Uncle’s Weekend – Best 20 Year Tradition

Last Uncle’s Weekend! Theme song “Dog Days are Over”

This past weekend we had our last uncle’s weekend at Saint Louis University. It’s been going on for almost 20 years and it is some of my best memories with my cousins and uncles. There are a lot of us, and if you know us, we are the best of friends and it’s because of traditions like these.

How it all began…

The very 1st Uncle’s Weekend in ’02

I was talking to my uncle this weekend on how it all started. We spend a lot of our summers up at my other uncle’s cottage and one night, during one of our many dance parties, the song “Knock 3 Times” came on. My cousin Nancy at the time was going into her senior year at Dayton and my uncle kept teasing her, “Ya, never know when we are just going to show up!”

And lo and behold – they did! Unannounced, dressed up in some random costumes, and they surprised her! They had a blast with all of her friends. They danced to her designated theme song “Knock 3 Times” throughout the night and came home the next day! Short and sweet but little did they know, they started a tradition that would hold near and dear to my and my cousins’ hearts.

A New Tradition Had Begun

Surprising my cousin in Kansas. Did they all wear these costumes to the airport? One of them did 🙂 So after that, anytime we flew, we wore the costumes.
My brother’s at U of I – Theme song “All Summer Long”
The famous UNCLES! Dressed up for theme song “Party in the USA”
This theme was honoring my cousin’s favorite outfit to wear in college (USA pants and a Mickey sweatshirt). I spy said cousin in the window 🙂
Soccer jerseys for our soccer star. 12 of my best friends in this pic 🙂
My sister’s at Western Michigan – Theme song “You’re the One that I Want”

So now, every year when someone was a senior in college, my uncles and whoever had been initiated in (by already having their own UW) surprised that cousin with a theme song and costume of their own! I fall in the middle of my cousins so I attended about half of them. From beginning to end the group grew from 4 relatives to I think around 40 for this last one! Eventually cousins’ spouses jumped on so it got big fast!

My Uncle’s Weekend

Me and my uncles
The fam at University of Iowa

My theme song was “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” so everyone dressed up as boxers along with the obligatory Uncle’s Weekend shirt. If you don’t know, I love to sing and one of the coolest things I did in college was enter Iowa Idol (there is sarcasm behind these typed words) and the song I sang was “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”. If I had footage I would show you but sadly, I do not.

But this is how we chose theme songs. Whether it was a song you loved or something that reminded us of you, that’s how we picked it. Then we tried to get costumes to go along with it.

The Surprise

The flight – we took up almost the whole plane. I’m sure these poor men we didn’t know regretted being on this very small flight
The walk to go surprise one of my cousins

One of the most fun things about this tradition is the surprise. At first they would all drive together in a rented RV but the past few colleges were 5+ hours so we would fly. We all meet at the airport (this last time all dressed as dalmations), talk about the excitement for a few hours then show up blasting the theme song with speakers in tow and surprise him/her and their friends.

All cousins who had an uncle’s weekend are represented (I have a couple older cousins but the tradition started with the 3rd oldest)

Dog Days are Over

The reason I share is because these weekends hold some of my fondest memories of me and my family. If you have a family like ours who loves to be together and always planning your next outing when you’re at the current one, you need to do this. I’m so bummed it’s over; but like we said last weekend – on to the next.

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