Hacks Newsletter Week 192: #familytraditions


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2023 Menko Family Reunion Comes to Chicago

Given the harrowing global geopolitical events this week, it felt authentic and timely to focus this week’s newsletter on one of our great family traditions. 

Our ancestors, and by extension, our families, frame our view of the world. This past weekend, several branches of my maternal grandmother’s family, the Menkos, came together in Chicago for a few days of connectivity.

The tradition started in our family with three Dutch Menko sisters, Ada, my “Oma” (Dutch for “grandmother”), Connie, and Helen, gathering with their children over Thanksgiving in the “new world” to where they had all emigrated before, during or after the Second World War. As their families expanded, the tradition moved from their homes over American Thanksgiving to various inns along the East Coast over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (aka: Columbus Day Weekend aka: Indigenous People’s Day weekend now). Today, we have gathered every October in a group ranging from 40-80 up and down the East Coast to share “Thanksgiving,” take long walks, sing songs written by Menko family members commemorating major birthday or anniversary milestones, and reconnect with cousins against a backdrop of fall foliage.
In our family, family reunions have punctuated my childhood and adult memories. In the spirit of this wonderful Menko family tradition, in the wake of the tragedies currently unfolding in the Middle East, wishing you a safe, healthy, and family-filled fall.

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