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You’ve gotta eat High school reunions College celebrates WWII vets Display until April 30, 2012.


in this issue DEPARTMENTS FRONT WORDS – 4 ALUM & I – 6 Burges High School – Class of 1961, 50th Reunion by Lynette Moore The party was on by Clyde Bennish 10 tips to survive a high school reunion, charitable reunions


February/March/April 2012 Volume 22 • Number 3 PUBLISHER / EDITOR IN CHIEF



Reunion School Looking for a reunion hotel? Seize the Day! A high school graduation is a great time for a family reunion by Kathleen Casper and much more.

Marion Liston Senior Account Manager



1000memories, family history gifts, genealogy in the 21st century and families: Strayhorn, Watkins, Misener/Misner/Mizener, Horton, Jackman


MASTERPLAN – 22 PJC Family Reunion by Henry and Angela Carstarphen Reunion includes Amazing Race, golf tournament and family history by Margaret Malsam RENEW REYOU by Melenda Gatson Hunter We Care, We Connect, We Honor by Bettie Griggs Goodale Reunions are the Maine fun by Sarah Jaquay Three things Hurricane Irene can teach us about reunions by Monica C. Dowe Cousins: the relationship, not the name by Shirley Gillespie Family reunions can be small by Meg Cox The Stanleys of Virginia by Deborah Keith

REUNION FEATURE – 33 Food You’ve gotta eat! Hospitality Answerman: what to discuss to make sure your banquet goes smoothly by Dean Miller Planning a feast can be relative A different kind of reunion by Genevieve Brechtel How other reunions do it: Bergan, Norman, Arce, Eicher, Parker, Rogers How to host a family reunion, potluck-style from ARAContent Fun food activities Picnic blanket picnic Choosing restaurants Make dining out more fun for kids Special diets Campers don’t always have to do their own cooking Saving $$ includes how many you’re feeding, negotiate, happy hour, someone else is cooking, if your reunion goes abroad, savings online Let them eat cake!

MILITARY REUNION NEWS – 42 USS Eugene A. Greene meets near Philadelphia by Robert J. Clark College of the Ozarks Patriotic Education Travel Program VMRP (Volunteer Military Reunion Planners) from Lowell (Woody) Woodworth Missouri Veterans History Project, photo collection, 43rd Infantry Division, USS The Sullivans, legacy groups, 101st Airborne charities

REUNION RESOURCES – 48 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products. ON THE COVER Sister and brother (l to r) Luvenua Carstarphen and Henry Carstarphen Sr. with Frank Jones their cousin and founder of the PJC reunion. See page 22.

Jennifer Rueth SALES

Karla Lavin Marquayla Ellison Josh Evert Beth Heinecamp INTERN,

Jillian Schmus University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee HOSPITALITY ANSWER MAN


Loida Arce Acosta • Clyde Bennish Genevieve Brechtel Henry and Angela Carstarphen Kathleen Casper • Robert J. Clark Meg Cox • David Dawkins Monica C. Dowe • Shirley Gillespie Bettie Griggs • Sarah Jaquay Melenda Gatson Hunter • Deborah M. Keith Diane Lockard • Margaret Malsam Lynette Moore • Lowell (Woody) Woodworth REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC. (ISSN #1046-5s235), is pub lished 4 times per year. Send correspondence, queries, submissions, subscriptions, advertising to REUNIONS MAGAZINE, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. Written permission from the publisher is required for reproduction of any part of this book except pages which encourage sharing. Please explain your intended use when requesting permission to reprint. Email: or fax 414263-6331. Tear sheets of reviews and reprints required. REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC., will not be liable for information presented as facts contained in any of our advertising, byline stories or materials. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication. We solicit participation and take responsibility for submitted materials. Unless accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE), submissions and photos will not be returned. All materials sent for purposes of publication become property of REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC. Subscriptions: US and Canada $9.99/yr, $17.99/2 yrs. Foreign orders add $36 for subscriptions. All foreign payment in US funds or drawn on a US bank. Back issues available for $3 each plus postage. Payment must accompany requests for subscriptions, back issues or other items for sale. Advertising rate information available from REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; 414-263-4567; fax 414-263-6331; e-mail; © 2012 REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC. F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S




he spring before a summer reunion is when you must attend to communication and registration tasks that will ensure attendance and funding. Your program, publication projects and touring plans should be coming together. It’s also time to check in with your CVB and hotel sales contacts – just to say hello if you have no particular questions.


Mail to R EUNIONS MAGAZINE PO Box 11727 Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 For charge orders call 800-373-7933 or visit or fax it to 414-263-6331. Or best of all, e-mail


If you receive the first mailing of this issue, you are also receiving the 12th edition Reunions Workbook. We hope this is just in time to aid your planning for your next reunion. This is the only general mailing of the workbook. If you don’t receive a workbook, we invite you to order online; it’s available in print or on CD ($9.95 for either). ABOUT WORKSHOPS

I will be speaking at the VisitFairfax reunion planning workshop Saturday, February 18th. See you there! While we do not present workshops, we promote and list workshops offered by others (see pages 14 and 15). Workshops typically are offered by local convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) who understand the value of reunions to their economy. Reunions mean business. Reunions bring big bucks to many areas and that’s what motivates the added service of a reunion planning workshop.


We found this in the Pueblo (Colorado) Chieftain regarding newspaper coverage of reunions. They published it in response to requests to cover and do stories about reunions. The Chieftain’s policy is that, unless there's a very unusual reason (the appearance of a nationally famous person at the reunion ), they cannot cover reunions. There simply are too many reunions to cover. The paper continues to list upcoming reunions in advance. “… please don't get upset with us when we say we won't be covering your reunion,” they plead. “Plus, think your way through it. Do you really want the newspaper at your reunion to document everything that happens?” That is one point of view. Our point of view is that there’s an opportunity to present such a compelling story about your reunion that they cannot pass it up! RECYCLE

Our friend Don Klock suggested that we go beyond just asking you to recycle the magazine. Klock feels it would be better to pass it on because there are so many interesting articles and stories that would be helpful to other reunion planners. Right on, Don, right on! WE LOVE LETTERS

This issue includes great examples of class, family and military reunions. Each has a point of view and has provided a report containing many ideas and lots of inspiration for you to take and run with! Our big feature is about food! Yes, all the ways food can be incorporated into your plans, recognizing that food is the key to keeping members happy and satisfied at your reunion. And while you’re at it, read Dean Miller’s Hospitality Answerman column that will tell you about meeting with hotel staff about food and beverage concerns.

We live to know how our readers feel about each and every one of our issues. Of course, we hope every issue will engage and inspire you, make you think and give you something to look forward to. If we do any of those or any other good things, we’d love to hear from you. And on the other side, we are just as eager to learn what you need that you do not find in the magazine. If you’re not finding it in the magazine, you can likely find it on our website or facebook page. In addition to tons of content on our web page, you’ll find resources with direct links, podcasts, the latest reunion contests and sweepstakes, media alerts, lists of upcoming reunions and much, much more. Or you can ask questions on our facebook page.



Sign up for a free copy of Reunions magazine at, or click on “help us write this magazine” and qualify for a free subscription. Listen to free podcasts online or download them and listen on the go. Just beginning? Go to getting started! See how logical that is? Sign up for the free monthly newsletter and stay on top of what’s coming up. Take advantage of us, please!

The advertisers in this issue, on our website and in our newsletter are all eager to meet you. Their purpose for being here is to get your attention and generate enough interest so that you contact them. We urge you to turn to them and let them help you plan your most successful reunion ever! Happy reunion planning and see you in Fairfax County February 18th! EW


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Burges High School – Class of 1961, 50th Reunion by Lynette Moore

Burges High School, Class of 1961 with the Mustang during the tour of the school.


ix months to prepare a 50th Reunion … impossible,” we were told. A chance to reunite old friends and experience a once-in-a-lifetime happening … no way! My husband graduated from Burges High School, El Paso, Texas, in 1961. In early February, the realization dawned that this year marked the 50th anniversary of his high school graduation. The question was asked whether anyone was working on getting it started … a “Where can I sign up?” sort of question. After a few phone calls, it was clear many were interested but no one put thoughts into motion. Even though planning time was only six months, I was assured we could do it … and the “Reunion Rush” began. I took, as an example, my own Garland High School graduating class of over 700 [featured in Reunions magazine, Vol. 17, No 1]. And so we stepped out to make the Burges High School, Class of 1961’s 50-year reunion a true celebration. A date was set and website created. Word spread quickly and the search for lost alumni began. From a class of approximately 220, the 1991 reunion gathered only 39. I was determined to have at least 100! One by one, additional help came and contact information was verified, including faculty. A postcard was designed and mailed informing alumni about reunion plans and the website (

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I created the website as a meeting place where excitement was planted and membership gathered. The site offered a history of W.H. Burges, 1961 faculty, Graduation Day memories, committees, calendar of events/deadlines, an Alumni/Faculty Directory, a blog and discussion forum, athletic and band memorabilia page, photos, “Plans & Dreams,” the web store, “Lost,” deceased classmates, and more. The days flew by, work continued and committees grew: The Detectives, Finance, Event & Hotel Coordinator, Meals & Gala, Photographers, “Gift to the School,” Fund Raisers/ Souvenirs and Advertising. Seven weeks until the Reunion, alumni and committees worked above and beyond my expectations. Donations for our General Fund goal for printing, paper, ink, etc., expenses was exceeded. By the end, our fundraising goal of $1500 climbed to $1635! Weeks dwindled to days as details fell into place. Name badges were created, the Directory and “Plans & Dreams” booklets (see box) were printed, t-shirts and coffee mugs arrived and were sorted. Our trip to El Paso began with a feel of both uncertainty and excitement! Our arrival found the Wyndham Hotel–Airport staff on top of all our requests, making the entire event, from

registration to Gala, dazzle. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the reserved block of 30 rooms had grown to an unexpected 34 rooms booked! Registration was almost anti-climatic as classmates joined us for breakfast and the shared memories began. One by one, they volunteered to set up tables and assist with registration as well as meet and greet fellow classmates as they arrived. As for me, names were finally put to faces. When spare moments occurred, I sat back and watched the success as six months of work turned into pure joy. A hospitality suite was set up with food, drink and memorabilia. It filled quickly and the reunion was officially on! Roaming photographers stayed busy. One alum brought cardboard cut-outs of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe which, along with the music of the late 50s, provided an “atmosphere of times past.” This alum also had the class photograph enlarged to 8 feet! Alumni autographed the photo and it was given to the high school for their archives. After the evening buffet there was an old-fashioned Slumber Party at the hotel. The gals grabbed pillows and blankets for a night of girl-talk. Heat cancelled the golf game on Saturday. The tour of the high school was exciting as “students of days past” met for a memorable walk, led by the principal, Dr. Randall Woods. After the tour, there was a swimming party. Time for “The Gala!” The rooms rang with excitement, tables filled quickly and meals were served with elegance and grace. With prompt efficiency, the program began with an introduction by the Senior Class President and Master of Ceremonies. We were entertained with “Fifty Years Ago,” a song written and performed by a classmate.

A Color Guard provided by Burges High School helped acknowledge deceased classmates. The room was quiet as names were called and Amazing Grace played in the background. Photos were projected and memories relived. After Taps, class officers made comments. Dr. Woods entertained and spoke about plans for the “Gift to the School.” The Burges fight song and Alma Mater was directed by the 1961 Band Director, Joe Booth. Dancing was led by two couples who met in high school, married after graduation, and remain married. A moving moment ... and a testament to lasting relationships. Sunday morning breakfast was enjoyed by those who remained until the last moment. But, before leaving, the question was posed again and again: “Can we do this again next year?”

About the author Lynette Moore holding up gift from the class – $1000 for a new computer and printer.

Lynette Moore was the “instigator” of her husband’s 50th Reunion. She had previously served on several committees for her Garland high school 40-year and 45year reunions.

POST SCRIPT! onations now total over $2,500 and the Burges Class of 1961 will join two other classes to give an annual scholarship. Lynette, now an honorary member of the Class of 1961, has been asked by the Class of 1957 to help organize an ‘all class’ cruise. She is maintaining the Burges’ web site and is starting a monthly newsletter. Finally, Class of ‘61 members are organizing luncheons in various parts of the US to stay in touch.


Joe Booth was the 1961 Band Director. He led the group in singing the Alma Mater and Fight Song.

he “Plans & Dreams” booklet contained a compilation of each alumni’s growth through the past 50 years, starting with their plans at graduation in 1961, followed by their biographies submitted in 1981, 1991 and the present and what their realities had become. There were pilots, saddle-makers, doctors, dentists, judges and land surveyors. Others were chauffeurs, musicians, nurses, pastors and police officers. Each alum received a copy of the booklet at registration, along with a souvenir pen for notes and autographs. All items were provided free due to the generosity of the class. Because many had lost their yearbooks, another item, produced by Beyond Concepts [], was an embellished CD of the 1961 Hoofbeats annual. Bonus features included the “Plans & Dreams” booklet, the Class Directory, all photo memorabilia gathered to date, and other items of interest from the Burges website.


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The party was on by Clyde Bennish


mmaculate Heart of Mary Academy High School (IHMA) stands atop a knoll at the center of Minglanilia, Cebu, Philippines. IHMA educates fewer than 1,000 students at a time. The Class of 1991, “Batch 91,” totaled 178 students; three deceased. A motorcade followed a special mass dedicated to the Batch 91 up and down the main avenue. The police escort was a classmate. U-turns in the middle of a busy street by 14 green and white balloonadorned cars and trucks interrupted traffic. Motorcades are common, so drivers were patient. It was a demonstration of Filipinos’ peaceful and fun-loving nature. After two passes through town we reached the Circa la Playa day resort. Up to 15 dedicated Batch ‘91 members labored to preserve this high school reunion tradition. Their motto: No classmate left behind. Five subcommittees split responsibilities. The budget committee arranged for donations, pledges, and funded the other committees. They collected a whopping 100,000 pesos (over $2,000) – no small sum in this wonderful land where the average lunch costs about 30 pesos ($0.60) including a soft-drink. Donations were not required to participate and some classmates who did not attend sent money. The communications committee located and organized 175 living classmates. In some cases, the committee

used the last known address listed in a 20-year old Batch 91 year book. Emails were sent, families and neighbors interviewed, a facebook group page created and updated, and shoe leather worn thin. House-to-house searches were organized and worked. Even after all that prospecting, some students were not found. Some were working or living overseas and couldn’t come. The committee’s successes were impressive. Had I participated, I would have liked to chair the food committee. They evaluated culinary likes and dislikes and determined menu items. Finding a talented caterer was not difficult but anticipating how many mouths to feed was a guessing game. A base number was determined but last minute guests, additional family members, and other variables turned the decision into a struggle. The count of 100 worked out well. The caterer provided Lechon (pork), chicken, beef, shrimp and fish, ponsit (noodles), stir-fry vegies, macaroni salad, cakes, beer, whiskey, tequila, and soft drinks. The program committee contracted the venue, speakers and entertainment, worked out registration, and planned games and awards. They did a wonderful job. The souvenir committee worked closely with the program committee to determine what prizes, awards, and gifts

would be appropriate within the budget. They also produced a wonderful 20minute CD presentation highlighting class history, which was copied and distributed free. 74 classmates arrived, with only a single spouse participating: me. What is important is that, with few resources, 41% of Batch ‘91 showed up. One classmate traveled from Japan. Another planned to come from Sweden but experienced a delay. Even travel within the Philippines can be expensive and difficult. Major cities are separated by ocean, so air travel is the expensive alternative to the slow inter-island ferries. Nonetheless, classmates came from almost all the major islands. Organizers located six of their original teachers and invited them. Teachers showed pride in their former students. For me, the single shame was when one of the six explained she was upset because she was forced into retirement after 30 years of service when all she wanted was to stay active and teach. I’m not sure her audience, her former students who still had many years of toil ahead before reaching retirement age, understood the implications. Perhaps they thought the teacher might be grateful for the rest. The shame was, of course, that government and institutions force retirement and belittle the elderly who may still have many good years left.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy High School Batch 91 (Class of 1991) 20 year reunion.

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Their school guard was also invited. He was easily located because he now holds local government office. THE PRESENTATION BEGINS

The lady of ceremony moved through announcements. The class president gave a rallying speech, followed by students, teachers and the old guard. Special praise recognized those who organized the reunion and other individuals for their efforts. Playful short games and challenges uprooted reluctant volunteers from their seats. The girls were concentrated in groups closer to the stage, while the boys held to the back. Verbal challenges see-sawed between them. Their interaction seemed adolescent, almost high school-ish. I urged my wife toward the stage but met some resistance. In the end, she shyly shrugged to the stage and participated, then returned to our table panting and laughing; her team won. Then the rains came. No one fussed. No one whined. No one griped, groused, growled, or grumbled. No criticism and no sign of disappointment. Neither did the caterers, nor the musicians complain. And not a disparaging peep was heard from the planners who for months had organized the affair. Not a single attendee raised Cain against the rain gods who were spilling buckets. They had waited many years for this evening, and were determined to enjoy the milestone. The caterers braved the torrent and sacrificed their own comfort to save white linen tablecloths and chair covers which the inclement weather threatened to ruin. Shivering classmates and guests huddled together under the protection of the tent-like shelter where band instruments and serving tables crowded out the refugees. Dripping hair, goose bumps and limited space would not, could not, did not, dampen the bright spirits of this group now sloshing together and engaged in jovial conversation. The initial severe moisture eventually abated, but remnants of the storm remained throughout the evening, periodically freshening the air with sprinkles. The consequences enhanced

the bond between classmates. With the enthusiasm of a huddling football team, they devised an alternate plan and shifted the party 50 yards. Musical instruments, sound system, food and portable cooking appliances were transferred to the new site. The rearrangement was completed with almost no loss of momentum. The halfwalled grass-roof bamboo pavilion filled as though it were the original plan. The green t-shirt logo, 91, was fashioned with a wide brush and within the brush strokes, in small letters, were

blue collar workers, white collar workers, and photos of classmates not so fortunate. I wrote in my notes, “What a beautiful collection of people.” There was an awards program: prizes for first marriage, most children, classmates who married each other, most youthful looking and latest marriage (my wife and I took that honor). It is out of character for Filipinos to show anger and besides, as I observed, these classmates loved each other sans condition. This wasn’t Hollywood; this was real life with little drama.

Batch 91 Motorcade

the name of each student. The design was absolutely fantastic. For 15 minutes, photos of classmates in their youth glided across a screen, choreographed to music that sentimentalized the era. Many classmates gasped, giggled, pointed, or whistled in search of the individual whose younger face was shown. The crowd went quiet when photos of deceased classmates paused on the screen. The video transitioned to images of classmates in more recent times, photos of moms and dads with their babies, doctors,

I’m happy to report that I underestimated my wife and her classmates; I almost didn’t go. I shudder to think that I might have missed the opportunity to witness a culture so at ease on a day marked by sentimentality, love, and respect. Thank you, Batch ‘91, for a memorable evening. May the shining light of happiness perpetually illuminate your way.

About the author Clyde Bennish, writing about his wife Cherry’s 20-year high school reunion, lives in Cebu, Phillippines. F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Family hosts exchange students Reunion celebrates from around the globe Olivia Jonasen is an only child. Sort of. with food drive Her mother, Linda, and father, Jack, have eight children: Olivia, plus seven foreign


paulding High School, Rochester, New Hampshire, Class of 1991 celebrated its 20-year class reunion. Eighty classmates (and 120 guests) attended. A classmate suggested having people bring canned goods for the local food pantry. They decided to take it one step further and challenged every classmate to bring 20 items – one item for every year they had been out of school. The outpouring was so great they donated almost 2,000 items and $100 in checks. Something so simple to do made a huge impact. Reunion organizers challenged future classes to do the same. From Foster’s Daily Democrat, Rochester, New Hampshire

Class reunion dedicated a memorial bench


memorial bench in Kinsmen Park in Estevan, Saskatchenwan, Canada, was installed in memory of the 45 classmates, siblings and friends as well as 47 teachers at Estevan Comprehensive School who they’ve lost over the years. Names of those who passed prior to July 2010 were engraved on the bench. The gift is thanks to a concentrated effort by former ECS students who attended or contributed to a class reunion. The bench and its installation overcame some significant obstacles. The original placement was put on hold after problems with the original contractor. Classmates volunteered to make the new bench but a very long winter with massive snowfall was followed by the rainy season and a flood. From the Estevan Mercury, Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

exchange students the family hosted from France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Germany and Brazil. Last year almost 13,000 students traveled the globe with American Field Service (AFS), the organization through which the Jonasens hosted their seven foreign exchange students. AFS has operated for 60 years and serves more than 40 countries. The organization’s United States arm, AFS-USA, has a mission to “[work] toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership,” according to its website. Olivia added a stamp to her passport when the family reunited with its international members for a cruise. Linda wanted to take an Alaskan cruise for her 50th birthday, which set the precedent for Jack to do something similarly grandiose for his big 5-0. His plan? A trip to Europe, complete with stops in Sweden and Germany to see former exchange students. The family visited the students they’d hosted; likewise, many of the students – and their parents – visited the Jonasens. The family stays in touch through facebook and e-mail. Jack’s 50th birthday reunion cruise stopped in Cannes, Nice and Corsica in France, Barcelona in Spain and Rome in Italy. Thirteen people sailed: five AFS students, one student’s boyfriend, two students’ parents, and the three Jonasens. From a story by Meryn Fluker in the Savage Pacer, Savage, Minnesota

Ten tips to survive a high school reunion


or some, reunions mean anxiety and uncertainty. Common fears include not recognizing old classmates, feeling awkward, and confronting embarrassing or uncomfortable memories or stereotypes from the past. offers the following to help reunion-goers make the most of this special event. 1. RSVP. Planners are classmates who are volunteering. They need to know how many people are coming to order food and front the money for deposits and other expenses. Do not just show up without RSVPing. 2. Connect with old friends before the reunion. Contact them to catch up and make plans to meet at the reunion. 3. Offer to help. 4. Dress comfortably. Many people feel the pressure to dress to impress, but take comfort into consideration. 5. Don’t drink too much. Stay in control. 6. Don’t say “I don’t remember you.” If confronted by someone who seems unfamiliar, greet them warmly. 7. Keep a positive attitude. 8. Be honest and modest. It’s better to tell the truth than to have others discover that you made up stories. 9. Mingle. Don’t waste an opportunity to catch up with people you rarely see. 10. Have fun. Reunions come only once a decade; you might as well enjoy them. Source: prweb

Biking 2,350 miles to a high school reunion


ifty years after graduating from Owosso (Michigan) High School, 68-year-old Lois Crawford rode her bike from Baytown, Texas, to Sault Saint Marie, Michigan (approximately 2,350 miles), just in time for her 50-year high school reunion. Crawford said she has always been active and it would not have surprised her high school self to learn of her current trek. The journey took some planning, though.

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She was aided with maps and routes from Adventure Cycling, helping her decide where to ride, eat, camp and find hotels. Crawford’s favorite part of the route was the Natchez Trace Parkway, a trail that begins in Natchez, Mississippi, and stretches to just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Crawford said one of the best parts of the adventure has been meeting so many nice people. From a story by Christina Guenthner in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Kimberly Herbert’s job is to attract reunions to Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Most of these events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus. They take place on Saturdays unless noted and, for the most part, are for people planning reunions in their area. All prefer or require advance reservations and are free or at nominal cost. For information about new events – added online, as soon as we learn about them – visit and click on workshops, conferences and seminars.



Contact Skip Sander, 412-367-1376;;

Contact Treasure, National Reunion Services, 925-240-1361


Contact Kristy Stevens, 888-895-8233;;

Contact April Cochran, 877-202-5961; ATHENS, GEORGIA

706-357-4433 ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Contact Chantel Francois, 404-521-6647;



Contact Kathy Buske, Cobb County CVB, 678-303-2624; COLUMBUS, OHIO

Contact Reunion Planner Workshop, 800-458-8085

October 6, 2012 Guest speaker, Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Brian Cheek, 800-354-2657;;



August 20-23, 2012 Military Reunion Planners Conference Contact Kimberly Carr, 800-214-3661;;

February 18, May 5, July 14, August 18, September 15, November 10, 2012 Contact Carol Murray, DeKalb County CVB, 800-999-6055



April 14, 2012 Guest speaker Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Vicki Baptista, 704-456-7970,, 14 R E U N I O N S O


Contact Randi Miles, 678-715-6069; DUNWOODY, GEORGIA

March 31, 2012 Contact Andy Williams, 678-244-9804;

Cheryl Morales describes the benefits of holding your reunion in Newport News, Virginia.



Contact Erica, 313-202-1942;;

February 11, 2012 Contact Saundra Robertson, Louisville CVB, 502-379-6110;


Contact Durham CVB, 800-446-8604



Contact Casey Kluver, 612-767-8106;;

February 26-28, 2012 Contact Conference Office at 800-777-9622 FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA


Contact James Dean, 888-493-7386;

February 18, 2012, 4th annual reunion workshop Guest speaker Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Dean Miller at Visit Fairfax, 703-752-9509;,



Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 6:30-9:30 PM Prince George’s Community College, Laurel College Center Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 6:30-9:30 PM Prince George’s Community College, Largo Campus Contact Family Affair-Reunion Planning ($25), 301-322-0797;

Contact Courtney Irish, 810-232-8902; FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA

Contact Laura Hill, 866-405-3046 (toll free) GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA

Contact Nancy Price, 678-216-0282;; PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND

Contact Lindsay Burns, 864-953-2464;




ABCs of Planning a Family Reunion Contact Linda Murphy, GCTS, 888-494-6638; KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA

Contact Sara Melendez-Davis, 800-831-1844, ext 28254; LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS

Contact Kimberly Ghys, 800-Lake-Now;

Contact Kevin Flowers, 800-551-8682; YMCA of the Rockies Contact Conference Office, 800-777-9622 YMRC – YOUR MILITARY REUNION CONNECTION

March 22-24, 2012, Laughlin, Nevada Contact; YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN

Contact Mary Zucchero, Ypsilanti CVB, 734-483-4444; F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



See Hollywood


inseltown Movie Location Tours in Hollywood, California, offers a guided tour of original film sites of many fans’ favorite movies. Tour guides, who are active in the film industry, enlighten guests with movie history and research unique to Tinseltown Movie Location Tours. Film clips are shown on video monitors in case fans need a memory jog of a site from a particular film. The two-hour tour showcases over 30 film favorites. Movie Location Tours takes guests to the front door of all of their favorite movies and gives them history, trivia, background and facts about the movie. When the opportunity presents itself, they drive by real film shoots. Contact at 866-GO-HOLLYWOOD; Ask about discounts.

Staying in touch online


ahoo! Groups. The owner of a Yahoo! email account can invite others to the family group by email. It offers privacy controls, photo albums, file storage and a poll feature so members can decide on chicken or fish at the reunion banquet, or sample databases for family addresses or recipe lists. It also offers a member list and calendar for scheduling events like a Friday evening icebreaker. Google Groups. Similar to Yahoo! Groups but only basic features. It allows different access levels, including public, restricted access, or announcement-only, so users can read the archives. Users who want more features go to Google Sites. Evite. Use Evite to send invitations, but don’t forget members who still use snail mail. Similarly, Eventbrite offers many of the same features and ability to register online. Ning. This site charges $2.95 a month for a minigroup (up to 150 members) or $19.95 per month for unlimited members. It's great for reunion planning because it allows customizable pages for, say, your family crest. It is easily moderated with privacy tools that keep your network for family members only. It also allows event planning, invitations, slide shows, video players and has a chat feature. 16 R E U N I O N S O

Annual Hatfield-McCoy Reunion Festival


he annual Hatfield-McCoy Reunion Festival tradition in Mingo County, West Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky, will be June 8-10, 2012. The first event, in 2000, encompassed several venues in neighboring counties where the legendary feud between famous families took place. Over time two venues have become the hub of the Reunion Festival activities – Matewan and Williamson, West Virginia. A festival highlight each year is the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon. The race begins in Goody, Kentucky, and follows a scenic and rugged course through several key areas of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, ending in downtown Williamson. Last year, events included a golf tournament and a Hatfield-McCoy Film Fest. “The Hatfields and McCoys” and “Mine Wars” were a double feature showing throughout Saturday. In downtown Williamson there were live music all day, an Old Dominion Gun Show, a local artist gallery, craft and food vendors, a Farmer’s Market, Hatfield McCoy Feud site bus tours (including a Matewan Massacre re-enactment), three genealogists to assist with familial research, a Kid’s Fun Run, a quilt show, a Zumba performance, the Film Fest, and more. In downtown Matewan, there were live music, book signings, a narrative of the Hatfield-McCoy story, Matewan Massacre and Civil War re-enactments, a Kid’s Run and ATV parade, Hillbilly Wedding, the story of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy, ATV Poker Run Awards, a Tug of War, and a Canoe-Boat Show. Contact the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce in Williamson at 304-235-5240 or in Matewan, at 304-426-6275. From an article by Terry L. May in the Williamson Daily News, Williamson, West Virginia

Presidents Day name facts


s the US celebrates Presidents Day to honor George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays, discovered that only 21 US adults share their full name with the 16th US President and only 870 adults share theirs with the first US President. Only .0001 percent of US adults share their first and last name with a President, with the top three most commonly shared full names being John Adams, John Kennedy, and Andrew Johnson. The least commonly shared names with US Presidents are Franklin Roosevelt, Millard Fillmore, and Harry Truman. President Barack Obama's name is not shared with another adult in the US. The data discovered that more parents named their children after a fictional character than after a US President, with names like Peter Parker (206), Robin Hood (227), Ronald McDonald (400) and Lois Lane (162) being more common than Presidents. However, the data showed that many Presidents’ first names are still some of the most popular names, with John, James and William being the most popular first names and Lyndon, Rutherford and Barack being the least popular first names. Interested in discovering and sharing the popularity of your name or learning more about the most popular first and last names broken down by state or the entire US? Visit a unique alumni reunion!


hey came from Singapore, Dubai and even Canada to fulfill a promise made years ago. Over 35 students of the 1993 batch of mechanical engineering course of the Punjab Engineering College (PEC), India, came for a unique reunion. The students got together on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year (2011). That is not all. They met in Chandigarh’s Sector 11 near house number 11. The time of the reunion was 11:11 AM. The entire sequence of their reunion read From Zee News


A high school graduation is a great time for a family reunion by Kathleen Casper


hat better time to get the whole gang together than when a family member is graduating? Often a high school graduation is the culmination of the entire family’s efforts to raise a child. Even from afar, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins contribute to the student’s well-being and success. And because many graduates will head out of town or into new-found independence, it may be one of the few times they will be available for a gettogether for awhile. For many graduates, this is a time in their lives when they are pulling away from family and trying things on their own. They feel too “mature” or “cool” to ask for family support, so this is an important time to offer it. Finishing high school is a feat worthy of a party, and graduates deserve a crowd standing beside them as they celebrate.

to use a family member’s home. Try not to overwhelm the graduate or his family by expecting them to host a party at their house during this busy time. But if that is the only choice, give relatives tasks to accomplish at the house so the graduate can focus on fun and less on the stress of the event. GRADUATE PARTY SPECIFICS

Nikolai Hammer and mom, Kathleen Casper.


Schools sometimes set limits on how many can attend the graduation ceremony, but there are other opportunities to show your support. Some schools have senior breakfasts, awards banquets, scholarship celebrations, and graduation parties for students and sometimes families too. All these events quickly fill a family’s schedule. Even if families are not able to attend every event, just being around to cheer graduates on and remind them how proud you are, will add a special touch to an important time in his or her life. THROWING YOUR OWN FAMILY PARTY

Having family in town for graduation can culminate in a big party where the graduate is the star! Find a location that will fit everyone comfortably so the fiesta can carry on as long as you want. Restaurants or other public events like conference centers and even libraries may offer the space you are looking for. Or you may choose

Food is always a fun way to highlight the theme of the party. Serve hors d'oeuvres such as chocolate-dipped fruit and strawberries on sticks with stickers with the graduation year on them. Or decorate a display of food with a cap and tassel on top. Using napkins and plates imprinted with the graduation year or “congratulations” will keep the mood focused. Inviting the graduate’s friends and playing music the graduate likes will keep things fun. Some families like putting together photos or videos to display, showing the graduate as a younger child and doing fun things with family members. Another fun activity is looking through yearbooks. Compare school events from the present with the school events or memories of family members of different generations. It may add a special touch and possibly even some laughs. And, of course, take lots of photographs. Make sure the graduate gets copies, which will be more valuable as years go by. Send graduation announcements and photos to family members and friends who can’t make it to graduation so they can feel included. Or post photos on one of many online photo websites.

About the author

Nikolai Hammer’s graduation. With siblings Miranda Hammer, Joey Hammer, and Madeline Casper.

Kathleen Casper teaches in a highly capable program in three elementary schools in Washington State and is a part time family law attorney. She and her husband Brad have four children and they enjoyed their own family reunion when their oldest son, Nikolai Hammer, graduated from high school.

Looking for a reunion hotel?

R is a great tool to help you research, reserve and promote your next reunion. It is a reverse auction site: you state your wishes, hotels respond. You complete our quick online location search page and the system will provide a range of options. The system offers organized detailed descriptions of all amenities, location, and specifications before you make any decisions. Proceed carefully. Even if the deal is very attractive, it may include a strict

cancellation policy, a high cash deposit, or other hidden costs. The Account Representative will help you through these and any issues you encounter. The Account Rep will also help you set up your reunion website free of charge. You’ll use the website to promote the reunion and keep track of members as they confirm. There is a podcast at explaining how the reverse auction site works called “Hotels are looking for your reunion.” F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Danvers Town Wide Reunion


ulie Lotito founded the facebook group “You Know You Grew Up in Danvers When…” The facebook group inspired townwide reunion plans. Lotito created the page as a way to share her childhood memories. She found we all had the same small town memories! She admits she misses her hometown profoundly! Her memories of Danvers, Massachusetts, are many, and her memories of the people of Danvers are great. She realized she lived a charmed childhood. The facebook group exceeds 1,600 members and continues to grow! Now it is keeping readers up-to-date on plans for the first ever Danvers Town-Wide Reunion and activities in the You Know You Grew Up in Danvers facebook group. Volunteers are needed for the June 30, 2012 reunion; contact From Danvers

Argus workers reunion


gathering of the old guard of Santa Rosa, California, ArgusCourier newspaper included office workers, writers, editors, Linotype operators, columnists and stringers from the 1970s and 1980s. They met at the “Press Club” of Volpi’s Ristorante & Bar, a favorite hangout for newspaper employees. The Argus-Courier of the ‘70s was very different from what it is now. Then it was a six-day-a-week paper with a business office, newsroom, advertising, composing, circulation department, dark room and paperboys. Everyone attending the reunion had a job that only slightly resembles the same one today, if it exists at all. Their stories recalled a time before computers and the digital age to when inkstained fingertips were common. Only the “Press Club” hasn't changed; it looks the same as it always has. From a story by Harlan Osborne in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California

Stonefort Reunion


he Stonefort Reunion used to be one of the biggest social events in southeastern Illinois. Residents of Carrier Mills Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center remember when people traveled to the Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion Grounds and stayed for several days. The grounds and village would be packed with cars, and before that, wagons from out in the country. One nursing home resident recalled that her grandparents took many grandchildren to the reunion grounds, pitched a tent, and stayed several days. No one wanted to stay just one night. People cooked their dinners over open fires – one day corn bread and beans, one day chicken and dumplings. They went for the cotton candy and food, crushed lemonade, and Coney dogs. There was always a bandstand for music and dancing, and square dancing was a big attraction. Teen-agers and young adults could find romance at the reunion grounds. Then, as now, the reunion was a good place to meet people. From a story by Eric Fodor in the Harrisburg Daily Register, Harrisburg, Illinois

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F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Family reunion celebrates 221-year lineage


t’s rare for any family to trace its origins back to the 18th century, but even more rare for a black family to do so. Slavery and courthouse fires during the Civil War made tracking records difficult. Family lineage was traced to James Horton, who was born a slave in Virginia in 1790. The family’s roots span from Africa to Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. About 300 attended the first Horton Family Reunion in Athens, Alabama. Family reunion events began with a meet-and-greet followed by a family dance. Saturday’s activity was a picnic, with worship on Sunday at Peace Missionary Baptist Church in Athens. From a story by Adam Smith in the News Courier, Athens, Alabama

1000memories preserves family stories

1 is a free online site that allows you to collaboratively record family stories. It brings family photos, stories, artifacts and documents, albums, scrapbooks, and photo-filled shoeboxes of our lives out of the closet and into an online, shareable space where they can be remembered and celebrated, together, in one place. 1000memories addresses the need for a place online to collect and store materials in a way that is accessible, reliable and permanent. Now, families can add their entire personal collections with confidence that they will be archived permanently for future generations. The Internet Archive (, a non-profit organization, currently preserves the online collections of the Library of Congress and eight other national institutions, as well as 23 state libraries and 50+ universities which 1000memories joins as their commercial partner. Described by one genealogy blogger as “perfect for those interested in sharing the story of a loved one's life with friends and family,” 1000memories has introduced a number of additional features for the genealogy community, including a Family Tree Builder, Social Security Database Search, and GEDCOM Importer.

Talking genealogy at 108th family reunion


bout 60 folks gathered for the 108th annual Misener/ Misner/Mizener Family Reunion. Attendees were descendants of Richard and Elizabeth Misener, who emigrated from Germany to New Jersey in 1720. Descendants, spread across Canada and the US, boast a dizzying array of surname spelling variations. Reunion attendees enjoyed a historical presentation, lunch, entertainment and a thrillingly extensive amount of genealogical reference material including books, charts, photos and computer-generated information. Laptop and printer stations set up with family tree programs allowed attendees access to the immense database of 18,949 descendants. The annual reunion began in 1903 and is still going strong

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more than a century later. The modern reunions are far different from the old days, when they were held at family farms or public parks and attended by hundreds of people. “They would set up tents and come in on horse and buggy and rail lines” in the early years, an organizer said. It was a real social event, with games and contests for kids and adults, as well as a full lunch and dinner. At one time, the reunion even had its own set of dishes, sold years ago, but they still have the reunion tablecloths. For more information on the Misener genealogy and annual reunion, contact Donna Kemp at or 519-751-0780. From the Brantford Expositor, Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Genealogy in the 21st century


n an online post, David Vance asked what information sources our descendants will use for the 21st century. Traditional genealogical records will still be important, but more interesting sources are being created. If facebook and Twitter databases are still around in 100 years, what a treasure trove that will be! Wouldn’t you give your right arm to see what your great-greatgrandfather’s facebook profile would have looked like? Ask family teens to create and display “facebook” pages for great-great-ancestors. How about YouTube? We leave important traces of ourselves on various message boards and website comment sections. However, a username is often the only identification of the author. Consider leaving your usernames so your descendants can search for you on the internet and find what you had to say.

Watkins family preserves past


new headstone for the family’s patriarch and matriarch was unveiled at Lee Thee Church in Rockingham, North Carolina, at the Watkins Family Reunion. The old markers will be embedded in the new headstones and include all the children’s names. Elias and Hannah Watkins were slaves when they married around 1850. The pair lived on in the family’s oral history. A great grandson who was researching their genealogy didn’t know the name of his great grandmother, but found her headstone beside his great grandfather’s. A committee of third-generation grandsons and fourth-generation granddaughters was organized to raise money for the new headstones. Lee Thee Church was the earliest black church in the county. Elias and Hannah walked about five miles to attend services. From a story by Philip D. Brown in the Richmond County Daily Journal, Rockingham, North Carolina

Reunion history lesson


ore than 80 descendants of 1700s pioneer Gilbert Strayhorn learned about their ancestors at the Strayhorn Family Reunion in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Gilbert helped settle Orange County during preRevolutionary times. Themed centerpieces for reunion banquet tables contained colorful flowers surrounded by bric-a-brac that told a story of life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There was cider and apples because Grandpa loved cider. Hand-written narratives explained items for those too young to identify work tools, jars, Horeshound candy, home remedies and implements. Each table told a different story about how Strayhorns lived. Artifacts included a water bucket and dipper because there was no running water, a handbell, cowbell and butter mold, a blackened flat iron and washboard. Nearby were a bonnet, oversized apron and tools of Mama Strayhorn's side jobs – sewing, quilting, making tobacco sacks and darning socks. Entertainment from the old days was represented by an old radio, books and the newspaper. From a story by Dan E. Way in the Durham Herald Sun, Durham, North Carolina

Family history gifts


umerous gifts can reflect your pride in your family’s name and heritage. Display your family tree or crest on a poster and frame it for a gift. Or frame a poster telling the history of your family’s name as well as its derivations, national origin and evolution to the present. If you do needlework, a stitchery depiction of the family crest makes an original keepsake. Organize details of your family history in a book. This can be as simple as placing information in a binder, or you might prefer to commission a professionally-produced bound book or

series of volumes with photographs, family trees and maps that trace your family’s origins. Organize photographs in a family history book on their own, or include old family homes or farms and multi-generation photographs. If cost is not an issue, jewelry can be engraved with the family name and crest to produce signet rings for men and pins or pendants for women. An inexpensive idea for a gift is to create a family cookbook featuring favorite family recipes and history.

Want to see your reunion on these pages? The answer is simple. Send a report, add terrific, well-focused pictures and we'll consider it.

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Send with your report to; subject line: name of the reunion.

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PJC Family Reunion


ur 9th PJC Family Reunion was held in Detroit/Troy, Michigan. Our family reunion includes three families, Patrick, Jones and Carstarphens – PJC – and we meet every two years. For icebreakers, a representative from each family introduces their members, including the city and state where they live and who they are kin to. At the PJC family business meeting – held before or after the banquet – we ask who wants to host the next reunion. A representative from a state asks for the reunion. If there is more than one rep asking for the reunion, it is voted on. Other states that want to host will be next in line. Our reunion rotates to different states so it becomes a vacation destination as well. This gives the family a chance to experience places they might not otherwise visit. Once the reunion is planned we create a detailed newsletter with everything they need to know about the reunion: maps, program, hotel and t-shirt

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information, committee names and phone numbers. We send three newsletters and we use facebook, email and twitter. A committee of families both young and old give their input. The host committee decides how much to charge

families and individuals. The main source of monies is reunion dues We think the children are our future and that their input today will make a lasting reunion tomorrow. We invite younger people to be a part of planning

PJC picnic at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan.

and we elect them to committee offices so they can understand the importance of carrying on the reunion. We get their input and incorporate their ideas so that they feel they have a voice. They serve on committees such as activities, choir and public relations. They talk about the reunion to their cousins when they are on social media. We ask them to plan activities they would like to do and to help design t-shirts. We have a family reunion choir and a raffle for a gift basket with foods, candies, and body and bath items. This year we added very large PJC wooden letters in the basket in our reunion colors (purple and white). Facebook and twitter are the best way to inform everyone, simultaneously, what is going on and to share pictures and stories before and after reunions. The national president/founder of the PJC reunion, Frank Jones, Sr., gave this year’s reunion very high marks, stating we “raised the bar and this was the very best reunion so far.” Reported by Henry and Angela Carstarphen, Flint, Michigan

Patrick, Jones and Carstarphen Family Reunion.

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Reunion includes Amazing Race, golf tournament and family history by Margaret Malsam had to assemble a puzzle to get their or my husband’s family reunion, the initial instructions. Then, they had to go younger generation took charge and to local attractions and family historical made it so much more fun than the usual spots around town and report back at potluck and just sitting around visiting. various points. Tasks celebrated family Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz would have history by asking trivia questions about been surprised at all the happenings in common ancestors, the late George and Western Kansas during our family reunion. Frances (Keller) Malsam. The couple For three days, 75 Malsam family owned the local telephone company and members spanning four generations from their old switchboard is now displayed in several states enjoyed great food and many Wakeeney’s History Museum. Teams were fun activities. required to find the old switchboard and It started on Friday in Wakeeney, Amazing Race team members gather around the old Malsam telephone switchboard in the local museum. take a trivia test from family members Kansas, to decorate our Malsam family float about where George and Frances were born, the church they for Saturday’s Trego County Fair parade. After the float, we attended, their middle names, their hobbies, etc. gathered to visit and enjoy late evening snacks. Other tasks included taking a picture of a terracing machine (invented and patented by George and Frances’s son), making a rubbing of a Veteran’s Memorial plaque in the cemetery and snapping a picture of an old fighter airplane on display. Each team was given money to buy food at a local snack shop and deliver it to the food bank at the police department. The teams also had to visit the fair grounds to find out about contest winners. One of their more odious tasks was eating sardines. One of our grandkids likes them and proudly helped his team surge ahead by eating all the sardines.


CATERED MEALS – NO POTLUCKS Malsam youngsters enjoy a game of cards.

An early morning golf tournament for all ages kicked off a very busy Saturday. Prizes were given to the best golfers, but also to the oldest (60+), youngest (11), longest putt and longest drive. The relative who organized the tournament secured complimentary golf carts for those who preferred to ride. Some relatives rode on the float in the parade while others gathered to watch. Between scheduled activities, we gathered in the air-conditioned hall to play cards and visit.

A great feature of our reunion was freedom from the responsibility of cooking. A local caterer prepared our meals and beverages for a modest price per person. As a result, no one had to


On Saturday afternoon our creative younger generation customized an Amazing Race competition, somewhat like the TV show. Teams of five or six 24 R E U N I O N S O

Relatives of all ages ride the Malsam float in the Trego County Fair parade in Wakeeney, Kansas.

We Care, We Connect, We Honor

spend time in the kitchen or try to keep food fresh while traveling from other states. Our catered lunch wasn’t the usual fried chicken and potato salad. The caterer fixed food to please all ages. For lunch, we had beef and chicken wraps, cowboy caviar (corn/pepper/veggie relish), vegetable trays and dips, snicker doodle cookies and M&M bars. Dinner, served buffet style, featured two kinds of chicken lasagna, one with a white sauce, the other with the traditional red sauce. Tasty fruit and sweet Asian salads provided a gourmet touch. Fruit cobbler topped off the meal. A hot breakfast, which was included with our hotel room, also provided us welcome relief from feeding 75 people each morning. SATURDAY NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

A granddaughter assembled many old pictures and humorous shots of the family and made a great PowerPoint presentation, which was shown after dinner. Everyone was uttering “oohs” and “ahs” as the old pictures flashed on the screen. Family members also brought old scrapbooks and memorabilia, including information about the German family’s roots in Ukraine’s Black Sea area in the former USSR. One couple traveled to the Black Sea area and met relatives living in the former USSR. Sunday morning Mass in the parish church (where George and Frances attended and where their children were baptized and received the sacraments) brought the reunion to a close. But our fond memories of meeting old and young Malsam relatives will never end.

About the author Margaret Malsam, Denver, Colorado, is author of two books and many magazine articles. She loves connecting with friends and family at reunions and has written about several Malsam reunions for Reunions magazine.

Family Historian Bettie Griggs at the Family History Table. The display included family documents and a display depicting significant styles and events from past decades of family members’ lives.


rom the start of the first Gillyard-Johnson-Mahoney Family Reunion, we wanted to use our three days as a time to emphasize that We Care, We Connect, and We Honor. We feel it’s important that we leave our time together with a consciousness of heritage, and that we grasp and understand that we are the beneficiaries of the labor and generosity of those who walked before us. WE CARE. Each reunion has come with a “Call to Action” in which we issue a single, focused command to the family. A follow-up report is given prior to the announcement of the new Call to Action. Our first Call to Action was “Healthier Living.” Since then we have held a Family Health Fair at each reunion and we have added a regular “Healthy Living” feature in our newsletter, Family Matters. WE CONNECT. We share oral history Dr Gretchen Gillyard Petterway-Family Reunion and reminisce around the Family Health Fair Coordinator. Historian’s displays. In addition to Family Charts, displays include copies of ancestors’ Homestead Land Applications, Marriage Licenses and other documents. The Historian displays timeless artifacts from past decades to draw in the youth and trigger memories and conversations around the family’s “good ol’ days.” Other displays include Depression-era coupon books, a 1902 Sears Catalog, to a 1930 radio and replicas of old cars, stoves and refrigerators. And there’s nothing like connecting over a good game of Dominoes. I don’t think there’s a person in the family who’s not out to prove that they are the GREATEST DOMINO PLAYER. WE HONOR. We know that today, all benefits and successes of our family are the result of our ancestors who labored earlier in barren fields. We recognize and honor our past, as we also honor our present and future. Read more about the Gillyard/Johnson/Mahoney family at Reported by Bettie Griggs, Compton, California F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



“Reconnecting The Branches” “If you teach them where they come from, they won’t need as much help finding where they are going!” Cordelia Carothers “Aunt Dee” Geoghegan (1894-1987)

A sensational video of econnecting The Branches,” the ancestors and decendants played theme of the Edwards Johnson continuously, with music titled Hubboard Family Reunion in “Grandma Hands” (by Jimmy Lithonia, Georgia, was chosen because Wither) playing in the it would be the first time since 1910 background. Delicious hors that descendants of William Johnson d’oeuvres and cool drinks awaited and Henryetta Hubboard would be family and friends. Instead of under one roof. Family history has name tags, each person was given been traced to 1870. a card with the name of a person William Johnson was born in The Family Reunion tablesetting decor symbolized the transportation most to interview. This was the Meet & Maryland in 1820 and Henryetta likely used to bring our ancestors to the New World: slave ships. Each ship Greet highlight, as everyone was placed on a 13-inch round beveled mirror covered with blue glass Hubboard in North Carolina in 1830. marbles to symbolize an ocean. Another centerpiece is a lighthouse placed on became familiar with a family We don’t know where nor exactly a 13-inch round beveled mirror covered with blue glass marbles represented member they had not known. when they arrived in Mississippi. the light that guided the ships to their destination. Each person was given a According to the 1870 census, the souvenir about the history of William and oldest child was born circa 1851 in Mississippi. Henryetta Johnson and their descendants from A special memorial ceremony to give respect 1870 to the present, approximately 150 family and remembrance to our transitioned root pictures with names and relationships, a ancestors and their descendants consisted of Descendants Chart, brief bios, an Index of Names reading the poem “Dear Ancestors” (author and an indices of places everyone lives. This unknown) and lighting tea light candles. chart, the indices and the Family Tree were Special certificates were given to the known created using Roots Magic4. living Matriarchs of the family: Mrs. Frankie For Christmas each attendee received a copy Trotter- Edwards of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and of the Edwards Johnson Hubboard Family Mrs. Lilly Wren Edwards of Eupora, Mississippi, reunion Meet & Greet presentation video as a and to 5th generation Patriarchs and Matriarchs thank you for coming. present. A signed copy of the book No There There Reported by Dorothy Edwards, was presented to 4th generation daughters (Mrs. Covington, Georgia Linnie Johnson-Williams, Dr. Vera Johnson-Pitts and Mrs. Wadie Johnson-Amar) of our Great Uncle Memorial Wade Johnson, a retired Pullman porter. A section of this book tells about work done by Wade Johnson for the Oakland, California, community. Recently, the City of Oakland renovated and rededicated the Wade Johnson Park, an honor for his contributions. What a JOYFUL time for Johnson Hubboard Descendants. Friday afternoon Meet & Greet welcomed family and friends with a beautiful floral arrangement honoring our root ancestors, William Johnson from Maryland (Black-eyed Susan flower) and Henryetta Hubboard from North Carolina (Dogwood flower), and the unity they formed in Mississippi Edwards Johnson Hubboard Family Reunion. (Magnolia tree).


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he Gatson Family Reunion started on July 4th, 31 years ago in Detroit, Michigan. Last year it was held in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. This celebration was started by fourth generation Gatsons from the lineage of freed slaves, Thomas and Mary Gatson. Thomas purchased land for his family in Cherry Ridge, Louisiana, and is the patriarch of what is now known and celebrated every two years as the Gatson Family Reunion. As the volunteer family historian, I have researched and verified this information. The next reunion location is selected by majority vote during the closing banquet. The last five reunions have

Special guests Sharon LaCruise (left), producer/director at the Ford Foundation, who showed a PBS documentary about our cousin, First Lady of Little Rock – Daisy Bates and Amy Polakow Adams (right), author of Civil Rights Crusader – Daisy Bates surround Melenda Gatson Hunter.

bus to the African American Museum in Detroit. This Museum should be at the top of everyone’s places-to-see list. It is architecturally breathtaking and the tour guides are outstanding. The museum has created a replica of a cargo hold on a slave ship. It is up close and personal; you can feel the pain and suffering of those traveling in unbearable conditions. Later we had lunch at “Fishbones” a restaurant with a Louisiana Bayou motif. Of course, food is the centerpiece of a family gathering and the lunch was our appetizer for the evening banquet back at the hotel. After a long day we gathered for the banquet. As a special surprise for the family, Sharon LaCruise, producer/director at the Ford Foundation, came to show a PBS documentary about our cousin, First Lady of Little Rock – Daisy Bates. The family had so many questions for Sharon, especially the young people. I also invited Amy Polakow Adams, author of Civil Rights Crusader – Daisy Bates. She had books to sign and give to family members. Our own family country singer, actress and model Rhonda Towns, from Chandler, Arizona, performed three songs for us. Rhonda also brought CDs and photos to autograph for the children. Our last day was celebrated with a church service, conducted by ministers Elder Delores Ward Jenkins and Dr. Kathleen Gatson, both family members. What a way to end a family reunion. Now our memories will take us home. Swing lo’ sweet reunion passing our memories on. As we look across the universe at those unborn, The robes of our elders never will be worn, A chariot is waiting for the blowing of the horn. Report by Melenda Gatson Hunter, Southfield, Michigan.

What a magnificent experience. Most of the relatives arrived Friday night for a meet and greet affair. It was an evening of hugs and kisses from cousins who were children when I was a child. I have not seen many of them in 40 or 50 years. There were lots of childhood stories, plus new ones from adulthood. You realize that the structure of our society makes it difficult for families to maintain the closeness that was so much a part of the lives of our Touring Detroit museums are (l to r) Helen Dawkins Taylor, Reola Dawkins forefathers. As I meet and Manigualt, David Dawkins. greet my relatives I realize been in Atlanta, Little Rock, Kansas the importance of the reunion and how it City, Los Angeles and Houston, cities reconnects us to our roots. I learn things with a large population of family about family members’ accomplishments. members. The next reunion is scheduled Daisy Gatson Bates, for example, was a to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. cousin who was involved with the “Little It was fitting that we celebrated the Rock Nine” during integration of the rich history of the Gatson family in Little Rock, Arkansas, public school Detroit, a city that has made such an system in the 1960s. enormous contribution to lives of African Saturday morning we rode a school Americans. Many children of the family’s second generation moved to Detroit after the Second World War, during the boom Gatson family history note in the automotive industry. Our first taste of the Motor City he Gatson Family Tree has been of interest to a lot of people over the past started with a trip to the world famous year, during which time PBS broadcast the Daisy Bates documentary. In Motown Museum, located in a house addition, a historian from Little Rock, Arkansas, is writing a book about Strong, where Motown founder Berry Gordy lived Arkansas, where my father was born. In September, I was contacted by a in the 1960s. I thought I could hear and researcher who works for a professor at Harvard University; she’s been feel the wall pulsating with the voices of researching family branches from Turkey. – MGH the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and many others as we moved through the rooms.


F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S


Photo credit Susan Goodale.


On getting along!


f you miss one or two reunions, your favorite cousin could be a whole new animal,” quipped John Goodale, the administrative nerve center for the biennial Goodale (pronounced, he says, as “a beer you like”) Family Reunions. John was explaining the importance of keeping up with far-flung relatives at least every other year. That’s why descendants of Anna Perkins Goodale (John’s paternal grandmother) meet at Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center in Northport, Maine. The resort is nestled in the undulating hills of the Megunticook range overlooking Penobscot Bay in mid-coast Maine. With 106 cottages and countless amenities, there is plenty to do for all age groups.


Photo credit Sarah Jaquay.

“Brenna Herridge, Point Lookout’s director of group sales, was very accommodating, but we’re a pretty selfmotivated group,” John noted. Herridge is happy to arrange group activities, like a lobster bake, bowling tournament or tour of local art galleries. The Goodales have met twice at Point Lookout and intend to return in 2013. That gives them plenty of time to practice for their next “full-contact croquet” tournament. It isn’t the blood sport it sounds like. “It’s set up between cabins and there are quite a few wickets on huge slants. Everyone ends up hanging around, watching,” John noted. The winner gets a fuzzy bear. The Goodales aren’t a huge clan but they are a close-knit one; 55 are invited

The Goodales. Photo credit Susan Goodale.

and about 50 usually attend. activities we have “Virtually everyone shows planned,” notes Kate. up,” John said. His first One of those traditions cousin and co-planner Kate includes starting a family Goodale backs that up. Kate’s quilt. Some squares are favorite aspect of each from ancestors’ clothing. reunion is seeing extended “It’s a combination of old family, many of whom she and new,” Kate said. When doesn’t see between Point completed, the 2011 quilt Lookout gatherings. While will be given to a member Nat Smith, winner of the family much of the family hails from who is pregnant with their fuzzy bear! New England, Minnesota and first child. North Carolina, another cousin, Eben An annual ritual is a lobster bake Goodale, flies from San Diego. hosted by Nathaniel Goodale, who The family often has more reunion recently moved to South America but activities and traditions than time. They vows to return for his chef duties in begin on Friday and everyone departs 2013. Since many Goodales have by Sunday afternoon. But there’s a inherited artistic genetic code, they tour movement afoot to start arriving local galleries such as sculptor Harvey Thursday evening. “It’s so much fun; Peterson’s in Belfast and painter there’s so much to do and we only Whitney Oberdorf’s in Lincolnville. accomplish about a third of the While the Goodales always enjoy each other’s company regardless of location, they thrive in the crisp summer air of mid-coast Maine and enjoy Point Lookout’s amenities. “There’s plenty to do here – everything from playing baseball to watching videotaped recollections of Anna Perkins Goodale,” John remarked. Like a fine fermented beverage, Goodale family reunions at Point Lookout just keep improving with age. Visit or call 800-515-3611.

About the author

Point Lookout Resort offers a pristine stretch of private beach for guests.

28 R E U N I O N S O

Sarah Jaquay is a freelance travel writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s been visiting and in love with New England since 1966.

Three things Hurricane Irene can teach us about reunions


uring the last weekend of August 2011 Hurricane Irene visited states along the Atlantic Ocean. As a businesswoman who helps people connect and reconnect through games and activities, I was surprised that this storm taught me to appreciate my work much more. For that reason, I want to share the three things Hurricane Irene taught me about appreciating reunions. During the weekend, TV news and social media gave projections of what this Category 3 storm would leave behind. We paid close attention to know what to expect and how the people we cared about would fare. As an adoptive Eastern North Carolinian from Bronx, New York, many of my family and friends are in New York City – also affected by the hurricane – so, naturally I was concerned. We were lucky. We lost power for less than six hours, no one was hurt and we only had a small leak in the ceiling. However, some weren’t so lucky. We take living for granted. We assume we will have time to do things later. This passing hurricane teaches us that is not true: no excuses about being too far, too busy or too tired, because no excuse mattered during the hurricane. These are three things we should learn from Hurricane Irene. ❖ Be proactive – not reactive. Reconnect and restore relationships you have been putting off, NOW. Appreciate, love and play with those most important to you. Plan your next gettogether. Planning in advance lets everyone know when your next reunion or event will take place and gives your loved ones time to plan and gather their resources to attend.

❖ Don’t wait for a tragedy. A reunion is a great way to enjoy one another. Many times we don’t appreciate family and friends until something bad happens. Sadly, too many people reconnect at funerals. Resolve to see the ones you care about in better circumstances! ❖ Make time. Make visiting family a priority. Coincidentally enough, my Aunt Hazel, whom I hadn’t seen since 2008, was visiting in North Carolina the week before Irene hit. I was so happy to reconnect with her again and realized we had gone too long without seeing her. She had been waiting for us to visit but we had not had the time. Decide that spending Aunt Hazel Dowe time with family and friends is just as important as your child’s sporting event, an intimate relationship, school or promotion. We all could take a lesson from my aunt. She knew and followed all three lessons mentioned above. 1. She was proactive: she came to us; she decided not to wait until we had the time to get to her. 2. She didn’t wait for a tragedy to occur. 3. She made time to see her family because they are important to her. Irene taught us that life is precious. She made us take stock of our family, to spend time with those we don’t see every day.

About the author Monica C. Dowe, New Bern, North Carolina, is CEO/Senior Event Manager with I'm With Them Events, a recreational event management firm. Visit;

Cousins: the relationship, not the name


he Cousins Reunion (relationship, not name) was held in Redlands, California. My cousins and I have been discussing a cousins reunion for several years and no one did anything. Cousins? No, that's not our name. We have too many names; therefore, I've called it the Cousins Reunion, meaning we are cousins by relationship. Some of us have not been together since our grandfather passed away in 1983. Some of us have never met one another. Some of our cousin surnames are Gillespie, White, Squires, Button, Brown, Chaffin, Rauer. I volunteered to plan the reunion and, thanks to, found so much information – even a t-shirt vendor with lots of ideas for shirts. Since the back of the shirt is blank, we provided fabric markers so everyone could sign the back of everyone else's shirts. In WordPerfect I found a template for a newsletter and the first one was mailed in two weeks. It's full of who, what, when,

where and even notes from relatives. The San Bernardino (California) Visitor Center is full of brochures. In the newsletter I suggested that cousins contact them for more information about the area. First Presbyterian Church in Redlands, California, allowed us to use their meeting hall for the Meet & Greet, from noon until 5 PM on Friday. One cousin and our uncle showed up. OMG! Where were the rest of the cousins? About 3 o’clock half a dozen more cousins arrived. Name tags were not necessary. Our uncle knows more about family history than the rest of us. Pictures were displayed on two tables. Welcome bags were handed out, thanks in part to Fairytale Brownies* in Tempe, Arizona.

Saturday we went to a water park called Pharoah's Adventure. The salesperson neglected to inform me about the price, yet we were getting in for a Pepsi discount by bringing a can of Pepsi from each person. So when the ticket person said $300 plus entrance, I about fainted. Thank goodness for Visa. One cousin dripping from the water slide said he was having so much fun he felt like a kid again. I haven't received the evaluations, so I don’t know whether another reunion is in the future. But we all sure had a blast. This reunion organizing has become so much fun. Thanks for all the ideas I found at the Reunions magazine website. Reported by Shirley Gillespie who writes from Chandler, Arizona

*Fairytale Brownies makes all kinds of yummy brownies, including small ones called Brownie Morsels. I spoke with them about using their bags for goody bags and they were willing. Visit F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Family reunions can be small


We also went to scatter rose petals on the places where their ashes were scattered – the golf course for my dad, and the ocean for my mother. It was all great. But the most powerful experience was when we all gathered one evening in my sister’s room after eating takeout fried chicken. My siblings and I shared all sorts of stories about our childhoods, including some pretty hairraising tales, and stories about our parents. I even brought some old letters and records showing that our ancestors came to America in the 1620s. I can’t remember ever before seeing that many teenagers so totally rapt at Sisters Meg Cox (left), Princeton, New Jersey, and Tracy Hagen-Smith, hearing their parents talk. It was an O’Fallon, Missouri, scattering rose petals off the dock in North incredible moment, in which we passed Carolina, where they scattered their mother's ashes in 1995. on our stories and felt united by them. They certainly weren’t all happy stories, but that ended up being fine. One of my brother’s sons said to me, “Maybe I’m not a loser. I didn’t realize my father and grandparents went through some of these things, and they turned out fine.” We ended up with a plan to do this again in two years. I don’t see us booking a big ballroom someday and printing reunion t-shirts, but I haven’t felt this close to my family for a long time, and I feel so much closer to my nieces and nephews. If you have been meaning to do something like this, plan now for next summer. Pick a date, keep it small, go somewhere with meaning and make it fun. You don’t need to overplan and overthink it. Just plant the seed, and see what grows. From Meg Cox’s Ritual Newsletter. On the golf course, ready to release a red balloon in honor of our father, an avid golfer.

y siblings and I were prodded to have a reunion after one of my brother Alan’s sons “friended” my sister and me on facebook, and told us how much he wished he could get to know us better. As often happens, once our parents had died, we had fewer occasions to gather and we had no structured family reunion before their deaths. So, for a long weekend in June we all stayed at a family-friendly beachfront motel in North Carolina, near where our parents last lived. We had an extremely low-key but completely wonderful time catching up, and visiting many of the sites our parents loved, like the local aquarium.



ook of New Family Traditions is the brand new, revised and expanded earlier book of the same name by Meg Cox will be published in early April 2012, well in advance of Mother’s and Father’s Day and the reunion season. The new edition contains twice as many traditions as the 2003 edition and more than twice the number of pages. Jeffrey Zaslow, who co-wrote Gabby Giffords’ book and The Last Lecture, said: “Meg Cox has a gift for finding unique and heartfelt ways to celebrate and deepen the love within families. This book will make your family life richer.” Pre-order ($16) on 30 R E U N I O N S O


ot Traditions? A Family Rituals Workshop Manual is Meg’s self-published teacher’s manual, of step-by-step advice about how to conduct a workshop about creating meaningful, personal traditions even at family reunions. Included are directions for several activities based on Meg Cox’s successful workshops. Got Traditions? (ebook $2.99, paperback $10, also on is also available at Finally, Meg’s facebook page about traditions ( is constantly updated with fresh ideas for families to celebrate together, as well as links to blogs, websites, recipes and other terrific resources. And it’s all free.

Family brings rakes and mowers to reunion


he Words family returned to its roots on Trezevant Street in North Memphis for a reunion of a different kind. It is the family's old neighborhood. For this reunion, instead of barbecue grills and picnic baskets they brought weed eaters, lawn mowers, and yard rakes. “This is the neighborhood where we grew up and we saw it was not looking as good as when we were growing up. One of my sisters decided we needed to get out here and do some things to clean up the neighborhood, so here we are," said Cleopatra Thomas.

Most of the Words moved to other Memphis neighborhoods, but the family matriarch still lives on Trezevant Street. Her health doesn't allow her to pitch in. After just a few hours, longtime neighbors said they already notice a difference. The family’s cleanup inspired other neighborhood friends to join them. They're hoping the domino effect will take place all over Memphis. The family solicited help from the city to clean up two lots that were just too overgrown for them to tackle. From a report by Stephanie Scurloc on WREG, Memphis, Tennessee.

The Stanleys of Virginia


he Stanleys are a family of talkers and huggers, and we stop the conversation only long enough to eat and hand out door prizes. My grandfather and his two brothers moved from West Jefferson, North Carolina, to the Damascus, Virginia, area in 1925. Later one of the brothers moved to Ohio. Our reunion was born in 1974 in an effort to get all the kids and grandkids together other than just at funerals. The first couple of reunions were held on a family farm. When it became an annual event, it was moved to a nearby county park on the lake. With our aging family population and the increasingly hot summers, when it was my turn to lead the reunion I found a place to rent that was air-conditioned and had handicapped-accessible bathrooms and a kitchen. Now we have the reunion there every year, even though we have to pay a lot more; it is worth the extra money to see some of our older family members attend. And we have a lot more room than the two combined shelters we were using before. The move resulted in our largest attendance ever, as everyone was curious about the new place (and it was just before the gas prices went up).

We don’t budget for anything other than the building rental. We put a donation jar on each row of tables. If we want to purchase something, we have to have the leader approve it and then get reimbursed. We are simple, we talk, we hug. My uncle (who is a minister) says grace and reminds everyone to put a donation in the jar for next year. We eat, we take pictures and we talk some more. We have a mom who runs a daycare from her home. She has been planning activities for kids ages 3 to 12. Those over 12 play games with the adults. Our biggest and best hits are our annual Horseshoe Tournament and Hillbilly Golf Tournament. The golf tournament was created after pictures of family elders playing during the late 1940s and early 1950s surfaced. Now that the reunion has been passed on to the next generation, our family history projects have become a huge hit. We also started giving out door prizes a few years ago and these are very popular. Reported by Deborah M. Keith, Bristol, Virginia

Take over the ranch!


ude ranches are ideal for family reunions. In fact, at Sundance Trail Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, a family of 20 to 24 can have exclusive use of the entire ranch! Imagine that! An “allinclusive” family reunion with all the horses and wranglers and activities at your command. Your own private reunion ranch for one week! Kids can ride horses, and play in a safe

dude ranch environment with acres and acres of room to roam. There’s no cooking or dishes or cleaning for moms who can relax and even play! Special diets are available and if your family must consider someone in a wheelchair, they’ll find accessibility here. Additional activities include white water expeditions on the Cache La Poudre River with experienced guides, trap shooting lessons and flying clay target challenges,

rock climbing, fishing, hiking, archery, shopping, and, of course, hammocks. Even cowboy poetry by the light of a campfire. Denver International Airport, in the heart of the US, is easy to reach from just about anywhere in the world and Sundance Trail Ranch is only 100 miles from the airport, in the quiet beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Visit or call 800-357-4930.

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



You’ve gotta eat!


ood is always a major issue in reunion planning and can take countless forms. Meals can be anything from a potluck picnic to a formal banquet and lots of other possibilities in between. Does your family thrive in the kitchen? Or do they want someone else to do the work? Will you be eating at restaurants? Or campgrounds? Or hire a

caterer? Or will you, as many reunions do, have a combination of all these? We’ve covered many contingencies and would like to learn how you feed your reunion. First, our Hospitality Answerman, Dean Miller, discusses food and beverage considerations at a hotel. And at the end, there are reunion cakes for you to enjoy.

Hospitality Answerman I’m meeting next week with hotel staff for our “pre-reunion” meeting. What questions should I be asking? In particular, what do I need to do to make sure our Sunday night dinner goes well? This is the “big” event when everyone will be together, and I want to make sure everything is perfect! This is a great question. Typically, the “dress up” luncheon or dinner is one of the highlights of any reunion. You’re to be commended for paying extra attention to all the details … this will be something everyone will remember! For starters, you should have already worked out your menu with your hotel catering representative, so you’ll know exactly what is being served. If the “event order” for your meal is vague about certain items (such as “Chef’s choice of dessert”), ask to have these clarified. If anyone in your group has a special dietary need, food restriction, or allergy, now is the time to let the catering representative know, NOT the day the meal is being served. Work out details for how service staff will know who is to receive a special meal.

Q? A!



ccording to a national survey by CustomInk of more than 1,000 Americans, the answer to whether or not reunions still attract members is a resounding yes! CustomInk’s Family Reunion Outlook reported that 93 percent of respondents said they would attend a family reunion to connect with relatives. Whether it’s hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs or steaks, meat dishes are the odds-on favorites for family reunion foods. Almost 50 percent of respondents say meat is a “musthave.” Desserts were a distant second, capturing only 16 percent of the vote.

If you’re having a special décor scheme (say, table linens in specific colors or special centerpieces), review these details. Likewise, if you’re going to be providing programs, seating cards, or place favors, review how and when these will be delivered to the hotel, and who is responsible for putting them at each place setting. Some hotels will do this for you; others will ask you to do it yourself. Many hotels have centerpieces and décor on hand that you may be able to use at no charge or for a nominal fee. Ask to see these set up on a sample table so you’ll know exactly how everything will look for your event. If you’re serving alcohol, review how it will be served. Are you having a cash bar? A hosted bar? Wine service only? Review the scheduled time for your program (someone speaking to or performing for the group). As a general rule, you won’t want to have a course being served or dishes being cleared while someone is trying to speak! Ask to meet (and get to know) the banquet captain or maitre d’ who will be overseeing your meal. He or she will have the ultimate responsibility for making sure everything goes smoothly during your event. If you’re having a stage and/or dance floor set up for a band, a disc jockey or a talent show, review the size and location of these in the room. Review how early (before the event) the band/disc jockey/talent show participants will have access to the room for set-up and rehearsal. Likewise, review your need for electrical outlets, as well as for any audio-visual equipment the hotel may be providing. For example, if you want the stage set up on the side of the room where there are no electrical outlets for the disc jockey, you’ve got problems! If people will be speaking or telling stories, and the group is larger than 40 or

so people, you’ll definitely want to have a microphone so that everyone in the room (including those who may be hard of hearing) can hear clearly. Ask whether any other groups will be holding events in the hotel at the same time as yours. If you are conducting a solemn service of remembrance, or asking your patriarch or matriarch to speak at your meal, you don’t want to be drowned out by a band playing at full volume in the next room. If you’re going to be taking home leftovers or donating them to a local charity, review the details for this. Ask about any unopened bottles of wine you may have purchased. Some hotels will allow you to do this, others will not. In many cases, this will be governed by state and local regulations. And finally, be sure everyone understands who is signing the banquet check at the end of the event, and who is allowed to make any changes or additions to the menu during the course of your meal. If you don’t tell the hotel otherwise, they’ll gladly bring one of your attendees a second steak if asked to do so, and it will end up on your bill! Hope you have a marvelous event!

About the Hospitality Answerman Dean Miller is National Sales Manager for Visit Fairfax, the destination marketing organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. He has more than two decades of experience helping planners organize successful reunions, meetings and events. He is not an attorney, and nothing in the above article should be construed as legal advice. You should always consult with a practicing attorney for legal advice. F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Make dining out more fun for kids


ngage kids at meals by providing “keep-em-busy” bags at restaurants. Bags might include coloring books with crayons, pencils/pens/crayons and paper, small puzzles, or anything that keeps kids occupied for a while. Or have them write postcards. Or have good word games in mind. If it’s been a long day, nap before dinner. Mealtime should be a leisurely, enjoyable way to relive the day’s adventures. Encourage each child to tell what he or she enjoyed best that day and discuss plans for tomorrow.

Planning a feast can be relative


ood is a big part of reunions and while many families have discovered catering, many still do it the old-fashioned way and prepare food themselves. Even families who have some of the menu catered still prepare potluck side dishes, salads and desserts. Reunions often offer attendees the only opportunity to experience those “iconic” family foods, the stuff legends are made of: Grandma’s special coconut cake, Aunt Erika’s biscuits, Uncle Christopher’s chili. Reunions are where you get your “fix” of special ethnic foods or recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation that few of us make anymore, but all of us remember. Novices often overestimate just how much food they’ll need for a large gathering. The more dishes you have, the less you need of each. If you’re serving 50 people, you do not need entrees for 50, salads for 50, several sides for 50 and each dessert choice for 50. In reality, guests tend to take a little bit of this and a taste of that, rather than full servings. If you’re cooking, it is not wise to multiply the recipe two, three, four times or more. Recipes that contain strong flavors or spices should be adjusted down rather than up. From a story by Korky Vann in the Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut

Reunion food requires careful planning

T A different kind of reunion by Genevieve Brechtel


am sorry to say our reunion did not go exactly as planned. Ten days before the reunion I was hospitalized for a mild stroke. Our daughter Mary flew down from Arlington, Washington, to help. Our daughter Anne and son James, who live close to us, and their families took over while I lounged and watched the fun. However, meal plans, made in advance, went pretty much as planned. Our eldest daughter, Genny, fed 23 guests with cavatina (pasta), salads and trimmings, followed by two kinds of cake from my sister, Emma, which went well with ice cream. Our son Vince cranked up the barbeque and made big beef and pork roasts, which lasted for two days. What was to be a two-day event became more than two weeks as family members came and went. Our eldest son Bob was in charge of morning pancakes for much of that time. Our son Hugh, famous for pizzas, had a big pizza feed one night. He was also in charge of pies, baking a total of five peach and one cherry pie. Shared by the now recovered Genevieve Brechtel, Huachuca City, Arizona



o start, what is your budget and is it realistic? $5 per person for food is not realistic. The kind of food you want is dictated by the reunion. How many people are expected? Is it indoors or out? At home, in town, or at a distant location? Lunch or dinner? Will people eat at tables or from plates on their laps? Will children and adults be present? One caterer steers customers toward picnic food: fried chicken, barbecued pork, pasta salad and baked beans, cookies, lemon bars and brownies, iced tea and lemonade. And tons of fresh fruit. Potato salad can be problematic in summer because it is an absolute

necessity to keep it cold when the temperature soars. Anything cold must remain at 40 degrees or below. Keep cold foods on ice. Hot food should be at least 160 degrees and kept that hot. At most warehouse stores you can buy chafing racks that are used with Sterno. For 100 people, figure two and a half pieces of meat per person. Choose meats that don’t require a knife because plastic knives and paper plates can be difficult. Figure three to four ounces per person for salads and baked beans, and at least two desserts per person if you’re serving cookies or brownies. From a story by Mary Jean Porter in the Pueblo Chieftan, Pueblo, Colorado


How Many?! How Much!? by Jennifer Cole helps cooking and planning events for large groups. It divides the process of feeding many hungry people into 13 easy-to-follow steps. It is useful for both the novice and veteran event organizer. How Many?! How Much!? includes chapters about Menu Planning, Recipe Costing, Calculating Expenses, Recruiting Helpers, Designing a Program, Planning Event Seating, Plating and Presentation, and more. Author Cole has 15 years experience running a catering business and cooking for large groups. How Many?! How Much!? ($19.95) by Jennifer Cole is available online at; click on shop.

reunion-recipes-to-go Winning recipes from contests we did years ago are now online for you to print. Go to and click on food! Yumm!


How other reunions do it iane Lockard, West Jordan, Utah, divides food costs for the Bergan Family Reunion by tallying up receipts and dividing the total among families and single adults. (The cost of lodging was a gift from their mother.) During pre-planning on the phone, two brothers’ wives discuss menus and assign items. Lockard wrote, “I have taken hamburger buns from the thrift store and pans of frozen lasagna to Colorado. Upon arrival, two people shop for fresh foods. My specialty is baked beans made of canned pork and beans with added catsup, mustard, brown sugar and, if desired, cut-up bacon. My 90year old aunt had two helpings.” A hard rain didn’t stop the Norman Family Reunion from celebrating. So it was wet. But the 55 Normans were not to be denied, according to Dave Kern in The Vancouver Columbian. The menu was impressive, including salmon, chicken, meatloaf, San Francisco stew, beans, potato and many other salads. The dessert list went on and on. One special night was dedicated to the Arce Family Reunion’s Puerto Rican heritage, with food, songs and traditions from the first generation, according to Loida Arce Acosta, Orlando, Florida. Loida’s sister, Rachel Perez, was the cook. She made traditional foods like yellow rice and pigeon peas, pork and chicken the Puerto Rican way, salad with special dressing, Spanish bread, green bananas and yucca with rice pudding for dessert. Lovina Eicher wrote in her DansvilleGenesee Country Express (blog) that she’d attended the Eicher reunion in Berne, Indiana. Her husband’s father came from a family of 17 children (14 are still living). There were so many different kinds of meat, salads, casseroles, cakes, cookies, pies, fruits, puddings, and drinks that the food was served in a big pole barn plus two big tents with more tables. Plenty of ice cream was homemade by the gallon. A big gaspowered ice cream freezer looked funny because a wooden man was attached, making it look like he was cranking all the ice cream by hand. Patricia Altomare writes in the Gloucester Daily Times, Gloucester, Massachusetts: On Fourth of July weekend, we gathered at my sister’s home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire



for a four-day scheduled event. The youngest ones are an important focus because we remember reunions of our youth when we created strong bonds that last to this day. Friday night launched the event with a catered lobster dinner. We added salads and desserts. Everyone brought something. The “main ingredient’ was people bringing their traditional favorites, like homemade candies, a pan of cheesecake squares, and a pot of chicken chili. Two nieces made recipes that were their grandmother’s. We have always had a pot of home-baked beans at our reunions. I made 4 pounds of them using my mother’s recipe, and they tasted good, but I can never get them to come out as good as hers. Two things that were great ideas! We never had to stop and make a pot of coffee or serve wine. A wine station set up for the weekend. My niece was designated to keep it stocked and glasses clean. She and her husband chose a nice assortment of California and Argentina wines. Second was a Keurig Station with someone designated to keep it stocked with coffee, tea, hot cocoa, clean mugs, and coffee creamer on ice. An important issue in any reunion is trash disposal. We were lucky to have a niece and her husband who have a trash recycling business. They set up receptacles for bottles, cans, and compost. You might not “have someone in the family,’ but setting up receptacles

The late Uncle Lubie Branch, Pink Hill, North Carolina, was happy to be in charge of grilling chicken at the Branch Outlaw Family Reunion in Pink Hill, North Carolina.

outside for everyone to use will make cleanup quicker for you. Harry and Cornelia Parker settled in Lovilla, Iowa, between 1880 and 1884, making theirs among the oldest AfricanAmerican families in Iowa. About 170 Parker relatives come to Twin Bulls acreage near Knoxville, Iowa, to swim, fish, ride horses, play games, do face painting and put on a talent show. They dine on 30 pounds of barbecued ribs, 40 pounds of pork loin, 25 dozen ears of sweet corn, roasted pig, greens, macaroni and cheese, fried fish, pies, cookies and cakes, according to Patt Johnson in the Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa. Harlan Osborne reported in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California, that the Rogers family tradition of togetherness is being fulfilled by their descendants with periodic reunions, the most recent of which was held in a wooded glen on the Chileno Valley, California, ranch of Leroy Dolcini. To keep it simple, they planned to barbecue chicken and hot dogs, with everyone bringing a side dish and beverages. On the day of the event the food was bountiful. Three tables were set up just for salads, which included that reliable standby of older generations, green and orange Jello. There were “pots and pots” of homecooked beans, plus homemade pies and cakes. At the end of the celebration, the leftover food was donated to the Petaluma Kitchen. Photo credit Egbert Kirk Hall.


Fun food activities


andy apple buffet. Guests can choose caramel versus

chocolate for their topping. Add crushed peanuts, coconut or colored candy sprinkles. Use bulk-purchased craft sticks to hold and dip the apples, and bargain-priced paper coffee filters to contain the finished treats. Baked potato topping bar. Provide butter, sour cream, bacon bits, chopped scallions, and grated cheese, Mini quiches. Quiches can be spinach and bacon, bacon and cheese, broccoli and bacon, or cauliflower, asparagus and caramelized onion. The options and combinations are limitless. Quiches can be made ahead and frozen. For the Lorren Family Reunion, a breakfast menu included cold-brewed iced coffee, angel scones with lavender jelly, cantaloupe with fresh blueberries, and mini-spinach quiches. Build your own sandwich. Set up platters of deli meats, cheeses, breads, and spreads. Watermelon station. Fill a patriotic themed tub with ice and watermelon wedges. Or hollow out a watermelon and add fruit salad. Dessert bar. Offer a sweet spread of red, white, and blue bakery around July 4th and Labor Day. Or provide a spread of homemade treats.

How to host a family reunion, potluck-style

DRINK STATIONS Watering Hole. A big tub of bottled water is a must at any

outdoor event. Lemonade Stand. Provide a cooler of lemonade. Frozen strawberries keep drinks cool. Red and Blue Soda. Fill a large zinc tub with ice and red and blue sodas for a holiday thirst quencher. These ideas from Myscha Theriault, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, in The Frugal Traveler and Pat Parmele in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Missouri

Times of joy


ur reunions and traditions tend to focus on food: what kind of food, who is making the food, should we plan menus or just let it go wild. The big questions: “Is Tom going to barbecue us some nice steaks? Or is Herb going to barbecue brisket for sandwiches? Is there enough food?” As the weekend drew closer, many emails go back and forth, and for the most part they are about food. Who was going to make mom’s brownies, mom’s fudge, and mom’s potato salad with her homemade dressing? What about mom’s homemade lemonade, which goes really well with gin? You would think we were getting together for a week instead of a long weekend. And the only thing I was asked to bring was mom’s fudge pot – which I suspect I will be slaving over at some point that weekend. Since mom and dad passed away, we decided we had to get together regularly, and a reunion every two years seemed to work for everyone. Dad and mom would be happy we get together every two years. Quite surprised, too. So, wish me luck at the reunion and let’s hope the fudge sets despite the humidity. From a story by Ruth Farquhar in the The Sudbury Star, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Banks Hill Outlaw Family Reunion included potluck with grilled meats made onsite.


otlucks are a cost-effective way to engage guests, divide the work and make your reunion a bonding experience. Organize the potluck menu by category (appetizers, mains, sides and desserts) and delegate preparation. Encourage guests to make dishes from popular family recipes. Outline a menu and assign guests specific dishes and quantities. Instead of asking for an appetizer, be specific: ask for 20 deviled eggs. This prevents multiple people from bringing the same item or having too little or too much food. Ask family members on special or restricted diets to prepare food they can eat. Also take the event space into consideration, and let people know in advance if they will have access to a stovetop or oven so they can plan accordingly.

Special diets


y Grocery Master” is an app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that enables people following specialty Kosher, gluten-free and lactose-free diets to find foods they’re looking for at grocery stores near their location. “My Grocery Master” will ask your location, then search by product name or category and review results by product or by store. “My Grocery Master” scans the top 100 grocery store chains in the country that supply online data. Future app updates will include searches for vegan, organic and diabetic diets. ❖ A low annual $4.99 fee Visit F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Food stations

Choosing restaurants


ou can organize a variety of special events in the private rooms of restaurants. Consider the following before signing any agreements.


It is highly recommended that you conduct site visits at all venues under consideration. Look for the following. ❖ Can the room accommodate your group? ❖ Ask about other events scheduled at the venue at the same time. ❖ What is the proximity of restrooms and their ability to handle the group size. MEET THE CHEF.

Ask to taste test the menu during a site visit. The executive chef frequently will join you to discuss your preferences. ASK FOR REFERENCES AND CALL THEM.

Seidemann kids make pizza dough on Saturday morning while adults set up for Sunday’s reunion. The dough and lots of (homemade) toppings are taken to a wood burning oven on the family farm where amazing, hot, fresh pizzas are lunch for the workers and kids who produced the pizzas.



Some newer restaurants don’t have experience in handling large groups. Also be cautious about scheduling at a venue that has been around for many years but hasn’t refreshed their facilities and/or menu. After your site visit and before signing a contract, arrive unannounced to check out facilities. If possible, peek into the room under consideration, especially if another group is there. Scan for setup and flow. Consider the following. ❖ Listen for noise levels and acoustics. ❖ Look at the condition and cleanliness of the floors. ❖ Observe the staff in action. ❖ Step into both men’s and women’s restrooms and check how clean and well maintained they are. From Rob Hard’s Guide to Event Planning

Campers don’t always have to do their own cooking


ost people know they can keep reunion costs down by camping and cooking their own food. But now some campgrounds and RV parks have restaurants. “The campground industry is evolving when it comes to food service,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “Some parks offer coffee and donuts or pancakes in the morning, while others offer hamburgers and hot dogs in the evening. But a handful of campgrounds and RV parks are finding great success with their own onsite restaurants, which offer everything from salmon to comfort foods, like biscuits with gravy and baked chicken.” Kamp Klamath RV Park and Campground in Klamath, California, has won seven regional cooking competitions for its smoked salmon. The Big Foot Grill has a tasty menu with everything from homemade blackberry pancakes with

blackberry syrup to barbecued salmon, chicken and Tex-Mex dishes. They offer “all you can eat” salmon and chicken bonfire barbecues on Saturdays throughout the summer. Sundermeier RV Park in St. Charles, Missouri, near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Trail, has the 92-seat Beef Eaters Restaurant, famous for prime rib and steaks. Mio Pine Acres, Mio, Michigan, features an on-site pizza parlor that draws local residents and campers. At Sagadahoc Bay Campground, Georgetown, Maine, guests can pair freshcooked lobster with clams they’ve caught during the day. Sunset Lakes Resort, Hillsdale, Illinois, offers a full range of comfort food, including burgers, hot dogs, oven-baked chicken, tenderloins, jerked pork, prime rib and steaks, as well as soft-serve ice cream, and handles special menus for large groups, including reunions.

Taylors of Tabernacle Family Reunion


othing tastes as good as when you eat it with people you love, even when that’s 500 of your closest relatives. Taylors of Tabernacle Family Reunion has gathered once a year for 185 years on ancestral land outside Brownsville, Tennessee, for a family reunion and spiritual revival camp meeting. On the property are the church founded by their ancestor, the family cemetery and simply constructed cabins, used for only one week per year. All have one common element: an open-air kitchen. Cooks are hired by descendants of Reverend Howell Taylor. Three sermons a day and three meals a day. “It’s one part revival, one part family tradition, one part family reunion, and a whole lot of food,’ said a cousin. Camp starts the third Friday of July. Kitchens are provisioned by local family members or cooks. Each of the 30 camps on the 11-acre campground bear a family name placard on the front. Sarah Jenks of Memphis sets up and shops for the George and Joe Thornton Camp: 28 dozen eggs, 30 pounds of bacon and sausage, 40 pounds of roast beef for hash, freshly milled graham flour from another camp for muffins, and 21 pounds of coffee just to get breakfast on the table every morning for their crew of about 40. Her father, Rev. Joe Thornton, is a retired United Methodist minister and the president of the Taylors of Tabernacle Camp Meeting Association. Their camp hosts a watermelon and bologna party every night. They slice bologna and cheese and put it out with homemade pickles and a watermelon. Camp meetings were popular in frontier times. Itinerant preachers set up camp, and families came for religious services. Because many traveled long distances, they camped and stayed several days for revival. The Taylor gathering is unusual because it’s all family and because of the historical significance of the land. Family records are meticulously maintained, including weddings, births, baptisms and deaths, and a heritage tour conducted each year includes a visit to the cemetery. Most of the food is Southern home cooking. This year there were pork loins in a bourbon peach sauce for the camp, which broke the rule of no alcohol on camp. Even with a minister in the family, one is hired to conduct services for the week. Cooks are hired so family can spend time together without too many chores. Many cooks are descendants of previous cooks. They plan meals together, and a service of Thanksgiving is held to show appreciation and to honor them. From a story by Jennifer Biggs in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee

Family feeds the hungry in lieu of gifts


elen Johnson (88) and her large, extended family decided to forgo Christmas presents and instead to have a dinner for the needy at the Church of the 49ers in Columbia, California. At their annual June family reunion, they proposed the idea to everyone, then voted on Thanksgiving Day. There were no dissenters. The money normally spent on presents would go toward food and supplies to feed over 100 people in Tuolumne County. Though it sounds daunting, Johnson spearheads a dinner of that size every Monday night at her church. She and a team of eight volunteers staff an industrial-size kitchen to create huge dinners and to-go meals for people who need nourishment or simply companionship. After the family decision, Johnson looked for good buys and amassed food for the dinner. She did the buying because of her shopping savvy and experience in planning menus that appeal to a diverse crowd. The menu consisted of pulled pork and gravy on hot hamburger rolls, a vegetable, salad, garlic bread, dessert and a beverage. From a story by Ashley Archibald in The Union Democrat, Columbia, California

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S




You just read lots about food at reunions, now we offer some ideas for saving money on food for your reunion. KNOW WHO (AND HOW MANY) YOU’RE FEEDING


❖ When it comes to food, know what your members need and expect, so that you know what you can do without and avoid spending precious reunion dollars on items that are not important. Learn food preferences and appetite sizes; are your attendees mostly men or mostly women? Track what is consumed and use that information to plan food for your next reunion (but remember that youngsters at your reunion are growing). ❖ Have an accurate head count. This is a major reunion planner frustration, but true, nonetheless! But try! You’ll cut waste by knowing how many people will actually attend each food function.

❖ A restaurant with a private dining room may be an alternative to dining in a hotel meeting room. Consider unique venues, museums, historic landmarks and parks. ❖ Buffets sometimes shave food and beverage (F&B) costs but can still be classy enough for even a black-tie event with assigned banquet seating. ❖ One way to save is to piggyback events. One planner chose the same menu that had been selected by another event the same day and got a better price for food. Ask what other groups will be meeting (and eating) at the same time as yours.


❖ Food and beverage costs are always negotiable. Do not base decisions on published prices on the food and beverage menu. If you can spend $17 per person for a meal, ask for $15. ❖ It’s crucial to read the fine print on food and beverage contracts and charges. For example, if the wholesale price of food goes up, your costs may increase; if that’s specified in the contract you signed, there’s nothing you can do about it. HAPPY HOUR

❖ Shorten the cocktail hour to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Or substitute afternoon tea for a cocktail reception. ❖ Offer sparkling water or champagne when people arrive. ❖ Serve beer and wine rather than hard liquor. ❖ Tell bartenders to do three-ounce pours instead of the traditional four. Cocktail party guests often leave their glasses somewhere after drinking half, so there’s no need for bartenders to fill it to the brim. ❖ Think twice before cutting back on all beverage costs. For example, if your group knows and appreciates good wine, you don’t want to skimp on it. DOING IT YOURSELF?

❖ Order in bulk to save lots of money. Order food by the dozen, beverages by the gallon. Avoid food and beverages in individual packages or containers, as they cost more. SEPARATE EVENTS

❖ Consider charging for events separately, rather than including all special events in a total registration price. You will have a more accurate count. People who pay separately will likely show up. 40



❖ Do your food shopping in local markets. It’s a great way to learn about local foods and ingredients and how to prepare them, and to meet local residents. ❖ Take several Ziplock bags of varying sizes to store bread and dry food. In France, make a to-die-for baguette sandwich with any of hundreds of cheeses, then stuff it into a large bag for train travel. If you’re visiting Spain, a cheap and delicious dinner of tapas may come free with sangria during happy hour. Most stores in Arab countries offer coffee just for stepping across their threshold! SAVINGS ONLINE

❖ Kids eat for free – or at a discount – at dozens of chain restaurants. Check ahead. Kids must be under a certain age, or you must order from special menus at specified times; check and ❖ Menus online. Find restaurant dining bargains online. Many chains and local spots post menus on their own sites, or if you’re in a major city, check or ❖ Save on groceries. Visit and to compare prices in supermarkets by product, category, or store. You must register to use the sites, but they’re free. ❖ So much free for your reunion online! Remember that has so many free offers, plus leads to so much more that’s free: pages and pages of freebies from Reunions magazine and from many other sources as well. It’s information overload if you try to read from front to back, so the webpage is organized to hit the major questions and dilemmas that come up as you plan your reunion. If you’ve been planning a reunion forever and you’re looking for some fresh ideas, they’re there too.

Let them eat cake! Like cakes for birthdays and other special occasions, cakes for reunions are also popular. These are some examples.


osebeary Family Reunion has a long tradition to celebrate. Picture shared by Brenda Higgs, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

T he Neal Family Reunion cake was a feature at their gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was dessert for the Saturday picnic held at New Orleans’ City Park. The cake displays wording from that year’s reunion theme, Restored, Empowered, Renewed! Picture shared by Carole Neal, Castro Valley, California.

his “wedding anniversary cake” served at the Knapp/Napp Family Reunion in Beetown, Wisconsin, commemorated the 180th wedding anniversary of Conrad and Maria Napp. Pictured are the eldest and youngest at the reunion, Virginia Bartlett Blumer (86) holding Lydia Engelhart (6 months). Picture shared by Mary Thiele Fobian, Pacific Grove, California.




or their 40th anniversary reunion, the ALAFFFA Family Reunion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, presented a blank cake and everyone added their autographs! Picture shared by Lisa Alzo, Ithaca, New York.

he 11th Brown Family Reunion was at home in Mobile, Alabama. The eldest member in attendance, Rosie Brewer (80), was served the first slice. Picture shared by Roxie Branch, Charlotte, North Carolina.

WEB PAGE: CALL: 414.263.4567 FAX: 414.263.6331 E-MAIL: WRITE: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727 F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



USS Eugene A. Greene meets near Philadelphia


egistration for the 10th USS Greene (DD/DDr-711) Association Reunion in Essington, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia), began on Wednesday, with an open hospitality room hosted by Jack and Linda Plasterer. Seventy-two registered. On Thursday tours began with a visit to the Battleship New Jersey, lunch at Reading Terminal Market and a tour of Philadelphia with stops at the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Christ Church. Friday they toured Longwood Gardens and Valley Forge National Park. In the evening Zac and Carol Zacamy presented a Philadelphia Mummers String Band to entertain. Saturday started with a business meeting, where it was decided to hold the next reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September 2013, Glenn and Laverne Herman hosting.

Members voted to make donations to US Navy Memorial Association, Tin Can Sailors and Gold Star Mothers. The Saturday Banquet began with a sing-along accompanied by Bob Clark at the piano. Rick Roy herded guests for a group picture. After dinner Martin Deeney presented a moving US Navy slide show. The banquet concluded with an opportunity raffle, where tickets were sold for $1 each, 7 for $5, for items donated by reunion members (wood crafts, paintings, naval items, food baskets, knit throws). There were many lucky winners. Sunday was the conclusion of the reunion and a collection of memories to take home. All are looking forward the 2013 Reunion. Reported by Robert J. Clark, Louisville, Kentucky

USS Eugene A Greene reunion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Legacy groups keeping veterans’ war stories alive


dwin Ruh, Jr., Bay Head, New Jersey, knew little about his father’s service in World War II, except that his father, who never talked about the war, had been in the Army. About 12 years ago, Ruh began driving his parents to reunions of the 87th Infantry Division Association. He picked up bits and pieces of their courage and bravery and what it was like during the war. Reunions are kept going by children and grandchildren of the veterans who formed the 87th Infantry Division Legacy Association to keep their fathers’ stories alive. A Norfolk, Virginia, event planner said her company works with several “legacy” or “next generation” groups made up of veterans’ children who take over reunion planning when their parents no longer can. A lot of veterans’ children have been bringing them to reunions for years, so for the kids to keep it going isn’t much of a stretch. They want to make sure their parents are able to

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continue that experience as long as they can travel. At most of the reunions, family members outnumber veterans. This year’s 87th Infantry reunion was the third planned by the legacy group. Although his father died four years ago, Ruh, a legacy association board member, and his mother, Elizabeth Ruh, continue to attend reunions. One veteran said, “One of the marvelous parts about this is that there are sons and daughters who come whose fathers are already gone. They are meeting their fathers’ old war buddies and learning stories about their fathers they never knew.” Last year, veterans of the National Timberwolf Association, which represents the 104th Infantry Division in World War II, said it would be their last. As young men, they saw more combat in the European Theater than any other division and liberated a Nazi death camp. As old men, they were too worn out to organize a party. Their children did not want it to end. For years, the children attended the reunions with their parents and were known as the National Timberwolf Pups Association. From a story by Jennifer Reeger in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


College of the Ozarks Patriotic Education Travel Program a powerful opportunity n 2009, College of the Ozarks, and life-challenging Point Lookout, Missouri (near experience for students Branson), began their Patriotic learn volumes of who Education Travel Program, to history firsthand from provide once-in-a-lifetime participants and grow to experiences for students and love and appreciate them World War II veterans. as well. Participating The program pairs College of students return with the Ozarks students with WWII renewed respect for veterans for visits to battlefields veterans and where the veterans fought. While Patriotic Education celebrates dramatically increased honoring veterans, the program real heroes. love for their country. helps educate the younger Travel destinations include England, generation to instill an appreciation for France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the sacrifices of American soldiers. Germany to visit sites from D-Day, The rich educational journey provides


Real generation connection! World War II veterans and their student co-travelers.

Veteran John Cipolla and his student Cherah Higgs on Patriotic Education trip to the Normandy Beaches of France.

Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and Tokyo, Japan, in the Pacific Theatre. Students are selected from a pool of applicants who submit essays defining their desire to learn from the veterans. The highly competitive process produces student-veteran pairings who share a bond between two very different generations that is cherished by both. The Patriotic Education Travel Program is funded completely by College of the Ozarks and generous donors. Students and veterans travel at no personal cost. For information about participation or to support of the Patriotic Education Travel Program, contact the Character Education Office at 417-690-2276;

USS The Sullivans reunite in Iowa


he Sullivan brothers – George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert – all died when USS Juneau was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. It was against Navy policy to assign brothers to the same ship, but officials had relented when the brothers insisted upon serving together. Two ships were later named USS The Sullivans. Veterans who served aboard them returned to the brothers’ hometown, Waterloo, Iowa, to reminisce about their service and to remember those they’ve lost. The association is made up of crews from both Navy ships named for the brothers. The first USS The Sullivans was launched in 1943 and decommissioned in 1965, and is now part of a



naval and military park in Buffalo, New York. The second ship, launched in 1995, is part of the Atlantic Fleet. Veterans and their spouses gathered at Sullivan Park. A bell rang 54 times to mark the passing of each association member who died since the last reunion. Two World War II veterans raised an American flag that had flown on both of the Sullivan ships. The veterans visited Calvary Cemetery and laid flowers on the graves of the Sullivan brothers’ parents and sister, and visited the neighborhood where the family lived. From a story in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois

101st Airborne Association does more than reunions


he 101st Airborne Division Association saw the writing on the wall. They read it, got it, and acted on it. In order to remain viable in an age of new realities, the Association became a link between the Screaming Eagle past and the division’s future. How it accomplished the building of that bridge can be read in the numbers of charitable donations made to soldier causes. In 2001, the Association gave $4,000 in scholarships to four students. The next year, it added a Screaming Eagle Support Fund and the charitable outlay increased to $36,000. It increased nearly every year from that point, breaking the $100,000 mark in 2005, and topping $200,000 in 2011. The catalyst was September 11, 2001.

As the Association sent needed items to troops in the fight, and increased aid to individual soldiers and families, it also began ramping up the Screaming Eagle Support Fund to assist the Armed Services YMCA, the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program and the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). Rather than create programs redundant with support already provided by other groups or agencies, the goal was to fill in gaps in the existing programs. The Association has almost 9,000 members in chapters around the country. This year the Association celebrated its 66th anniversary. From a story by Philip Grey, Military affairs reporter, at Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, Clarksville, Tennessee

Historic photo collection at


etFriends military photo collection is a tribute to all US military heroes and is made up of thousands of authentic military photos at All photos were submitted by US veterans, active military, family and friends – with photos from pre-World War I to Korea, Vietnam, Iraqi Freedom, and the present. Visitors can search for images by specific military branch, year, war, state and country. Each picture contains background

information along with a message and/or description. To honor loved ones who served, post their photos in the VetFriends Collection. All photos, both color and black and white, can be uploaded free at Pics/image_upload.cfm, where they are then edited, re-sized, approved for content and posted live for the world to see. Contact Maynard Anderson, 843-352-4926;

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



VMRP (Volunteer Military Reunion Planners)


MRP (Volunteer Military Reunion Planners) is a web forum for all interested VMRP and vendors who meet the needs of Planners. Membership is voluntary, free and available to all VMRP who are interested in sharing experiences from past reunions and ideas for making future reunions better. And vendors assistance with reunion planning. Founders, webmasters and moderators of VMRP are Dave Blake, Reunion Planner (Coordinator) for the 461st Bombardment Group (H) (; Don Kelby, Executive Director for the National 4th Infantry (IVY) Division Association (; and Lowell (Woody) Woodworth, Webmaster and Reunion Planner for USAF Radar Station Veterans Worldwide ( The VMRP website is provided free by Yahoo Groups and maintained by these volunteers. The moderators say, “We have no idea how many years of reunion planning experience might be represented within our membership, but we know there are many more than one might expect. The ability for a new reunion planner to have access to these many years of experience, by simply asking questions via the VMRP message board, is invaluable. And simple monitoring of the message board, even for the experienced reunion planner, can be a valuable learning experience.”

To join, open, click on “JOIN THIS GROUP.” When you turn your reunion over to a new “younger” person, WMRP is a place to ask questions and learn about planning seminars. To post a message, click Join today! Here’s a post from VMRP Digest on yahoo! Reunion photographer (Eastern US) Good photography (summarized to fit our space) Bob Good, a retired military photographer, provides photo coverage to military reunions in the eastern US within a one-day drive from Ohio. He comes to your reunion and photographs the banquet/dinner, hospitality room/history displays, groups, and portraits of attendees and some same day tours. Pictures are placed on their website and after a short online sales period, a free DVD with all picture files is sent for your history files. They also produce a memory book. Because there is no fee for Good’s photography services, the sale of memory book and pictures are their only profit.



sk the hotel for a room with a riser and chairs, for a group photo. There is normally no charge for this request. With this set-up, your group photo will be of exceptional quality. This is an example of this advice taken by the USS Canopus Reunion in Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York. Contact Bob Good, USAF Ret, Robert Good Photography, Circleville, Ohio; 740-412-7461;

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Heroes of World War II, Korean War reunite


he surviving members of the 43rd Infantry Division assembled for their 65th annual reunion in Hartford, Connecticut. Friday evening attendees were treated to a barbershop quartet performance and slideshow composed partly of pictures from the Pacific Theater in World War II and from Germany in 1950. The 43rd – known best for its efforts in World War II and Korea – also was redeployed to Germany during the Marshall Plan era. The 43rd’s National Commander, Colonel William Coffey, explained that the 43rd has the distinction of being the only American infantry division to hold occupation status in Japan during the war and in Germany afterward. Saturday’s events included a memorial service honoring those who passed away since the last reunion. A members meeting grappled with the possibility of dissolution or discontinuation of reunions, due to declining attendance.

Members also heard details about a planned monument in Veterans Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut. The 43rd contained units from Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island, but was based out of Hartford. Local ancestor units fought in the Revolutionary War. Local descendant units serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Association accepts children of members of the 43rd. A second slide presentation was from the son of a deceased father who belonged to the 43rd. Slides included images from both his father’s time in Korea and his own pilgrimage many years later to the site of his dad’s service. The reunion then culminated with a banquet, during which donated items were raffled; proceeds support the Association. From a story by Jeffrey Gebeau in the Stamford Patch, Stamford, Connecticut

Missouri veterans’ stories to be archived for the public


he Missouri Veterans History Project, operated by volunteers, wants to record veterans who have a story to tell, and some who think they don’t. On Veterans Day, they conducted 30-minute taped interviews of as many Missouri

Veterans as they could line up. The interviews will be archived for future generations at The State Historical Society and the Library of Congress. Veterans who want to share their stories, or volunteer to be an interviewer

or organize a community effort, contact the Missouri Veterans History Project, 573-522-4220. From a story reported by Kathleen Berger on KSDK, St. Louis, Missouri

Podcasts on reunion planning topics.

Listen online –

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



Welcome to Reunion Resources! We encourage you to tell the listings you contact that you learned about them from REUNIONS MAGAZINE. And if at any time you find any info that is inaccurate or e-mail or web links do not work, notify us immediately at; PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. And by all means, feel free to comment and/or suggest changes and additions you’d like to see in this section. REUNIONS MAGAZINE will not be held liable for information presented as facts in these ads. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication.

NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE™ RESORT Nestled in the mountains and minutes to North Lake Tahoe, families can enjoy a multitude of on-site activities which makes staying and playing at Northstar affordable, easy and fun for the whole family. On-site activities include golf, biking, hiking, and skating as well as events, dining, and shopping in the Village at Northstar. The resort offers a variety of lodging accommodations, starting at $105 per night. All-inclusive family reunion packages make planning effortless; starting at $249 per person including two nights lodging, meals, and activities. 800-926-5096;;





for the perfect family reunion destination easier! FREE FAMILY REUNION DESTINATION LOCATION SERVICE: and click on “EMAIL US your Request for Group Accommodations.” We will then send your requirements to Cabins, Vacation Homes, Lodges, Motels, Condo’s, B&B’s, and Campgrounds that can accommodate your desires; each one will email you directly with additional information. OR download our free Colorado Vacation Directory to compare reunion locations, which includes Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do.

Let Embassy Suites plan your next reunion! Maximize your stay with family and friends at any of our 213 properties, where spacious two-room suites, free cookedto-order breakfast, and complimentary beverages each evening make for a perfect reunion. With online booking tools available, we make it easy for you to plan your next event. Visit or call 1-800EMBASSY. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

ALABAMA GREATER BIRMINGHAM CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 2200 Ninth Avenue North, Birmingham AL 35203 Birmingham is becoming one of the most celebrated reunion cities in the southeast. There are lots of details to see to – good planning is hard work. The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau is here to help. For more information regarding reunion services, please contact the Convention Bureau at 205-458-8000 or 800-458-8085; fax 205-458-8086;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

CALIFORNIA BALBOA INN “The Resort” Located On The Sand 105 Main Street, Newport Beach CA 92661. Imagine having an intimate reunion, with the Pacific Ocean right at your doorstep. Dream no longer! The Balboa Inn offers unsurpassed excellence for creating a unique destination, and a fabulous location for all reunions. With 45 guestrooms, including 20 ocean view suites we offer a range of accommodations perfectly suited for your lodging needs. 877-BALBOA-9; 949-675-3412; fax 949673-4587;;

COLORADO TRAILS RANCH 12161 Country Road 240, Durango, Colorado 81301; 1-800-323-3833;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

YMCA OF THE ROCKIES has two Colorado resort destinations-Estes Park and Winter Park-where your family can reconnect, relax and enjoy group activities. A variety of affordable lodging is available, from individual lodge rooms to a 16-bedroom cabin. Activities include zip line, horseback riding and guided hikes. 800-7779622 or SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

GATEWAY CANYONS RESORT Nested in the majestic red rocks canyons of Western Colorado. The perfect destination for your special gathering. Offering 58 beautiful rooms, 3 restaurant choices, an event center, a world-class auto museum, full service spa, horseback riding, scenic air tours, and plenty of adventures for all. Explore and discover a place where curiosity comes to play. PO Box 339, 43200 Hwy 141 CO 81522; 866-671-4733; fax 970-931-2823;;

PALM SPRINGS VISITOR CENTER Palm Springs, California guarantees blue skies and sunshine for your reunion. A collection of new hotels, boutique inns, and vacation home and condo rentals are available to host large and small groups. Visitors the world over are lured to Palm Springs for its storied Hollywood legacy, Native American heritage and stellar collection of mid-century modern architecture. Palm Springs is less than 2 hours from Los Angeles or San Diego. The Palm Springs International Airport offers direct flights from major cities all across the U.S. and Canada. Palm Springs. Like no place else. 2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs CA 92262. 800-347-7446; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

HOLIDAY INN SAN DIEGO BAYSIDE 4875 N Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92106 Host your reunion at the beautiful Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside across from San Diego Bay. Our experienced staff will assist you in creating a very special event. Complimentary hospitality suite and special reunion rates. Beautiful guest rooms, heated pool, spa, shuffleboard, ping-pong and billiards, exercise room, family restaurant and cocktail lounge, free pkg, in-room movies, coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers. 619224-3621, 800-650-6660; fax 619-224-1787;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! 48


C LAZY U RANCH PO Box 379, Granby CO 80446; 1-970-887-3344; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

SYLVAN DALE GUEST RANCH 2939 N County Road 31D, Loveland CO 80538; 1-877667-3999;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

SUNDANCE TRAIL GUEST RANCH 17931 Red Feather Lakes Road, Red Feather Lakes CO 80545, 800-357-4930;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

LOST VALLEY RANCH 29555 Goose Creek Road, Sedalia CO 80135; 1-303647-2311;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NORTH FORK RANCH PO Box B, 55395 Hwy 285, Shawnee CO 80475; 1-800-843-7895;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

FLORIDA THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL 2201 Second St., Suite 600, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Share a tradition of timeless beauty and endless opportunity for togetherness. Whether on the pristine sands of beautiful beaches, the glistening waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or in countless charming towns, your family comes together when you get away here. To begin planning your reunion, visit for more information. TELEPHONE: 239-338-3500; U.S. & Canada: 800-237-6444; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

STAR ISLAND RESORT & CLUB 5000 Avenue of the Stars, Kissimmee FL 34746. Located just 4 miles to Walt Disney Theme Parks, our Mediterranean styled Resort & Spa offers spacious mini suites, 1 & 3 bedroom Villas with kitchenette, full kitchens with all the comforts of home. Enjoy tennis, basketball, pools & putting green, Jet Ski & paddleboat rentals, children’s activities, BBQ grills, indoor & outdoor function space available to rent. Group rates for 5 or more units. For group reservations call 800-789-0715 and mention Reunions Magazine when calling. We look forward to hosting your reunion;

ROYAL PLAZA in the Walt Disney World® Resort 1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd, Lake Buena Vista FL 32830. A 394-room resort hotel with 18,500 square feet of meeting space able to accommodate up to 1000 people, which includes two ballrooms and a 5,000 square foot outside courtyard. Our versatile event venues and fullservice Award Winning Convention Services Department will help you plan your event right down to the last detail and make your event a resounding success! Contact Allan Bester 407-827-3155 or;

FLORIDAYS RESORT ORLANDO 12562 International Drive, Orlando FL 32821 Located just two miles from SeaWorld and Disney on International Drive, offers spacious two-and-three bedroom Grand Suites, with room for everyone. The free shuttle to the attractions and the I-Drive trolley makes it easy to get around town. With two heated swimming pools, game room, fitness center, and poolside bar and grille, you’ll want to spend quality family time right here at the resort. 321-329-4024; fax 321-329-4001;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

GEORGIA ATLANTA PERIMETER HOTEL & SUITES 111 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta GA 30346 Find sanctuary in 121 deluxe guest rooms and 154 fantastic suites complete with the W Signature Bed, Bliss™ Sinkside Six amenities and balconies in all rooms. Suites feature a full kitchen. Free shuttle service within a 3-mile radius, which includes Perimeter Mall and MARTA stations. Banquet spaces with full catering available. For reservations, call 770-396-6800; fax 770394-4805;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

CROWNE PLAZA ATLANTA PERIMETER at RAVINIA 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346 Located in Central Perimeter area nestled on a 45 acre park, with waterfalls, terraced gardens, facilities for gatherings of 10 to 1,000. 495 guestrooms, 33 spacious suites. Featuring a three story greenhouse atrium lobby, fitness center, indoor pool with sundeck. Across from the Perimeter Mall. Free shuttle to area restaurants, parks and MARTA station for downtown attractions. Visit or call 770-395-7700. Mention this listing for 10 % off reunion banquet pricing. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES EMBASSY SUITES ATLANTA PERIMETER CENTER 1030 Crown Pointe Pkwy, Atlanta GA 30338. 770-394-5454. All suite, upscale, renovated hotel located in beautiful Dunwoody, just steps away from Perimeter Mall, Perimeter Shoppes and more than 30 area restaurants/dining facilities. Hotel features complimentary amenities such as: cooked-to-order breakfast, Manager’s Reception, area shuttle, parking deck, indoor pool/sun deck, Precor fitness center and business center. Hotel offers an onsite restaurant with Starbucks cafe, meeting space and wireless internet throughout. Flat screen TV’s in all suites. Easy access to downtown via MARTA. Hilton Family Hotels. Book us at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

ATLANTA MARRIOTT PERIMETER CENTER 246 Perimeter Center Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA 30346 The Hotel is located adjacent to Perimeter Mall and the Dunwoody MARTA station offering easy access to all city attractions. Amenities include onsite restaurant and lounge, room service, indoor/outdoor swimming pool, meeting and banquet space for up to 350 people and complimentary hotel shuttle within a 2 mile radius. Ask about our special reunions packages. Call 770 394-6500 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

STAYBRIDGE SUITES PERIMETER CENTER EAST 4601 Ridgeview Road, Atlanta-Dunwoody GA 30338 Staybridge Suites is an All-Suite Hotel and offers a premier location in the Dunwoody – Perimeter Area within walking distance to some of the best Restaurants and Shops Atlanta has to offer. Minutes away from attractions like Stone Mountain, Six Flags, Zoo Atlanta, Hartsfield Airport and the Georgia Dome. Fantastic amenities like Free Full Breakfast, Free Shuttle within a 3-Mile Radius, Free Internet, Free On-Site Fitness Center and Guest Laundry! 678-320-0111; Fax: 678320-0250; Reservations:; Website: SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

DOUGLASVILLE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU With a great location near Atlanta and over 1,800 hotel rooms why not choose Douglasville, Georgia! For details on complimentary services, including welcome bags and name badges, contact the Douglasville CVB today and let us help plan your next reunion. For more information call us at 1-800-661-0013 or email us at

CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU OF DUNWOODY, GA Just 10 minutes outside Atlanta in DeKalb County, Dunwoody is the best location for your next reunion. Minutes away from Stone Mountain Park, Georgia Aquarium, the MLK Center and more! Home to five excellent hotels with tons of meeting space and all within walking distance to Perimeter Mall and shuttle services to MARTA! Call today to plan your reunion: 678-2449800 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

IOWA WATERLOO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 500 Jefferson Street, Waterloo, IA 50701. Visit Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, Historic Veterans Memorial, and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. Meeting facilities up to 2,000 people. Family attractions – Lost Island Water Park, Phelps Youth Pavilion, and Bluedorn Science Imaginarium. Info: 800728-8431;;

MARYLAND BETHESDA NORTH MARRIOTT HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-8229200; fax 301-822-9201;

MICHIGAN THE BENZIE COUNTY VISITORS BUREAU “The Most Beautiful Place In America” Located along Michigan’s northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula, the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and serenely positioned on Lake Michigan. Benzie County is an optimal location for your reunion, wedding, meeting or event. Facilities to fit nearly every need from world class resorts to private homes and cottages on our pristine lakes, rivers, and woods or call 800-882-5801.

MINNESOTA WORRY-FREE REUNIONS AT CRAGUN’S RESORT 11000 Craguns Dr, Brainerd MN 56401: 800-CRAGUNS (272-4867). Since 1940 Cragun’s has taken pride in creating memorable’s why: 1) trained coordinator will help plan it all, 2) arrival “Welcome” and registration areas with planned activity agendas, 3) activities including golf outings, lake cruises, picnics, fishing contests, horse drawn trolley rides and more, 4) indoor facilities to ensure you a “weather-proof” reunion, 5) private gathering areas, 6) special celebration meals, 7) professional group photos, 8) and best of all, enjoy a safe, secure friendly environment. Come to Cragun’s for your reunion. Named “One of MN’s ideal locations to hold a Reunion.” by AAA. Call for FREE Reunion Planning Packet or visit:

Located just minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip, directly across from The Rio and The Palms. This friendly resort personifies all that is best about Las Vegas and features 712 rooms and suites, 30,000 square feet of conference space, full-service casino, five restaurants, showroom/lounge, 70-lane bowling center, race/sports book, a poolside fitness center, and shuttle service to the heart of The Strip. 4000 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103; 702-251-3560; 800-331-5334 x 400; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

SOUTHERN NEVADA REGIONAL OFFICE Located just 90 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin is an amazing spot to host family gatherings, reunions and getaways no matter what the size. Laughlin offers casual to fine dining as well as concerts, shows, activities and events for every age. And the Colorado River provides a great backdrop for your group photos. To contact the Laughlin sales staff call 1-877-685-2845 or go to SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

ATLANTIS CASINO RESORT SPA RENO 3800 S Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502 Atlantis is Reno’s Newest Hot Spot for Reunions! Atlantis boast 50,000 SF of flexible meeting space. Stay in Reno’s newest resort rooms, featuring pillow-top mattresses and 42” HDTV’s. Dine in eight distinct award-winning restaurants. The Atlantis Steakhouse proudly serves Allen Brothers USDA Prime steaks. Network at the ten captivating bars and lounges. Escape to Spa Atlantis winner of Spa Finder “Readers’ Choice” award! Sales Department 800.994.5900;,

GRAND SIERRA RESORT AND CASINO is just five short minutes from the Reno/Tahoe International Airport and just 45 minutes from majestic Lake Tahoe. With 2,000 rooms and suites, a full service casino, 10 distinct restaurants, an 1,800-seat theater with headlining entertainment, branded retail shops, a cinema, a 50-lane championship bowling center, outdoor thrill rides, aqua golf driving range, and Fun Quest Family Fun Center, you’ll never run out of fun and exciting things to do. 2500 E. Second St., Reno, NV, 89595 – 866.473.6672 – SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!





Located in America’s heartland, Branson, Missouri is the perfect destination for your next reunion because we offer so many choices of live music shows and family entertainment, lodging, attractions, dining and more. Remember, in Branson, our value is unrivaled, our scenery breathtaking and our authentic Ozarks hospitality inviting. Call us toll-free at 800-214-3661; 417-243-2117 or visit our website at and request a Reunion Planner Sales kit.




127 North Main Street, Jonesboro GA 30326 678-610-4242;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

34035 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway MT 59730: 1-800-995-4237;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!





Located halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. Lake County’s natural spaces and fun places are the perfect place for your next reunion. Our world-class attractions and more than 60 lodging properties, including three resorts, will make your next reunion a resounding success. For free Reunion Planning Assistance call or email us with your reunion planning questions to; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

Enjoy an oasis of 16 lushly landscaped acres, 3 sparkling pools, 4 unique suites to suit your style and a rooftop Terrance (with views of The Strip) for parties. With 495 suites and 50,000 square feet of conference space our friendly staff can take care of a reunion of any size! Alexis Park is located across the street from the world famous Hard Rock Hotel, one mile from The Strip and McCarran International Airport. 375 E Harmon Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89169. Contact Chris Chapman, 702796-3395 or 800-582-2228;

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265 West Ninth Street Ship Bottom NJ 08005 Enjoy 18 miles of sugar sand beaches, historic towns, family entertainment, live theater, world famous Pine Barrens, charming shops, first class dining and comfortable accommodations. Easily accessible from Garden State Parkway. Family is part of our tradition, let us be part of yours! or 800 292 6372. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NORTH CAROLINA CABARRUS COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU DON’T MISS IT!! Free Registration! Family Reunion Boot Camp, Concord. NC. April 14, 2012. Sponsored by the Cabarrus County CVB. Guest Speakers, Panel Discussions, Complimentary Family Reunion Planning Guide, Lunch,Vendor Show and giveaways! First 80 planners will receive a gift. Two registrants per family please. Contact Vicki Baptista 704-456-7970 or 10099 Weddington Rd Suite 102 Concord,NC. 28027. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

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CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES WILMINGTON, NC HISTORIC RIVER DISTRICT & ISLAND BEACHES From our historic riverfront city to the pristine shores of beautiful island beaches, you’ll find us to be an extraordinary destination. You can let us know what kind of adventure you have in mind, or we can suggest some themes that’ll please the most particular travelers. We’ll even create a customized itinerary matched to your exact specifications so that your guests will gladly follow you anywhere. Call 800-650-9064 or visit

OHIO EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS 800-354-2657, Columbus is ranked one of the top value destinations in the country. With four downtown entertainment districts, annual festivals, the #1 rated Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, and an array of outdoor parks to choose from, you won’t want to have your family reunion anywhere else. Planning a reunion in Columbus is easy. And we’re here to help. Plus, all of our services are free. We will assist you with finding hotels, local attractions and more. And when the time comes, we’ll provide you with Visitors Guides, Visitor Maps, plastic bags and pens. Contact Brian Cheek at 614-222-6136 or SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

DUBLIN OHIO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 9 S. High Street, Dublin OH 43017. Dublin is located in Central Ohio and is home to the PGA Memorial Tournament and one of the largest Irish Festivals in the world. Experience our European settings, impeccable golf courses and charming Historic District. With the closest hotels to the #1 Zoo in America-The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a safe suburban setting, free parking, and 46 accredited parks, Dublin makes a fun and affordable reunion destination. Learn about our 22 custom experiences. Contact Allison Potter:; 1-800-245-8387; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

PENNSYLVANIA VALLEY FORGE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 1000 First Avenue, Suite 101, King of Prussia PA 19406. Still the best place to meet - Valley Forge. Washington’s famous encampment site is just 18 miles from Philadelphia and offers more than 60 hotels, 11 conference centers and reunion-friendly hotels with complimentary hospitality rooms and free parking. Destination features world-class shopping at the nation’s largest shopping mall, King of Prussia, as well as premium dining and entertainment on its many quaint Main Streets. Contact Courtney Pozo, Convention Sales Manager: 610-834-7971 or 800-441-3549; Fax: 610834-0202; or visit

DOUBLETREE SUITES 640 Fountain Road, Plymouth Meeting PA 19462. Located in Plymouth Meeting, a beautiful suburb of Philadelphia, the DoubleTree Suites is an all-suite property that specializes in military, family, and class reunions alike! 8,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space for you to relax and reminisce with family and friends. Also offering an in-house restaurant, lounge, indoor pool, and fitness center! 610-879-4147; fax 610-879-4242;;

SOUTH CAROLINA SEA MIST OCEANFRONT RESORT - MYRTLE BEACH SC 1200 South Ocean Blvd., 29577 REUNIONS MADE EASY! Specializing in reunions from military to family at the most affordable rates in Myrtle Beach. Sea Mist’s premier oceanfront location is near shopping, theaters and golf courses. Over 600 of our 800 units have been completely remodeled, restaurants, miniature golf, 10 pools, Jacuzzis, fitness room, 17,000sq.ft. of versatile meeting space and much more! 800-200-8687;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



3200 South Ocean Blvd. Myrtle Beach SC 29577 This popular, oceanfront resort is close to the airport and Myrtle Beach’s popular attractions! With nearly 500 flexible oceanview rooms & suites, pools, lazy rivers, 2 onsite restaurants and catering, plenty of indoor & outdoor event spaces, 18 hole mini-golf course, game arcade, fitness center, free wi-fi and a 1068 ft fishing pier, there’s so much to do! Contact Sharon Kemerer;; 843-315-7173 or 800770-7198;

Enjoy everything that Northern Virginia has to offer. From the monuments and memorials of nearby Washington, DC to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Fairfax County is an ideal location for your military or family reunion. Call us at 703-790-0643 or visit our website today at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

TENNESSEE CHATTANOOGA AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU We are ready to host your next family or military reunion. Our Staff works closely with the hotels, attractions, tour companies and you to provide exactly what you need to have a great reunion. Contact Christina Petro at 800964-8600 ext. 3017 or by e-mail at for free help planning your next reunion! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE We’re a gold mine for reunions. Need attractions? Try Dollywood, Titanic Pigeon Forge, Zorb and the actionpacked Parkway. Want nature? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is next-door. Want entertainment? More than a dozen theaters await you. Hungry? We’ll feed you well. Details: 1-800-285-7557 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

TEXAS PLANO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Located just minutes from Dallas, Plano is the perfect place to stay. You will find unique and entertaining attractions, a multitude of restaurants for every taste and style, and all the shopping you could ever want, as well as a variety of hotel and lodging offerings. Let Kay at the Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau assist you in all your travel planning needs.; 800-81PLANO; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

UTAH PARK CITY LODGING, INC. represents over 150 vacation rentals throughout Park City’s three world-class resort areas: Park City, Deer Valley and Canyons. Choose from a large variety of accommodations, ideally suited for your reunion, wedding or special event. Our knowledgeable staff is here to assist you in creating a memorable family experience in the mountains of Park City, Utah. Call 855-263-7793;; Let our knowledgeable staff assist you in creating a memorable mountain experience.

VIRGINIA CRYSTAL CITY MARRIOTT AT REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington VA 22202, 703-413-5500; fax 703-413-0192;

CHESAPEAKE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU 860 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 101 Chesapeake VA 23320. Can you hear it? That voice inside, beckoning you to get together. Reconnect with friends, families and memories. The refuge, the waterways, the beach – so close you can enjoy them all. For more information on planning a family or military reunion in Chesapeake, VA, call 888.889.5551 or go to

WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT MARRIOTT 45020 Aviation Drive, Dulles VA 20166, 703-471-9500; fax 703-661-8714;

NEWPORT NEWS Get closer to ships, history and the great outdoors with one central destination in Newport News. All this, plus Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. Whether getting together with old classmates, shipmates or “familymates,” Newport News provides the perfect location and services to make your reunion a success! With outstanding services and support, the best value and plenty to see and do, Newport News will make your next reunion a memorable one. Call Cheryl Morales at 888-493-7386 or email her at to book your reunion.

VisitNorfolk 232 East Main Street, Norfolk VA 23510 Norfolk’s beautifully revitalized waterfront, rich military heritage, walkable downtown and Coastal Virginia location make it the ideal destination for your next reunion. Home to such attractions as the Battleship Wisconsin, MacArthur Memorial, Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the world’s largest naval base. See why American Heritage named Norfolk “A Great American Place.” Offering over 5,000 committable hotel rooms in various price ranges. Call 800-368-3097;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

TYSONS CORNER MARRIOTT 8028 Leesburg Pike, Vienna VA 22182, 703-734-3200; fax 703-734-5763;

VIRGINIA BEACH CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Virginia Beach offers the perfect blend of coastal charm and big-city amenities. Instant beach access and a modern city feel, we offer great variety in accommodations, dining and shopping. From the Master Jet Base of Oceana to the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek and Fort Story, enjoy a variety of military reunion exploratory opportunities. Our team of hospitality professionals are ready to assist you! Call 1-800-8223224 Email:

WEST VIRGINIA CANAAN VALLEY RESORT Davis, West Virginia. Four season resort state park featuring 150 comfortable lodge rooms, 23 secluded cabins/cottages and 34 campground sites. Seasonal activities include indoor/outdoor pools, golf, skiing, scenic chairlift rides, hiking/biking trails, and more. Meeting rooms and banquet services available for your reunion needs. Karen Rhodes 304-866-4121 x 2681 or;

WYOMING THE DUDE RANCHERS’ ASSOCIATION 1122 12th. Street, Cody, Wyoming 82414. Helping people find quality Dude and Guest Ranch vacations since 1926. Let us help you find the perfect all inclusive location for your next reunion call 866-399-2339 or email; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

LAZY L & B RANCH 1072 East Fork Road, Dubois WY 82513; 1-800-4539488;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

GOOSEWING RANCH PO Box 4084, Jackson WY 83001; 1-888-733-5251;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S



THE HIDEOUT LODGE & GUEST RANCH PO Box 206, Shell WY 82441; 1-800-354-8637;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

RED REFLET GUEST RANCH 10 Lodge Road, Ten Sleep WY 82442; 1-866-766-2340;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


Reunions magazine is quarterly. Reunions newsletter, news for your reunions, is monthly.

IT’S FREE! Send your request and email to

Create your own reunion website with no skills. It’s fast and easy to use. Your reunion website has great features and planning tools. It will make planning much easier and everyone will love it! Features: Online registration, rsvp, ticket payment, message boards, family tree, guest book, quiz, poll, stories, photo albums, no ads, travel information, more. 7 day free trial. No credit card required for the free trial! Only $9.95 / month. Any Questions 877-769-3836 or

T-SHIRTS MAKE THE BEST REUNION T-SHIRTS! Design reunion shirts online - it’s fun and easy! Create your own design or have us create a design for you. From infant sizes to adult 6XL, you’ll find the perfect shirts for your reunion. FREE shipping, AFFORDABLE shirts, FREE expert-design help, and GUARANTEED delivery dates! Visit or call 1877-803-5885 today! Use voucher code RW210 to save $10 on your order of 6 or more shirts. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

Postcards that make your reunion point! save the date

Send save the date when you’ve set it!

Send TIME IS RUNNING OUT when it is!

Custom Printing – $45 p/hundred; 50¢ each Fill-in cards $15 p/hundred; 20¢ each plus s/h: 100-200 cards – $5, over 200 – $10 Send message, check & request to: REUNION POSTCARDS O PO Box 11727 O Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. To charge, call 800-373-7933.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES All of the following can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-373-7933, ext.4.

BOOKS Family Reunion by Mary Quattlebaum, Illustrated by Andrea Shine. Thoughtful and fun, this book gives glimpses of family togetherness and tradition through various poetic forms, including free verse, a sonnet, haiku, a ballad and more. $16 + s/h. THE FAMILY REUNION SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Avoid Problems With Your Family Without Avoiding Your Family by Laurence A. Basirico. (2003, Identity Publishing, $11.95). A book about relationships at family reunions and how to enjoy them. Based on original research. 2106 Coy St., Burlington, NC. (336) 584-1442. Secrets of Successful Family Reunions by Robert W. Wolfe a.k.a. Uncle Bob. A how-to-book for successful family reunions. Whether simple or elaborate it helps those who wish to pass their values to the next generation. 2008. $16.99 + s/h. Family Reunion: Taking It To The Next Level by Regina Mason. 2011, 183 pp. HC $29.99; SC $19.99, + s/h. Treasure and Scavenger Hunts (3rd ed.) How to Plan, Create, and Give Them by Gordon Burgett Communications Unlimited, 2007, 134 pp. $15.95 + s/h or $12.95 digital. Your Living Family Tree: Keeping your family together forever through print, photos, sound and video by Gordon Burgett Communications Unlimited, 2008, 174 pp. $17.95 + s/h or $15.95 digital. The Pick A Party book set, by Patty Sachs, party-planning expert. Book #1: Pick a Party, The Big Book of Party Themes and Occasion. 100 theme party plans for holidays, milestone occasions and special events. Book #2 Pick-A-Party Cookbook. Includes menus, recipes and table decoration ideas for the 100 theme parties in Book #1. Regularly $20 for the set, only $16.00 + $2 s/h) for Reunions magazine readers. The Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games & Activities by travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers. “May be the ultimate solution for back seat squabbling” on the way to your reunion. Keep kids entertained all the way there. $8.95 + s/h. 52 R E U N I O N S O

Between magazine issues, sign up for our monthly eblast. Send request and email to

FOOD PREPARATION COOKING FOR LARGE GROUPS (CD) Over 1400 recipes. System requirements: Windows 98/NT 4.0/XP, Intel Pentium Processor or better, 32 MB RAM, 20 MB free hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, SVGA monitor, keyboard, web browser, Adobe Reader, Window-compatible pointing device. $49.95 + $1.29 s/h. Purchase at or call 1-800-373-7933 How Many?! How Much!?, A Step-by-Step guide to cooking for a large group, by Jennifer Cole. This book will help you with menu planning, recipe costing, recruiting helpers, budgeting. Spiral bound, 73 pp. $19.95 + $4.95 s/h.

MAGAZINE Subscribe to Reunions magazine Ensure a full year of reunion planning advice plus workbook. Subscribe now. Send $9.99/yr or $17.99/2 yrs to Reunions Magazine, Inc., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. To charge to credit card call 1-800-373-7933 or visit our website

MUSIC The Malone Family Choir: A Family Reunion is an original gospel CD opening with a song you’ll want to play to say Welcome to Our Family Reunion! at your family reunion. CD $15 or tape $10 + s/h.

POSTCARD ANNOUNCEMENTS Notify your reunion members to SAVE THE DATE (bright red, they’ll not miss it!) and when you need reminders, send postcards that say TIME IS RUNNING OUT Fill-in cards - $15 p/100 postcards or 20¢ each – you fill in the date and reunion name; or Custom printed cards - $45 p/100 postcards or 50¢ each. Send info to be printed: for SAVE THE DATE! (name, date, & place of reunion, contact info). For TIME IS RUNNING OUT (name & date of reunion & RSVP date) + fax number or email address to get your approval before we print. Send to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; credit card charges call 1-800-373-7933, or order online;


Reader Service Card V22N3 FEBRUARY/MARCH/APRIL 2012

To request information from our display advertisers, please check the box(es) and return to Reunions magazine, P.O. Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727.






Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism / Pigeon Forge CVB . . 13 Plano CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Fairfax County CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Norfolk CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45





Embassy Suites Intermediary . . . . . . . . . . 22 & 23 Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Sundance Trail Guest Ranch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 YMCA of the Rockies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Floridays Orlando Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC Gold Coast Hotel & Casino/ Coast Casinos. . . . . . 9 Grand Sierra Resort & Casino . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Sea Mist Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OBC The Dude Ranchers Association . . . . . . . . . . . . 32





Birmingham (Greater) CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism CA . . . . . . . . . 19 Lee County (Fort Myers, Sanibel) VCB . . . . . . . 43 Clayton County CVB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Dunwoody CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Lake County CVB IL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Branson Lakes Area Chamber/ CVB . . . . . . . . IFC Cabarrus County CVB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce . . 19 Las Vegas CVA/ Laughlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Columbus/ Experience Columbus OH . . . . . . . . 49 Dublin CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Chattanooga Area CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

J . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17




J National Association of Reunion Managers (NARM) . . . . . . 7 RIBBONS


J . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 T-SHIRTS


Name Reunion name/Organization Address City/State/Zip E-mail Address Telephone

F E B R UA R Y / M A R C H / A P R I L 2012 O R E U N I O N S


P.O. Box 11727 O Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 TM

Reunions Magazine Volume 22, Number 3. February/March/April 2012  
Reunions Magazine Volume 22, Number 3. February/March/April 2012