Price-Wright-Green Reunion 2016 draws family from across the U.S.
How many times do we say to family members, ‘we have to get together more often?’ Only never to do so!
This definitely hasn’t happened to three local families with siblings from across the country who have gathered faithfully to fellowship and keep up with the latest news.
The home place of Dude (Frank Sr.) and Annie Lou Price, on Cherokee County Road 155, now occupied by Annie Ruth Wayatt, was the setting recently for the 70th Annual Price, Wright and Green Reunion. Family members usually arrive on Friday and leave on Sunday following a weekend of family events. The event was held Aug. 19-21.
According to Wayatt, the reunion started when World War II ended in 1945.
“It started out the next year, 1946, and has been going ever since,” said Wayatt. “It is always the third weekend in August. We rotate from place to place. But this is the home place where it started, with my mom and dad, Dude (Frank Sr.) and Annie Lou Price.”
After helping build Cherokee County Hospital, Dude worked for many years as an orderly at the hospital until he passed away at the age of 68. Wayatt said.
“It started out small,” said Wayatt.
“My mother was a Wright before she married daddy who was a Price,” said Wayatt.
“There were the Greens who originated here and they live on the 411 Highway,” said Wayatt. “They branched out. A lot of them moved to Michigan. Dennis got a picture of the ball team that used to play in Georgia.”
Wayatt said she was born in the Kirk’s Grove Community above Lindsey’s Store.
“A lot of the people in the community are not host families but become families because of knowing each other,” said Wayatt. “There are a lot of Starrs and a lot of Perrys, and all of them came up at the time daddy lived here near the old Baptist church over there. Everybody is familiar with everybody.”
Wayatt’s son, Eddie Price, attended the reunion from Washington, D.C.
“The reunion was here for several years,” said Price. “Then as family grew and spread out and moved all over the United States, they started doing what they would call traveling reunions and family members in different locations would host it like my mom is hosting it here.”
“We hosted it (in Washington D.C. two years ago,” said Price. “We had family members that lived in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area. We got together and organized it and did the same thing like they are doing here. I think it is going to be in New Jersey next year. It has been held in Rome, been in Texas, Atlanta, Detroit, Michigan and it normally does like kind of a circle.”
Price, the youngest of three children, said around 150 attended when they hosted the Washington, D.C. Reunion.
“We are expecting 200 or 300 people and usually when it is held here it is about that many people,” said Wayatt. “Everybody hasn’t gotten here. They are still coming.”
Price shared the normal format of the three-day reunion which usually starts on the weekend.
“We have a meet and greet usually on Friday,” said Price. “Sometimes it is a two day event if it is in another location in the city or something like that. On Saturday it is a picnic like we are having with games and stuff. Sunday is usually a formal dinner where they have a program and talk about the family history and show videos of people who have passed on and family members so the young kids can see.”
No matter where he is, Price still keeps up with the hometown news. Price was a professional firefighter with the city of Anniston for six years.
“I taught a lot in the firefighters association,” said Price. “Now I am a fire investigator in Virginia. When I am home, I still call some of the guys and swing by. I know Robbie Moon is the new fire chief now in Centre. Last time I saw him I told him congratulations.”
Price has two brothers, including Troy who now lives in North Carolina and Chris who lives in Fayetteville, Tenn. Chris played football and was also on the Cherokee County High School Track team.
“I haven’t been in a while so it is really nice to be back,” said Troy. “I don’t get down here very much, so it is really, really good to be back. It is a lot of change. I just remember when I was a little boy all of this was different but it is still the same.”
Price feels these reunions are beneficial, particularly for future generations.
“For our age generation, we know everybody but then their kids and younger kids are like ‘whose kid is that?’” said Price. “And then we tell them, ‘That is Stanley’s daughter.’ It really keeps us connected because we would really lose track if we didn’t do that. There are a lot of faces I haven’t seen.”
And while he loves his life in Washington, D.C., Price looks forward to the day he can retire back to Cherokee County.
“I am still doing my thing in D.C.,” said Price. “But I still love coming home.”
Ruth Wright said she has attended the reunion each year except for those years she was in college.
“We have gone all over the United States and this is where it started,” said Wright.
“My grandfather was one of the oldest members of the Price-Wright-Green Family Reunion for like 13 years,” commented Walter Price Jr. of Chattanooga, Tenn. “He passed.”
“I have been coming ever since I was knee high,” said Walter. “I have only missed three family reunions in 43 years.”
And this year’s oldest attendee was Millard Wright, 85, of Killeen, Texas who has attended the reunions for the past 40 years with the exception of one miss.
“It has gone real well,” said Millard. “I always love it when I come up here in the country. I was born and raised in Cherokee County, Ala. in Kirk’s Grove they call it.”
“Finally we moved to Cave Springs,” said Millard. “My daddy died when I was three. My mother raised five kids. After that I went to Gadsden, started working and got drafted in the Unite States Army. I kind of liked it and stayed in it for 20 years.”
After he retired from the army, he worked as a nursing assistant and settled in Killeen. But he still makes the trip to Cherokee County whenever he can.
“I come two or three times a year,” said Millard. “I am retired, my wife is a retired school teacher and all my kids are grown and have their own jobs and everything.”
“There are a lot of people here,” said Millard. “I had it in Killeen in 1995 and we had over 200 people.”
“But now a lot of older people have passed on and a lot of young ones don’t really get into it like we did before,” he said.
And family members are reminded to start preparing for next year’s reunion, same time, but in another location and to stayed tuned!