|My Cousin Doug with two Joannes & Martha in blue|
Several weekends ago I went to a large Hovanic family reunion on my father’s side of the family. Since he was one of eleven siblings, there were lots and lots of relatives, but only one of his siblings, Uncle Adrian, the youngest in his family, was able to attend. One of my cousins, Benny and his wife Bonnie, held it in their lovely home, a home large enough to hold the crowd who came from the area as well as from several states close to N.E. Ohio where we grew up and many of us still live. Two other cousins, Lisa and Valerie, helped with all the planning and sending out advance notices as well as ones closer to the day. They also updated the family tree which was there for anyone to look at and add the latest new arrivals to the extensive family.
|My cousin Thelma and Uncle Adrian|
As much as I would have liked to talk to everyone there, it was almost impossible to have much of a conversation with that many people, and with many of the younger generation, I wasn’t sure what family they belonged to. I live close to my Uncle Adrian and Aunt Carol so I see them more often than the others as well as their grown children. But it was especially nice to talk to the older cousins like my cousin Thelma, who was my maid of honor and her sister, Martha and her brothers, Benny and Father Martin, who I only see at reunions or sometimes at funerals. It was so good to share memories as well as catch up on what’s new in their lives.
The host and hostess furnished the hot dogs and hamburgers and the drinks that were kept on ice in several coolers – pop and bottled water and maybe beer, but I’m not sure about that. The rest of the food was potluck dishes brought in by all who attended – delicious food and too much to sample everything there.
|The Jones Clan - at least those who came|
This past Saturday, I hosted the Jones family reunion at my house. My mother was one of only four siblings so the reunion was much, much smaller. While most of the Hovanic siblings, at least those that married, had large families, none of my mother’s siblings had large families. Ours was the largest with my parents having six children. Some of the relatives were out of town or had other things going on, and one got sick that day, and he’d so looked forward to coming. Again it was potluck with everyone arriving with something delicious to share. I made potato salad, broccoli salad, and Polish sausages in marinara sauce, as well as the buns to put them in. Also, I had coffee, several kinds of canned pop and bottled water. There was a great variety of delicious food – again too much to eat much of any one thing.
|Spouses of Jones Family members|
We ate at the tables I’d set up in the back yard plus one on my patio, and some sat in the lawn chairs and quite comfortably ate with the food in their laps. Eventually, my sister-in-law had everyone come join us in one large circle in the back yard under the trees, where we shared stories and talked and laughed about so many things. My cousin’s son David told about the new business he started with a partner. We also asked our oldest member, Uncle Bill at 93 years old how he was doing and questions about the past and shared memories we had growing up, too. We discussed the genealogy my younger sister, who lives too far away to come, had done and other interesting facts about these ancestors and family members, too, that we remembered from stories told.
|My sister Elaine & cousin Linda who are the same age.|
Years ago on my grandmother’s side, the Payne family, there use to be large reunions in a park in Middlefield, Ohio, north of us, but they stopped as the family members died off. Once we had a Jones family reunion at my grandmother’s house, after my grandfather had died, or was in a nursing home. After that My Uncle Bill and Aunt Helen had yearly ones at their home, but that stopped eventually, too.
|93 year old Uncle Bill between his son & my sister-in-law|
Then realizing how important it is to keep up the family connections, I started the Jones’ family reunions maybe ten or more years ago. Except for my Uncle Bill and his wife, all that generation has passed on, and I thought it was time we got together and kept up the family connections through conversation, stories, laughter, and good food. Since I started these reunions, Aunt Helen died, and my brother Jerry, and three cousins who were close in age to me. All of them used to come to our Jones family reunions. Except for my Uncle Bill, and my cousin, Jack, who is two years older than me and couldn’t come this year, I’m the oldest of the Jones family now. At one time I had 45 first cousins combining both sides of the family, and counting spouses, I had twelve uncles and twelve aunts. That number has greatly diminished now, and some of those still alive live so far away that it’s very rare to see them.
|My brother Phil & sister Suzanne|
Yes, it took a lot of work to prepare for this reunion. I had lots of cleaning to do as well as much weeding as possible to make the gardens look halfway decent. Fortunately, my son came over and mowed all my lawn he could get into with his large zero turn lawnmower. There are garden areas where that mower just won’t go. He also cut down all the low hanging branches people might hit their heads or scrape their car roofs with coming down the drive. And, of course, there was the cooking and meal preparation as well as making room for all the food in a rather small kitchen. But all went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and no one seemed in any hurry to leave. My niece, Amanda, took lots of pictures of the event.
|I'm visiting with my cousin Jack's son David.|
Do you ever go to family reunions?
What are yours like?