The following letter was mailed March 21:
Dear Erwin Cousins:
I regret to report that the Erwin Reunion in Branson, Missouri in June has been cancelled. I can’t say that there was a lack of interest, but simply put, there was a lack of response.
I began getting the word out in June of 2006. I used the mailing list from our previous gathering in Las Vegas of course, but in addition I put an announcement on the Bagpiper web site. I sent announcements to the people who had attended an Erwin reunion in Kentucky in 2005, and I invited all of the folks who attended the last Snoddy reunion in Tyler, Texas.
Plus, using Internet sources, I developed Erwin mailing lists for the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. On average there were over 200 names on each. In all, I sent out over 1500 mailers, many of them twice, and some three times.
There was a lot of interest, especially with regard to learning about Erwin roots. I received numerous e-mail inquiries, and after each mailing went out it was normal to receive a number of phone calls. Many individuals announced that they would certainly attend, and that they planned to contact other family members. The most sincere calls, I think, were from elderly people who were interested in Erwin genealogy, and how they were, or might be, connected.
I received two especially moving calls, obviously from elderly ladies, who actually choked up when they said that they could not travel because of their advanced age. I sent them Erwin genealogical data, and both have since responded with personal family information to be added to our “tree.”
As an example of some of the responses, my three surviving siblings (ages 83, 87 & 89) have decided that they cannot make the trip from California, and since they won’t be there, all of their children and their families – except for one – opted out as well. In addition, several persons who did send in registrations early on later informed me that they couldn’t make it, and I have refunded their registration fees in full.
Why the lack of response, lack of interest, or follow-through? I’m not sure. Perhaps it was because there is no direct air service to Branson like there is to other popular destinations such as Las Vegas. We had a good turnout Wichita in 2001, and in Las Vegas in 2004. There was a large concentration of Erwins in Kansas that undoubtedly helped the first gathering. And maybe the glitz and wide-open atmosphere helped draw our cousins to in Las Vegas, but alas, there is no gambling or nude floor shows in Branson. Or perhaps it was simply the $3.00 per gallon gasoline. I tried to sell our gathering as an event to learn about family history and an opportunity to come together with other branches of the family. Obviously that approach didn’t work.
For those who have registered, a refund, or your own original check, is included with this letter. For those who have made hotel reservations, please remember to call and cancel. If anyone one has made non-refundable transportation reservations I doubly apologize for this inconvenience, but Branson is still a good destination for good entertainment and clean fun.