Reflection: 20 Years of RFA Reunions

Submitted by Aaron R. McGriff

The Roulhac Quarterly, Spring 2009

 

The old African proverb goes “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Over the past 20 years the village has seen this child being raised.  The first time I came to a RFA reunion I was all of one year old and now going into the 20th reunion I am 21 years old.  I can remember hearing “Boy I remember when you were only this tall,” at least a thousand times during each reunion and now I can really see just what that entails.  Looking at the pictures, I can see my journey from an infant to manhood, and because of coming to the reunions I knew that I always had a strong base of encouragement and people; family, that wanted to see me succeed.

 

When I was young, coming to the reunions was something that I absolutely could not wait to do all year long.  I could not wait to come and see my cousins and figure out what kind of trouble we were going to get into that year.  I couldn’t wait to see who was going to get stuck in an elevator which became a RFA reunion tradition, and trying to figure out a way for the older kids to let us chill with them (which of course never worked).  I always looked forward to going new places and seeing new things.  I will never forget the reunion in Plymouth, N.C. where the tour bus broke down and we were all stuck at a gas station for four hours.  Even though this was a bad thing, because I was with family, it actually turned out to be fun.  And of course you can’t forget hiding from security when the hotel instituted a “curfew” at the reunion in Detroit.  I could go on forever about all of the misadventures of Daniel, J.R., Tony, myself, and of course the famous radio incident; but you’ll have to ask me at the next reunion to get any more information.

 

One thing that was never in short supply at any of the reunions was the constant encouragement of the older people for us to make something of our lives.  We are constantly surrounded by people who have lived (and still are living) successful lives.  The two Judge Roulhac’s (Joseph & Roy) demonstrated to us the lives we could aspire to. Being around people like that when you are young just makes you want to do something with your life.  In today’s society kids growing up don’t even know what having an family is like and they do not have anyone to look up to encourage them to do better.

 

I truly believe that I am a better person for attending all of the RFA reunions.  The reunions have changed over the years; however, I still believe that they should be experienced by all the youth in the family.  I found myself saying, “I remember you when you were only this tall,” at the past reunion and it made me think, "Wow, I am getting old!"  Instead of being told stories, I now have my own personal testimony; success and how hard work really does pay off!  I now understand that the RFA is not just about reunions, but it is an organization focused on tracing our genealogy and making sure that the stories of our ancestors get told.  I would like to thank everyone that has encouraged me over these past 20 years and I hope to see you all at the reunion in July!


Chronology of Past Reunions:

2011            Panama City/Marianna, FL

2009            Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC

2008            Raleigh, NC

2007            Montgomery, AL

2006            Orlando, FL

2005            Chicago, IL

2004            New Orleans, LA

2003            Atlanta, GA

2002            Plymouth, NC

2001            Nashville, TN

2000            Ft. Lauderdale, FL

1999            Los Angeles, CA

1998            Plymouth, NC

1997            Detroit, MI

1996            Cherry Hill, NJ

1995            St Petersburg, FL

1994            Charleston, WV

1993            Jacksonville, FL

1992            Edenton, NC

1991            Marianna, Fl

1990            Flint, MI

 


RFA Reunion History Pages (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

 
 
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