siblings. I did not have much in common with my cousins, and have no such relationship with them.

It was also good that my wife got along well with my younger sister-in-laws. In fact they regarded my wife as an older (and wiser) sister. I have observed that good or bad, most of the time, it is the spousal influence that drives brothers and sisters apart.

About being close to aging parents, that helps everybody tremenduously. I can't count the nights I spent in the ER with my father (who passed away), offering to relieve my mother, and being semi-retired having more flexibility than others still working.

So, as long as I remember to walk away from my brother's ideological political rant, we will do OK. To give him credit, we all avoided that minefield these recent Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Year get-togethers, and concentrated more on what we have in common. Life is great!
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:44 PM   #36
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My family - father, two siblings & their spouses/children along with 6 cousins and their respective spouses/children all live on one hill in Appalachia. My great-grandfather obtained approximately 50 acres after immigrating to America which has been divided multiple times and passed down to each generation. I moved away when I was 18.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:21 PM   #37
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We had daughter, her husband, the 2 grandkids (160 mi drive), other daughter and husband (260 mi. drive) here for the weekend after Christmas. 3rd daughter lives in Coos Bay OR. and couldn't afford to come home. Whenever we go to visit them we have to sleep in the basement on couches or the floor (they have nice houses but a little small in some respects). We slept 8 all in beds in bedrooms (grandson in baby-type bed) in my 50-yr. old junky ranch house. Kids were always telling me to throw out those old beds and convert bedrooms to den, sewing room, library, etc., but I think in this case 'Father did know best'.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:48 PM   #38
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Does the USA count as a neighborhood? Last sept. - family reunion Nags Head.

Washington D.C.
Kansas City, MO
Pensacola, FL
San Diego, CA
Reno, NV
Portland, OR
Seattle, WA

Going by the nearest big city - 13 adults - sorta nearby - given modern transportation - right?

heh heh heh - Plus no one came by boat.
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