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Where, Oh Where, Is My Reunion? Looking Tools 10 Crummy “Reasons” To Not Attend …

Display until october 31, 2013.

Vol 24 no 1 a u g u st / s e p t e m b e r / octo b e r 2013 $ 3 / USA

in this issue Departments

front Words – 4 ALUM & I – 6

The Reunion Project, a blog by Scott Ryan Hospitality Answerman by Dean Miller Top 10 Crummy “reasons” for not attending our reunion Pleasant View School by Julia Helvey Do we want to hire a professional? from Varsity Reunions Reviews: Class Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo Reunion at Red Paint Bay by George Harrar Time Flies by Claire Cook Ultimate Reunion Playlist: Songs that take you right back to high school and the memories they trigger by Claire Cook


August/September/October 2013 Volume 24 • Number 1 Publisher / Editor in Chief Edith Wagner Travel Editor Jacky Runice Art Director Jennifer Rueth Senior sales account manager Marion Liston

Big Ancestry giveaway! The Kinsey Collection Zap the Grandma Gap Toss or keep unidentified photos? by Maureen Taylor Reunions: Lynch and Dearing, Howard-Holland, Mabry-Pollard

Operations Manager Karla Lavin

Reunion School – 16 Scrapbook – 18

Administrative Staff Nicole Dettmering Ksioszk

Birmingham remembrances, Giveaway winners, VISTA reunion benefits library, What would you charge?

hospitality answer man Dean Miller

Masterplan – 21

Lockett Family Reunion by Angelia Adams-Carstarphen Rembert Family Reunion by Jerre Curry Honoring Our Past – Celebrating Our Future by Bettie Griggs Maynard and Stephens Family Reunions by Shena Benus


WHERE? Looking Tools If not a hotel, then where? Looking for a reunion place? Looking for a reunion hotel? Reunion for 65 … your rooms are ready!! by Karen Robertson Albee Family Reunions by Jack Albee Vacation Rentals How to rent vacation/reunion properties Tips to sharing a drama-free vacation home Black Canyon Inn, a vacation/reunion rental Theme park survival guide Is cruising an option? Riley Family Reunion Cruise by Vicki Riley Class reunion on the high seas The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Special places Holiday Inn Bayside, San Diego, California Bring the whole family to Kissimmee, Florida Destinations West at Beaver Village, Colorado Choose Newport News! Virginia There’s no place like Plano, Texas Columbus offers Experiential Reunions

Military Reunion News – 41 Doolittle Raiders final reunion, Request for WWII photos, National Museum of the AirForce Cruising for a Cause, Colorado Freedom memorial

Reunion Resources – 44 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products On the cover Madrid/Torrejón American High School Abroad reunion. See pages 8 and 9.

Web Wizard Josh Evert

Contributors Angelia Adams-Carstarphen Jack Albee • Merv Bartholow Shena Benus • Keonsha Bernard Dick Beyers • Doug Brubaker Shirley Byrd • Claire Cook Jerre Curry • Bettie Griggs Julia Helvey • Starla Ingersol Francene Johnson • Margaret Malsam Steve Mitchell • Vicki Riley • Karen Robertson Scott Ryan • Kristopher Smith • Maureen Taylor Arliss Treybig • Devonia Wilson Reunions magazine, Inc. (ISSN #1046-5s235), is published 4 times per year. Send correspondence, queries, submissions, subscriptions, advertising to Reunions m agazine, 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: editor@reunions or fax 414-263-6331. 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. All other addresses, call for rates. 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 414-2636331 | e-mail editor@reunions | © 2013 Reunions magazine, Inc. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER v Reunions 3


Be in touch!


ere it is, the last month of the summer family reunion season! And the start of the military reunion season. If you don’t believe that, you’ve not been following our weekend reunion salutations on facebook. We hope the families had a glorious reunion season and the military groups will have equally successful meetings this fall.

Mail to Reunions magazine PO Box 11727 Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 call 414-263-4567 visit fax 414-263-6331 e-mail

Sign up for monthly news

If you don’t receive our monthly newsletter, you were not alerted to three great media opportunities for your reunion. We only knew about each a couple days ahead so used our newsletter list to alert readers AND thanks for a great response! One was to National Public Radio’s On Point program that was adding reunion stories and pictures in anticipation of a special they did about family reunions July 30th (you can hear the show in podcasts on The second was a call for people to interview for a story by New York Times bestselling author, Bruce Feiler. That story will be in the Links section of Finally, the Steve Harvey TV show was looking for people going to high school reunions. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss these chances. Giveaway deadlines September 1st & October 1st!

Enter for a full membership (new or continuing) ancestry. com giveaway, deadline September 1, 2013! Class reunion giveaways, deadline October 1, 2013! Go to contests and sweepstakes on and click on our giveaways for details. Traveling editor

I will be speaking at workshops in Birmingham, Alabama, October 5th and Chesapeake, Virginia, October 19th and look forward to meeting reunion planners from those areas. I will also be speaking in Columbus, Ohio, in September but to the Experience Columbus members who want to attract more reunion business. I’m looking forward to making a very different talk there. Other appearances are listed in Reunion School (pages 16+17 and online).

Something new

Our talented web wizard, Josh Evert, has designed new Save the Date cards you’ll want to take a look at. They’re available in our Etsy store. 4 Reunions v

Does your reunion have a pledge?

Many reunions begin their program by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Some reunions also have their own pledge, usually written by a clever reunion member. Several reunions have given permission for us to share their pledges which we will soon do online and in an issue of the magazine. Does your reunion have a pledge? If so, please consider sharing it. Send to

How did you do?

Some reunions include a formal evaluation to measure their success. We provide suggestions and samples on the web in the section called “Wrapping up your reunion.” We suggest that if you’re going to evaluate, do it at the reunion where members are more likely to complete the questions while later they may be set aside and not done at all. Take criticism constructively and use members’ suggestions to improve your next gathering. Vivid reunion memories

Recently Harris Interactive completed a survey of more than 2,500 adults and 1,100 youth (ages 8 to 18) for the US Travel Association. The purpose was to get childhood recollections of family vacations. Surprisingly, many answered about their family reunions and children, some as young as five, reported enjoying time with parents and grandparents. Complete details at These are some of the recollections! “Camping at Center Hill Campground with our family reunion; we went fishing, swimming and I got to sleep in my own tent.” Another remembers a “family reunion in Utah. Swimming in the resort pool with my uncle.” Still another said “I was about 5 or 6 and recall traveling to a family reunion to participate in a large picnic/barbecue outing at a large park with many relatives and friends. We played traditional games such as sack races, one legged races, egg races etc, that lasted until dark. Others remembered “A beach family reunion trip.” “A road trip from Montana to Indiana for a family reunion.” “We were at the beach. It was a family reunion so all my close and extended family were there. We played mini golf and went to the beach and ate out.” Finally, “When I was 5 years old, my family went on a reunion trip to Nags Head. We rented a large lake house, and took a boat ride on the lake. During the ride, there was a sudden storm, and we got caught in it. All the kids hid under the boat’s table to prevent being struck by lightning.” Do your reunions generate these positive and pleasant memories? We certainly hope so! EW


alum & I

The Reunion Project, a blog by Scott Ryan About this blog


cott Ryan, a 1988 graduate of Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was blogging about his experience searching for classmates ahead of his 25th high school reunion this summer. You can contact Scott at 248-945-9950; or email and include “The Reunion Project” in the subject line.

January 11, 2013 F New Year, New Energy

March 13, 2013 F An Eerie Silence

As we turn the page to 2013, I still have one foot stuck in 2012. I had really hoped to have the people-searching done by now, but that’s not how it turned out. Over Thanksgiving, I sent an email about our reunion plans to everyone in our class … We’ve found over 330 classmates so far – and almost one-half of them have already replied. I feel pretty good that 90 percent are either a maybe or a yes, but I’ll feel better when the info is sent out soon for ticket purchases and early birds start snapping up their seats. So for now, I’m stuck still chasing down a few dozen people for the first time and chasing down many more for the second time – trying to find out if they’re showing up for the reunion. If your phone rings or your inbox pings, then it’s probably me. I’ve fielded a lot of questions recently about what people should wear. They should wear whatever they’re comfortable in. I’m sure we’ll get people in suits or gowns, business casual, jeans and t-shirts, and maybe even a few wearing shorts. We’ve got enough work to do without planning a dress code, too. As an adult, I really don’t like being “told” what to wear and I’m sure others will agree. The past few weeks have been dull overall when it comes to planning. Once the venue and menu were taken care of, I think everyone slipped into holiday mode, and rightfully so. But I plan to bounce back next week with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. Lastly, I’m still trying to learn website design. I’ll probably never know enough code to do it all myself, so I’m letting Weebly do the heavy lifting. Check it out at

Talk about a lull in activity. With early bird tickets sales over and the flurry of calls to find people mostly done – we wait. I guess we’ll release another block of tickets in a couple of weeks. I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that they haven’t planned that far in advance, but these last 3+ months will go quickly. I’m hoping that the 130+ people who’ve either bought tickets or who’ve said they’ll be there go ahead and make plans. That will take a lot of pressure from those of us who are putting this together. Sponsors and fundraisers are needed, too. A handful of classmates have agreed to contribute. Once their donations/ sponsorships are received, we can start getting the word out about them ahead of the reunion. I did claim a small victory this week, getting in touch with a pair of classmates – or at least their relatives. I’ve scaled back my initial goal of finding every single one. The effort required is probably better spent on getting the ones we know about to show up.

February 11, 2013 F Ticket To Ride

The ticket window is open for our reunion. This project has been an exercise in discipline, persistence, and omnipresence. Once we booked the venue in December, I guess I gave up actively looking for people. Now we’re trying to round everyone up again. Over 100 people have said they’re coming to the reunion, but only a fraction have purchased tickets. As much as I thought people wanted to go the traditional route with an invitation in the mail, I was mistaken. We’re selling tickets via PayPal, which makes things easy to track, especially since the people coordinating this live hundreds of miles apart. Our “early bird” deadline for tickets ends Friday, and we’re excited and nervous at the same time. Early bird sales have surpassed those for the 20th reunion – but this is a bigger venue. We’re expecting more people, which means more expenses. I’ve got a hunch that a lot of people are waiting until the last day to purchase tickets and still get the early bird discount. So if you notice the Internet running slowly on Friday, that could be a combination of people buying tickets … and those of us on this end checking for sales. Not really, but that’d be nice. 6 Reunions v

April 22, 2013 F Your Name Here

The big day is just over two months away, and things are starting to take shape. Not as quickly as I’d hoped, but as long as everything comes together I’m fine with that. We’re in receipt of our first donation, and a second is in the mail from the other side of the country. It’d be nice for some of our classmates, especially those who are in business, to let others know how well they’ve done. In some cases, I’m not surprised at those who’ve taken the entrepreneurial route – some people just have “it” – and we’re proud to help showcase their talents. For those who are sponsoring or at least making donations of goods or services, you can bet I’ll be paying them a visit in person when I get to town to thank them for their generosity. I think the Congressional budget problems might wind up affecting attendance, as many classmates have jobs that are tied to the federal government. But I’m not letting that get in the way of our plans. A check’s been sent to the DJ, people are buying decorations, and we’re getting to the point where people need to decide one way or the other. We’ll have to cut off ticket sales sometime in May – and maybe some people won’t be happy about it, but you have to draw the line somewhere. The big mystery is the 100 or so people who haven’t even told us if they’re going to be there – I can’t tell if they’re just not interested or maybe they never got the message to begin with. I’m already thinking of ways to continue our efforts beyond June – periodic fundraisers, etc. Maybe we’ll see how June turns out before I get too far ahead of myself. Scott Ryan

… to be continued …


alum & I

Hospitality Answerman by Dean Miller


Our 25th year high school reunion is next summer, and last month our reunion committee sent out “Save the Date” postcards to everyone for whom we have an address. Already people are contacting us with reasons why they can’t come … more than a year ahead of time! How can this be? They can’t all have dental appointments scheduled this far ahead! What can we do to get them to reconsider?


Many times, people will offer reasons why they can’t come, when what they’re really saying is, “I don’t want to come!” While there will always be unavoidable conflicts and financial issues which prevent folks from attending, in many cases, they need to be reassured that: 1) they’ll have a good time, 2) they’ll be welcome, and 3) the time and expense will be worth it. You and the other committee members need to stay in touch with these folks. One of the many reunion groups with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working here in Fairfax County is the Madrid/Torrejón High School Association. Their members attended an ASA

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(American School Abroad) for US dependents located outside of Madrid, Spain. On their website, they acknowledge – and refute – what they refer to as the ten most common excuses they hear for not attending reunions. The group has graciously allowed us to reprint their list here, for use by other reunion committees. It’s one of the best – and funniest! – rebuttals to most every “I Can’t Come” excuse you’re likely to encounter. Feel free to adapt this list for your group’s unique circumstances.

About the author

Dean Miller is national sales director for Visit Fairfax, Virginia. He can be reached at 703-752-9509 or

Top 10 crummy “reasons” for not attending our reunion 10. “It’s too far to go.”

Some people come to our reunions from Europe and Asia. If they can make it, so can you. 9. “It costs too much.”

The Association makes no money from registration fees, which are only enough to cover most (but not quite all) of our expenses. You may be able to save on your hotel cost by sharing a room with a classmate or a friend from another class. More to the point: People who’ve come to past reunions agree it’s worth it – many say they’ll come back, no matter what it costs! 8. “I’m not sure my schedule / commitments / job / family / [you-name-it] will allow me to come.”

Unless you’re absolutely positive there’s no way you will be able to come, register. Once you make the commitment to come, it’s amazing how the rest of your life can be arranged to make it possible. 7. “I can’t be there for the whole thing.”

Why not? (See reason #8.) If this is really a problem, don’t make that an excuse not to come at all. The events covered by the registration fee run from Thursday evening through Sunday morning. If you really can’t be there the entire time, partial registrations are available. BEWARE: Don’t use the availability of partial registrations as an excuse not to be there longer. Everyone who has been there for only part of a reunion has wished they were there for the whole thing. Of course, a partial registration is better than nothing – but only if nothing really is the only other option you have. 6. “There’s nothing to see or do in that city.”

That’s not true – but even if it were, it wouldn’t matter. The main attraction of our reunions is the people – we could have a great reunion in the middle of nowhere! Just as life is what you make it – so is a party! 5. “I don’t want to come without my spouse / significant other, and I don’t think they’ll have any fun.”

If our past experience is any guide, this is a non-issue. Most spouses and significant others quickly become “honorary madrileños y madrilènes” and have a great time. Some even say they’d rather come back to another of our reunions instead of going to their own. 4. “I know what high school reunions are like – it’s just a bunch of boring people standing around bragging about their jobs, their marriages, their kids, etc., etc.”

Yes, that’s the stereotype of what many high school reunions are like. But ours aren’t like that at all. There’s something about having gone to high school overseas that makes our reunions different. It doesn’t take long to realize the special bond we have. It’s like getting in touch with your roots – or coming back home. There’s nothing else like it. 3. “I won’t know anyone there. Or they won’t remember me. Or they will remember me for the wrong reasons.”

It doesn’t matter. We’ll treat you like one of the family anyway. Many newcomers and old timers who have been to several reunions have made more “NEW” friends with classmates from other years. It’s really about the common experience we shared living overseas. 2. “The people I know won’t be attending.”

Come anyway – you’ll add to your list of people you’ll want to see next time! And if there are some people you really want to make sure are there, it’s not too late (if you get started now) to track them down (if we haven’t already found them), then call and tell them you want them to be there. 1. “I’ve gained weight, I’m not successful enough, I’m divorced, etc., etc., and I’m concerned about what people will think of me.”

No matter how real or how strong these feelings may be before you arrive, you’ll soon find out that none of this stuff really matters. The plain truth is: We want to see you!

On top of all the options to fill your day before or after the reunion, you’ll highlight it all with the days of the reunion itself, something you will be talking about for months after the event is over. Begin making your plans now – we want to see you there to join in the fun, frolic, and festivities of our next reunion! Reprinted with permission from Madrid/Torrejón High School Associates. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 9

alum & I

Pleasant View School by Julia Helvey


n a cold winter night in 1949, our family watched from home three miles away, as the Pleasant View School # 35, Mt. Vernon, Lawrence County, Missouri, burned to the ground. The rural schools of that time were the mainstay of the community. It was decided that the school would be rebuilt in time to start the new school year in fall. All summer, the school rose from that prairie north of Mt. Vernon, Missouri.

Recent reunion of Mrs. Ross’s class!

Postcards that make your reunion point!



save TIME IS the date RUNNING OuT when you’ve set it! when it is! Custom Printing – $45 p/hundred; 50¢ each Fill-in cards $15 p/hundred; 20¢ each plus shipping & handling Send message, check & request to: Reunion postcards v PO Box 11727 v Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 414.263.4567

10 Reunions v

How exciting, as a first grader, to enter a brand new all-electric school, the first in the nation. Electric heat panels in the north wall, below the windows, made such a cozy environment for more than twenty students in all eight grades. Teacher Mrs. Mary Ross kept us working at lessons all day, often with older students helping younger ones, and younger students learning lessons they heard being taught in grades above them. While we studied hard all morning, Mary Sapp, a neighborhood woman, was cooking, using the modern conveniences in the basement. By lunch time we could smell the wonderful food she had prepared. We lined up by grade, starting with the youngest, to first wash our hands. Then the cook filled each plate with the meal for the day. No choices, but wonderful, healthful food. My husband, Bill, remembers that white milk cost 2¢ and chocolate milk was 3¢ a carton. Thinking back to that time, this very modern school – complete with a drinking fountain in the entry hall – had two outdoor toilets on either side of the playground. There was water and a sewage system for the kitchen; surely they could have accommodated indoor toilets, too. Pleasant View School served the community in its new building for twelve years. Then it was a community center where 4-H and other activities met for many more years. It has gone the way of almost all rural schools, but the children who went there to learn continue to spread that knowledge across the world. Reported by Julia Helvey Columbia, Missouri.

Do we want to hire a professional? YES

Do I Want to Plan My High School Reunion?

Do I have $1,500 in start up costs for deposits, printing and postage?



Do I have plenty of time to work on my reunion during the next year? YES

Plan My Reunion!


Do I have funds left from our last reunion?



Am I confident I can find at least 85% of my classmates?



Do I mind the potential financial risks involved? Are my classmates willing to help me do all the work? YES

Contact Varsity Reunions to plan your unforgettable high school reunion event! REUNIONS 877.844.1014 VA R S I T YR E U N I O N S . CO M

Do we still need reunions?



read that social media may kill off reunions – if we already know what’s going on with our classmates, what’s the point of spending time and money to see them? In the age of facebook, we think we’re all connected, but are we? The first thing most of us did at reunions was play the five-minute elevator life pitch game. Would we have to do this if we already were so connected through social media? The magic of reunion is providing a real physical presence that humans crave. Some argue that reunions are unnecessary, just a way for schools to pinch the pockets of alumni. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a presence that you cannot fully replicate online, a way for us to go back to Neverland, that place in our hearts that needs to be reawakened every once in a while. So if you’re debating whether to spend the time/ money to make the trek back to your old campus for a reunion, ask yourself this: Why wouldn’t you want to relive “the best years of your life?” From a Huffington Post (blog) by BJ R Siasoco.


alum & I

Reviews Class Reunions Can Be Murder

Reunion at Red Paint Bay

lass Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo (2013, Baby Boomer Mysteries Press, 240 pages, trade paperback, $15). Class Reunions Can Be Murder is a fun and breezy read about four BFFs from way back in elementary school who volunteer to plan the 40th class reunion from Mount Saint Francis Academy in toney Connecticut. Resources do not seem to be an issue as plans are hatched for a two-day event. For a little tension, additional classmates are added to work on plans. Meg, one of the additions who intimidated and bullied everyone in school, storms out of a planning meeting because other committee members refuse her suggestion to have pole dancing at the reunion. On the eve of the reunion, a lurid book called Fifty Shades of Navy by “anonymous” is released with pictures of Mount Saint Francis Academy on the cover. And the night before the reunion, someone is found murdered! Great book club selection for people/women of a certain age. EW

eunion at Red Paint Bay by George Harrar. (2013, Other Press, 278 pages, hardcover, $14.95). What is the truth? Is it fact? Is it reality? Is it what you believe or what you want to believe? Tough questions and newspaperman, Simon Howe, has no answers. Reunion at Red Paint Bay is a psychological thriller about a family man forced to confront his past behavior, its consequences and what he believes to be the truth. Simon Howe, weekly newspaper editor in Red Paint Bay, Maine, is happy as a husband, father and newspaperman. He is puzzled by a series of anonymous postcards with threatening messages. Then, a mysterious stranger comes to town and small events occur that frighten Simon and his wife. The stranger is a stalker with a plan and creepy ability to move without attracting attention – even at Simon’s 25th high school reunion. When he finally challenges Simon and his wife about a dark secret the stranger ignites fear, anger and mistrust, resulting in glaring exposure and desperate measures. This is a gripping thriller, utterly convincing and alarming, as people struggle to justify past deeds, weigh the costs of the truth and decide that maybe a half-lie is just as good. From a review by Bill Bushnell in the Morning Sentinel, Skowhegan, Maine.


Deadline October 1, 2013 Want to win a copy of Class Reunions Can Be Murder? It’s a really fun read! We have two autographed copies to giveaway. Enter online at, click on Contests and Sweepstakes or send an email to with the book title in the subject line and your name and address in the body.

Time capsules found in time for reunion


s Riverside High School in Windsor, Ontario, celebrates its 50th anniversary, organizers located two time capsules to unearth during the October weekend. The first capsule, prepared in 1988 for the 25th anniversary of the Jerome Street School, has an impressive monument in the school’s courtyard. Another, buried two years earlier, was trickier to find. “It is parallel to the tree and to a vent on the wall,” said a note scribbled in a yearbook. But what if the tree didn’t survive? There was one measurement: the time capsule is three feet in the ground. The reunion chairman found a concrete marker with an R on it, even though grass had grown over the spot. Contents of the time capsules will be revealed during an afternoon gathering at the reunion. Visit From an article by Sharon Hill in the Windsor Star, Windsor, Ontario 12 Reunions v


Time Flies


ime Flies by Claire Cook (2013, Simon and Shuster Touchstone Books, hardcover, $24.99, 304 pages) Years ago, Melanie followed her husband, Kurt, from the New England beach town where their two young sons were thriving to the suburbs of Atlanta. She enjoyed life as a successful metal sculptor, but when Kurt leaves her for another woman, having the tools to cut up their marriage bed is small consolation. She’s old enough to know that high school reunions are often a big disappointment, but when her best friend makes her buy a ticket and an old flame gets in touch to see whether she’ll be going, she fantasizes that returning to her past might help her find her future … until her driving phobia resurfaces and threatens to hold her back from the adventure of a lifetime. Deadline October 1, 2013 Win a “Reunion-in-a Box” … 10 copies of Time Flies, reunion activities and drink recipes from the book, cupcake flags that say Best Class Evah! Enter online at, click on Contests and Sweepstakes or send an email to with the book title in the subject line and your name and address in the body.

Join Reunions magazine Post your reunion pictures, comments, questions, suggestions!

Ultimate Reunion Playlist:

Songs that take you right back to high school and the memories they trigger by Claire Cook


Some Kind of Wonderful/Grand Funk Railroad

Stairway to Heaven/Led Zeppelin

These Boots Are Made For Walking/Nancy Sinatra

ime Flies, my latest novel, is the story of two Boomer friends who take a road trip to their high school class reunion. Hands down, the most fun part of the stroll down memory lane, for my characters and for me, was the music. Crank up these old songs at your next reunion and it will all come back.

You’re at a pajama party and decide to see how many times in a row you can listen to all eight minutes and two seconds of the long version. You doze off somewhere around number thirty, and when you wake up, one of your friends swears up and down she hadn’t missed a note and that “Stairway to Heaven” is now on its 387th spin on the turntable.

Born to Be Wild/Steppenwolf The wildest thing you’ve done is yet to come, but this song makes you feel it. Work it. Own it. And by the time the instrumental part comes around, you really are nature’s child flying down the highway of your life.

When Will I Be Loved/Linda Ronstadt version You sing this song to yourself in the mirror, in the key of high drama, making big Linda Ronstadt eyes while putting on your blue eye shadow. And your white frosted lipstick.

Nights in White Satin/The Moody Blues It’s the last dance of the night and it’s a slow one. He’s looking at you. Yikes, here he comes.

A Whiter Shade of Pale/Procol Harum You’re not exactly sure what the words mean, but your friends seem to, and even if they don’t really, those lyrics are definitely H-E-A-V-Y. Plus it’s another slow one, so who really cares what they’re singing?

Brand New Key/Melanie Your friends make fun of this song, but you secretly like it. And you’re pretty sure that once you manage to survive final exams, your life will finally be this upbeat and simple.

The ultimate gratitude song, with an awesome beat to boot. It reminds you that you were some kind of wonderful back then. You still are. And so is this song. You’ve polished those white go-go boots to within an inch of their life, so he’d better treat you right if he knows what’s good for him. You’re tough and you’re not going to take it anymore. And even though you don’t actually have a boyfriend yet, when you hear this song, you’re ready to walk.

You Are So Beautiful/Joe Cocker Well, maybe not. Especially after your best friend scorched your hair trying to iron it straight, the stress causing a major breakout that multiple coats of Clearasil somehow only manages to accentuate. But Joe Cocker’s raspy voice makes you feel like you could be beautiful one day.

Midnight at the Oasis/Maria Muldaur You get the line about the romance in your head, but you’re not too sure what to make of the one about sending your camel to bed. Still, the idea of a big exotic world out there somewhere is intriguing.

You’ve Got a Friend/Carole King This is the kind of friend you want to have. Want to be. And years later, so many years later than you can even imagine, you’ll realize that you do have friends like this – and you can’t wait to see them at the reunion.

About the author

Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan when she was 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is now the bestselling and awardwinning author of 10 novels, including Wallflower in Bloom and the latest, Time Flies. Visit

Class of ’80 alums push community service


he University of Pennsylvania alumni, Class of 1980, stands out for partnering with West Philadelphia, where Penn calls home. The ’80 alums hope other classes will do the same. The Class of ’80 represents the first involvement of alumni in community outreach in a sustained relationship, not just tied to a particular activity. They paint walls, mentor students and organize field trips at Sayre High School. The alums give their time and energy to students at Sayre. All Sayre’s

students are considered at-risk, but Sayre also has a robust Penn involvement, with several Penn staff and programs onsite. By adopting Sayre, the class had multiple points for involvement: MLK day of service, career days, mentoring programs. The service idea started in 2005 when class members did a community-service

project in a local high school garden during their 25th reunion. For the 30th class reunion, the organizer asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a reason for being other than planning a party every five years?” Another classmate said, “We had this enthusiasm, alumni interested in endeavors, not just at a reunion, but also reaching out to others.” From an article by Julie S. McWilliams in Penn News, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 13

branch office

Big giveaway! Family history in the palm of your hand!


our in five Americans are interested in learning about their family history and many are Reunions magazine readers. has a free 14-day pass to help you get started exploring your family history. will award one World Explorer Annual membership (new or extend an existing membership) plus Family Tree Maker software for MAC or PC (total value $353.44). The membership gives you access to 11 billion historical records; 44 million family trees (user-created trees you can connect to); 185 million user-submitted photographs, scanned documents and written stories; more than 30,000 databases (including the 1940 census); and the largest online collection of historical military records. It is the largest online family history resource. Also included with this prize will be family tree charts by Elizabeth Knaus to display historical information in an artistic 19'' x 13'' format.

Hurry! deadline for entering is september 1, 2013


great way to celebrate your family tree would be to visit The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, which is about tracing your roots and celebrating the rich history of African American culture. It is on a national tour presented by Wells Fargo in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Collection brings to life many important and untold stories involving the rich history of African Americans, their achievements and contributions, and their struggles for equality and civil rights that remain relevant today. “The Kinsey Collection strives to give our ancestors a voice, name and personality, enabling the viewer to understand the challenges, obstacles, triumphs and extraordinary sacrifice of African Americans who’ve greatly contributed to the success of this country,” said Bernard Kinsey. The exhibit is in Charlotte, North Carolina, until September 14, 2013. Baltimore is its final stop from November 1 to January 1, 2014.

Zap the Grandma Gap


eaching children and grandchildren about family history can create strong family bonds and become a framework that protects and empowers your relationships. Family history connects family members in a way that is personal and unique. It especially gives children the power to identify with personal heroes, learn life lessons and gain a broad, wise perspective on life. Super Grandma to the rescue. Janet Hovorka’s Zap the Grandma Gap: Connect With Your Family by Connecting Them to Their Family History contains specific ideas, examples and step-by-step instructions to take your family history from “snoring and boring” to “exciting and inviting.” Super Grandma will teach you all the tips and tricks to connect you and your family back to your own super grandmas and grandpas in simple and easy ways that will bind family together and strengthen relationships. Along with the book, a website ( is full of resources to help families connect with their history. The website features a workbook in which children can record their own lives and explore their family history, plus a weekly newsletter, pedigree charts and genealogy resources. Janet Hovorka and her husband own Family ChartMasters (familychartmasters. com). She is president of the Utah Genealogical Association and teaches courses in library skills and genealogy at Salt Lake Community College.

Descendants of fugitive slave reunite


homas John Holland escaped slavery in Maryland in 1860. He was only 15 when he made the dangerous two-month trip through the Underground Railroad to seek refuge in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He slept in swamps, swam across the Niagara River, evaded bounty hunters who chased runaway slaves, and fended for his life in the wilderness. His descendants reunited in the city 14 Reunions v

where he first lived as a free man. The reunion was an opportunity for the American relatives to tour Hamilton and learn about their past, and family members came from all over the US. “Our family has a rich, rich history in Hamilton,” said Nerene Virgin, a great-granddaughter of Holland, and reunion organizer. Success is in the genes. A family of high-achievers, many of the Howard-

Holland kin went on to make impressive careers for themselves across North America. The Friday to Sunday reunion included a boat cruise, afternoon picnic at Dundurn Castle and Park, an evening of dancing and a church ceremony at the Stewart Memorial Church. From a story by Kate Adach on Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Mabry-Pollard Family Reunion


ort Campbell, Kentucky, hosted the second Lawson Mabry spoke about the history of Mabry-Pollard Family Reunion Mabry-Pollard Family Reunion. the area and the information he and Collins Descendants of former slaves and slave-owners had unearthed from the extensive collections gathered to walk the grounds of ancestral of documents each had found over the years. homes that ceased to exist 70 years ago. For most of the people attending, it was the About 150 people from all across the US first they had heard of any of it. The tour came. They visited the Brig. Gen. Don Pratt included visits to the Boiling Springs area and Museum, and toured a part of Fort Campbell’s the former Mabry homestead at Poplar Hill. extensive training areas that were part of One relative called the day inspirational: Montgomery County before the beginning of “I feel a connection to my roots.” World War II, when the government turned it They stopped just outside Fort Campbell at into a camp for armored divisions in 1942. Boiling Springs Cemetery, where the bodies of many of their The Mabrys owned slaves before the Civil War, and memories relatives were relocated when the post was constructed. Despite were kept alive through oral histories, photographs and documents. Jackie Collins’s efforts to restore the cemetery, most graves The genesis of the reunion came from Jackie Collins, a retired remained unmarked. Headstones had been broken and crushed by insurance man descended from former slaves of the Boiling bulldozers working on an adjoining property or through other Springs Community. He reconnected with the Mabrys and pieced incidents that took place over years of neglect. Many were outraged together his family history. The key find was a ledger listing his to learn that two-thirds of the cemetery had been sold by trustees of ancestors as property divided in a will between two daughters, the Boiling Springs Church. Mabrys and the Cornells, in 1845. There was an on-the-spot meeting to discuss possible remedies Eventually, the idea of a family reunion centered on to correct the abuses. descendants of both the Mabry and Pollard families. Despite that, the day was still considered an overwhelming success. The attendees were unanimous that the result was more than From an article by Philip Grey in the worth the effort. Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville, Tennessee

Toss or keep unidentified photos?


aureen Taylor, former Reunions magazine genealogy columnist and The Photo Detective, answers that question! A reader asked: What would you do with a box of unidentified photos of people who are not family? Instead of tossing the photos into the trash, there are websites that facilitate photo reunions. You can post images for free! 1 More than 5,000 folks a week look at the pictures posted on Dead Fred and

Ancient Faces to see if they can find their “missing” family photos. 2 Sign up for their free newsletters to see new images added to Ancient Faces or follow them on social media at www. If you’d like to consult Maureen about your photo mystery, you can sign up online for a private teleconference. She’ll analyze your family photographs and provide an audio file of your consultation with her.

Simply supply her with a photo or photos you would like to know more about. You can also do this online at her website ( You’ll receive a list of consultation times so you can pick one that fits your schedule. v Tell her as much as you already know about the photo. v Each 15-minute slot for up to three photographs costs $50.

Avoca plantation hosts reunion for descendants of plantation families, slaves


laves and their owners could not sit together and eat as equals 150 years ago, but their descendants did at Avoca Museum in Altavista, Virginia, for a plantation reunion. Descendants of the Lynch and Dearing families joined with relatives of the plantations’ enslaved and free workers for “Gathering at Avoca.” The Lynch and Dearing families owned the land where the museum is located. The event began with a tour of the grounds, focusing on what it would have looked like around the Civil War. The house was constructed in 1901, but the plantation office, smokehouse and kitchen were built before the Civil War. The

reunion ended with a visit to the site’s fully restored slave cemetery. The reunion idea started with discovery and renovation of the old slave cemetery. The Avoca Museum next obvious question was, “Who’s buried there?” The Avoca Historical Society searched wills, census data and other court records to discover slaves’ names. Society members tracked slaves’ genealogy back to the 1700s. The 75 surnames that have been identified include Douglas, Bickerson, Moore, Payne, Walker and

Farmer. One goal of the event was to expand the list of those who worked at the plantations and are buried in the cemetery. The resolve to host the reunion solidified when a white descendant in Utah discovered her great-great-great-grandmother was a slave on one of the plantations. She came to visit the museum. It was emotional, and museum staff wanted to provide others the opportunity to see how their family members lived. From an article by Katrina Koerting in the News and Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 15

reunion school

Most of these events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus. Most 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. Alliance of Military Reunions

Dekalb County, Georgia

Contact Skip Sander, 412-367-1376 |

August 17, September 21, November 16, 2013 Contact Carol Murray, 800-999-6055

Alpharetta, Georgia

Detroit, Michigan

Contact April Cochran, 678-297-2811 Athens, Georgia

Contact Athens CVB, 706-357-4430. Atlanta, Georgia

October 25, 2013 Contact Chantel Ross-Francois, 404-521-6647 | Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Florida

Contact Candice Cocco, 239-338-3500 | Greater Birmingham, Alabama

October 5, 2013 Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Tara Walton, CTIS, 205-458-8000, ext 206 Branson, Missouri

August 19-22, 2013 Military Reunion Planners Conference Contact Julie Peters, 417-334-4084 | Cabarrus County, North Carolina

September 21, 2013 Contact | Douglasville, Georgia

Contact Randi Miles, 678-715-6069 | Dunwoody, Georgia

October 26, 2013 Contact Andy Williams, 678-244-9804 Durham, North Carolina

January 2014 Contact Arie Bobbitt, 919-680-8311 | Estes Park, Colorado, YMCA of the Rockies

Family Reunion University November 1-3, 2013 Contact Laura Field at 970-586-4444 x 6062 Fairfax County, Virginia

February 15, 2014 Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Dean Miller, 703-752-9509 |

Contact Carrie Hendrickson, 704-456-7969 |

Flint, Michigan

Chesapeake, Virginia

Fredericksburg, Virginia

October 19, 2013 Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact C. Jeff Bunn, 888-889-5551 |

Contact Courtney Irish, 810-232-8902 | Contact: Kimberly Herbert, 800-260-3646

Chicago Southland, Illinois

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 Contact Jane Bushong, 888-895-8233 Cobb County, Georgia

September 21, 2013 Contact Melissa Legaux, 800-451-3480 | Columbus, Ohio

October 5, 2013 Roger Dudley, 614-222-6136, 800-354-2657 Register here: 16 Reunions v

Reunion School in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Grand Rapids, Michigan

November 9, 2013 Heidi Schmitt, 800-678-9859, ext 3557 Greenwood, South Carolina

Contact Lindsay Burns, 864-953-2464 Gwinnett County, Georgia

Friday, October 18, 2013 Contact Cricket Elliott-Leeper, Gwinnett CVB, 770-814-6049 |

Doing the Electric Slide in Newport News, Virginia (see a dancing video on our facebook page!)

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Military Reunion Planners Contact Jennifer Williamson, 269-488-0057 or Contact Lisa Kukulski, 269-488-0056 |

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Contact Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

Kissimmee, Florida

Contact Kevin Flowers, 800-551-8682 |

September 20, 2014 Contact Jadeine Shives, 407-742-8255

Winter Park, Colorado, Snow Mountain Ranch

Lake County, Illinois

Contact Kimberly Ghys, 800-Lake-Now | Louisville, Kentucky

Contact Saundra Robertson, 502-379-6110 Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Georgia

August 17, 2013 Contact Kristen Simonton at 478-743-1074 ext. 104

YMCA of the Rockies, Family Reunion University Contact Group Reservations, 800-777-9622 YMRC – Your Military Reunion Connection Washington DC (Herndon), Virginia | August 22-25, 2013 Virginia Beach, Virginia | October 17-20, 2013 Jacksonville, Florida | October 23-26, 2013 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | February 9-14, 2014 San Antonio, Texas | May 4-7, 2014 Colorado Springs, Colorado | May 9-12, 2014 Nashville, Tennessee | July 27-30, 2014 Charleston, South Carolina | November 9-12, 2014

Contact |

Memphis, Tennessee

Contact Lisa Catron, 901-543-5337 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Contact Casey Kluver, 612-767-8106 Newport News, Virginia

Contact James Dean, 888-493-7386 | Peachtree City, Georgia

Contact 678-216-0282, Prince George’s County, Maryland

Prince George’s Community College, Largo Campus Contact Family Affair, 301-322-0797 |

When is your workshop coming to …?


here is little we can do about who offers reunion planning workshops. Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVB) who offer workshops really see the advantage of building business with reunions. However, if more reunions contacted CVBs, that would certainly make them even more aware of the reunion market. When you contact a CVB, ask for their SMERF specialist/ salesperson. S/he specializes in small groups and can be very helpful. Ask if/when they plan a reunion planning workshop. If they say they don’t, take the opportunity to sell them on the idea! Pamela Williams did that for Durham, North Carolina, and their third annual workshop is coming up soon. Read your CVB the list from these two pages of CVBs that are hosting workshops. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 17


Birmingham remembrances


irmingham, Alabama, is holding a year-long commemoration of civil rights-related events that took place there 50 years ago. The year 1963 was one of upheaval and violence, revolution and heartbreak. It was the year Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Klan members bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four little girls preparing for morning worship. People from around the world are studying the city’s civil rights history and paying tribute to the freedom fighters, many of whom were children at the time, who put life and safety on the line to demand equal rights. These are just some of the upcoming events scheduled to mark the 50th anniversary. August 21 – November 30: Marching On: The Children’s Movement at Fifty is an exhibit that tells the story of The Children’s Crusade, when young black students of The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a journey through the dramatic struggle for equal rights for all Birmingham took to the streets for the cause of civil rights. citizens of this country. September 14 - Concert for Human Rights: All-star concert October 7-19: “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” at commemorating the 50th to support the “50 Years Forward” Birmingham Children’s Theatre, adaptation of Christopher Paul movement. Curtis’s popular, award-winning youth novel. September 15: Official Marking of the 50th Anniversary of the Dates subject to change. Visit, or Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing. call the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau at September 21: A More Convenient Season: World Premiere of 800-458-8085. a New Work of Hope & Healing by Composer Yotam Haber.

Giveaway winners I

Cindy Knafl with her Fun & Games box!

18 Reunions v

t’s been a big and exciting summer! All summer long we’ve had giveaway box drawings and thank those of you who entered. Each week we randomly drew winners, posted their names on facebook and cheerfully mailed out the prizes. There are more contests so you can still enter online at and click on Contests and Sweepstakes or send an email to with the name of the contest in the subject line and your name and address in the body. These people have already won! Potpourri box won by Charles Ellington, Vincent/Ward Family; Marie Goddard, W-M Family Reunion won a Kids Box; Liz Mingus, Stebbing Family Reunion, a Family History Box; Cindy Knafl, Rokusek Family Reunion won the Fun & Games Box; Georg Apgar, Apgar Family Reunion won the Military Box; Bertha Anderson, Bratcher/Smith/Jones Family Reunion won the Class Reunion Planning Box; Taniedra McFadden, Marcus Brown Family Reunion won the Family Reunion Planning Box; Keisha Mitchell, Conley Family Reunion won the Back to Nature box; Sarah Smith, Smith Family of Alabama won a Kids Box. Winners of Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families are Teresa Underhill, Hartloff Family Reunion; Christine Delaplace, Glisson Family Reunion; Ozella Lewis, Jones Green McAdams Family Reunion; and Equoya HarperCotton, Carter Family Reunion; and Beth Klocinski won the Spiritual Box.

Kids giveaway box

Family Reunion Planning box



New York City made easy

N is the ultimate resource for all things New York, with information about Broadway, hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Exploring New York can be overwhelming, particularly for first-time (and sometimes even repeat) visitors. Learn about the various parts of the city. The “Living in New York” channel offers recommendations of each of the five borough’s most popular restaurants, attractions and landmarks.

Heads up!


he first weekend of each month you can get free general admission to more than 150 museums nationwide with the Museums on Us® program. Just present your Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® credit or debit card, along with your photo ID. Find a list of participating museums or learn more at Excludes special exhibitions, ticketed shows and fundraising events.

20 Reunions v

VISTA reunion benefits library


he Loachapoka Library in Lee County, Alabama, was founded by Auburn University senior Sara Beasley, with strong volunteer support since its recent opening. During the 1960s and ‘70s, Lee County was a host site for the VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. Volunteers from across the country came to help the needy in the area. During this time, local volunteers initiated a self-help housing program that resulted in 65 new homes, a food-buying cooperative and a household cleaning business. They also organized a quilting cooperative, and the late Mozell Benson was recognized nationally and internationally for her craft. This was the second reunion of these volunteers, bringing 22 members back to the county. It was decided that each would bring a book or two for the Loachapoka Library. When they learned the need for more bookshelves, they collected $350. From a report in the Opelika Auburn News, Opelika, Alabama.

What would you charge?


ast year, the Wilson Family Reunion sold chances for five amazing theme baskets; see auction, page 2 in fundraising online or the fundraising board on Pinterest. Take a look! According to Pamela Williams they charged $1 for each ticket. This year, the committee unanimously decided to charge $5 per ticket. The money will go towards the Wilson Family Scholarship Fund which is a great cause and one that they should be willing to support. We agreed $1 is too little but I think it’s hard to know where a higher price becomes a burden and turns people off. We suggested “5 for $20” or “6 for $25.” Send your suggestions to


Lockett Family Reunion


ildred Dudley founded the Lockett Family Reunion in 1988 and was its national president from 1990. She was the fourth of nine children, and she had nine children of her own, 27 grandchildren and 11 great-grands. She recently died of breast cancer. The last Lockett Reunion was held in Flint, Michigan, where they paid tribute to Mildred for being the founder and national president. Young people are involved in planning; this gives them a voice about what they would like to do, and valuable experience about how to carry on a meeting, plan events, and research and compare various venues such as restaurants, banquet halls, neighborhood parks and schools. At the most recent reunion, Friday’s meet-and-greet was held at the subdivision club house where a family member lives. They passed out t-shirts and packages with information about the weekend’s events. Later the children went bowling and had pizza, and the adults went out for karaoke and food. Saturday a banquet was held at a restaurant. There was a family history program and awards for family members. Mildred Dudley received awards and recognition for starting the reunion, she had traveled to and supported every family reunion. She was awarded an engraved crown with jewels that will travel to each reunion starting in 2014. The banquet ended with a fashion show and an after-party featuring a DJ. Sunday there was a church service and farewell picnic. Over 200 family members attended from California, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Ohio, and Florida. The reunion ended with a family prayer and a group picture. The 2014 Lockett Family Reunion will be in the San Francisco Bay area. Mildred Dudley started a legacy that will carry on forever. She set the bar high and it’s up to the Lockett family to reach it. Reported by Angelia Adams-Carstarphen, Grand Blanc, Michigan

How to incorporate family history into your reunion


amily history and genealogy should be part of every reunion. People are curious. If done well, family history can be fun and exciting to the reunion attendees. 1. B  ase the reunion around a culture. Plan food, decorations and activities accordingly. 2. Choose a reunion site with significance: where an ancestor was born, where the old farm or ranch is or once stood, or even in a town that was settled by your ancestors. Take a field trip or tour. 3. Make a display. Include current photos, a large family tree, a timeline or pedigree chart, memorabilia and artifacts. The more visual you make genealogy, the more interesting it is. 4. Play games passed down through the family, like “run sheep run.” Stick pull and leg wrestling are classics among pioneer descendants, and children will enjoy playing them. Include games like kick-the-can because it was grandpa’s favorite as a kid. 5. Utilize technology. Create a social network group, use email or incorporate genealogical software and databases to share family information. 6. Invite a speaker, an expert to teach the family about genealogy or an historian who is expert about a certain ancestor or time period.

Mildred Dudley, in the middle with hat and sunglasses, is surrounded by her kids and grandkids. Photo taken at Blue Bell Beach in Flint, Michigan.

7. Plan around a milestone birthday. Grandma’s 90th can be a wonderful opportunity to explore her living history. 8. Make time for stories. Turn ancestor biographies into stories or ask older family members to tell stories from their past. Through story telling, “you get the spirit of family history.” From an article by Hillary Bowler in the Deseret News with ideas from lists and information posted on, and



The Rembert Family Reunion


ohn Neely Rembert, Sr., and Lizzie Lee were married in 1915 and soon started raising their family, which included 18 children. Five children died during infancy, and the 13 who grew to adulthood all believed in and promoted traditional family values. John Neely and Lizzie were religious people, though it was always known that Mrs. Lizzie was the God-fearing one of the two. She strongly enforced going to church and all church activities. It was not uncommon to spend all day Sunday in church. And if she packed food to take with her, you knew you would not be returning home until around 6 or 7 PM. Eventually all the children moved away and started their own families. Mrs. Lizzie lost her husband in 1970 after 55 years of marriage. A few days after the funeral, the children returned to their own homes, leaving Mrs. Lizzie alone with some grandchildren. She spoke of how good it was to have the children home, even though it was a sad occasion. She wondered if the children would return home for a happy time like the Fourth of July, and thus the annual Rembert Family Reunion was started. The reunion was always held the first weekend in July in Linden, Alabama, the home place. When Mrs. Lizzie was called to heaven, it was decided and agreed by her sons and daughters that the family reunion would continue to meet yearly at different locations. The sons and daughters have continued the tradition and have traveled to many places: Birmingham, Alabama; Detroit, Michigan; Niagara Falls, New York; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Stone Mountain, Georgia; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minneapolis; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Troy, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; and the 43rd reunion this year in Memphis, Tennessee. The 42nd reunion – in Metairie, Louisiana – lasted four days, starting Thursday evening with hospitality and registration. At registration each family member was given a gift bag that included a list of events, attractions, tours and activities that were planned, along with assorted snacks, juices, water, and games in the children’s bags. On Friday and Saturday, we toured New Orleans, including the area hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Some family members visited Bourbon Street, the Market Place and Casino.

Traditionally, Fridays are always our biggest eating day, with old-fashioned meals that include barbequed ribs, fried fish, fried chicken, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, sweet potato pies, cakes, watermelon, and on and on. On Saturday evenings, we always have a formal or semi-formal banquet, depending on the reunion theme. This year all family members dressed for the occasion and our theme was “Express Yourself.” After a one-hour greet and meet happy hour, members were seated for a program that included a welcome by the host family, a song and blessing of the food. Following the meal, a memorial tribute was held for deceased family members. Time was taken to recognize new guests and family members attending the reunion for the first time. Door prizes were given, along with special recognitions. Entertainment included a fashion show, talent contest, couples dance contest and later dancing for the rest of the evening with music provided by a Disc Jockey. On Sunday morning, members wore their family reunion t-shirts and we all met in the banquet room for our annual Unity Breakfast. Before eating, we started with a worship service. The farewell breakfast meal included bacon, eggs, grits, sausage, pancakes, toast, assorted fruits, hash browns, coffee, juice and milk. Before closing, a business meeting of only the brothers and sisters was held to discuss the next reunion location, then they returned to the banquet room to announce the location for the coming year. Members then commented about how much they enjoyed the reunion, and we ended the event with a closing prayer joined by everyone in a circle holding hands. Family and friends travel from 12 states. Our 2013 family reunion will be held in Memphis, Tennessee. Cherishing our heritage, our family reunion reminds us of who we are, while we have a glorious time, eating good food and share great reminiscences of our family. Reported by Jerre Curry, Fairfield, Alabama. Rembert Family Reunion

22 Reunions v

Honoring Our Past—Celebrating Our Future


t was a milestone celebration for the Gillyard-Johnson-Mahoney (GJM) Family Reunion, which celebrated its fifth family reunion in Mansfield and Shreveport, Louisiana. The area is where the family’s ancestors settled after traveling with their slaveholders from South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama. The reunion was full of history. Attendees were amazed to see signatures of US Presidents, from Glover Cleveland to Barack Obama, on family documents and correspondence. Birth, census, land, marriage and death records, plus business transactions and slave inventories were on display. There were proclamations, resolutions and welcome/greetings from local, state and US Senator Mary Landrieu. The four days were all about “Honoring Our Past – Celebrating Our Future,” and adding to our history. Each attendee was presented with a 44-page souvenir booklet which included the family’s history and copies of the proclamations and greetings, reunion itinerary and programs, and congratulatory ads which had been purchased by local businesses, family members and area churches. The reunion kicked off Thursday with a Day of Service, with family members volunteering at the Northwest Louisiana Regional Food Bank. Members reported over 350 hours of volunteer service in local communities since the 2010 Family Call to Action, including volunteer hours spent at local libraries and school classrooms, conducting Bible studies at shelters, sorting and packing food at food banks, preparing and delivering Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets, and serving as team members on Christian Missionary Trips. On Friday evening the history of our family’s ancestry was shared during the Opening Night Ceremony. The processional included the US flag which was flown over the US Capitol on July 4, 2012, in memory of our ancestors. The flag was carried by one of our Vietnam Era veterans. The family’s crest and mission statement emphasize our faith and the importance we place on education. Our family choir sang “Order My Steps” and two of our family ministers carried the Christian flag and Bible, a retired educator carried a textbook, and two teenagers – representing the future of our family – carried the family’s banner. A candle was

Thelma Henderson, service award winner.

children, family and community. Thelma had been a foster parent for many years and took an active role in promoting positive outcomes for youth in foster care. She and her husband were biological parents of seven children and the adoptive parents of three boys. After her husband’s death, Thelma adopted two more boys. She was truly deserving of the award. On Sunday, a time of praise and worship featured the family choir, an inspiring message from the pulpit. There was also the presentation of our Lifetime Achievement Award to Lula Gillyard Dixon chosen for her outstanding lifetime commitment, strength and unwavering commitment to the family’s youth, her church and community for more than seven decades. She served as the church’s

lit and the reunion planning team leader officially declared the Gillyard-JohnsonMahoney Family Reunion open. Fun and games took place Saturday morning and afternoon. Children and adults played table games, competing for prizes and trophies. Saturday night was an Each table was given a name, which was used as part of the centerpieces to share a family Evening of Elegance story. Favorite flowers and plants of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts were placed as we walked the Red in treasured family heirlooms: old coffee pots, wash bowls, tea kettles, Dutch ovens and other objects. They served as great conversation pieces as we relived memories of seeing similar Carpet. Centerpieces arrangements in our homes as we grew up. for the tables again told a story as we continued honoring our Youth Director, Financial Secretary, Junior past. Acrylic and plastic cubes were made and Senior Missions Director; and holds into a lighted display case containing items (depression glassware, World War II Ration memberships in the local YWCA, Louisiana Heart Association, the Disabled Books, S&H Stamp Booklets, almanacs Children’s Association and others. dating back to the 1920s, jewelry and Finally, there was the extinguishing of handbags from the 1930s, old smoothing our reunion candle ending the 5th GJM irons, Mrs. Stewart Bluing, Octagon Soap, Family Reunion. tobacco tins and cigar boxes) on loan from During our time together, we felt we had private collections of family members. truly honored the perseverance and Conversations were sparked and smiles inspiration of our ancestors and celebrated and tears were observed, as the items were our future. We left with a stronger sense of reminiscent of childhood memories and our personal legacy and a desire to build stories we had heard. on that legacy so that it is meaningful, The highlight of the Evening of positive and lasting. Visit www.gillyardElegance was the presentation of The Family Community Service Award to Reported by Family Historian, Thelma Henderson, who embodied the Bettie Griggs, Compton, California. spirit of those who enrich the lives of AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 23


Maynard Family Reunion and Stephens Family Reunion


hena Benus hosts two family reunions, one for horseshoes, and much more. There is something her dad’s side and the other for her mom’s. Both for every age and physical ability. have large families, so it would be impossible to This year they are having a crafting contest. At have them together. But reunions are on last year’s reunion, those who wanted to could take consecutive days. Reunions change location every a jellyroll (fabric strips rolled up) and had a year year, but are always in Kentucky, with recent ones to come up with a project using it. They will bring held in Archer Park in Prestonsburg and at it back this year and everyone will vote for their Paintsville Lake. favorite. The project with the most votes wins a Everyone is invited to bring something in prize. Shena will display a family tree this year so remembrance of those who have passed away. It everyone can see how they are related and where can be a photo, favorite food, etc. Food is potluck. they are on the tree. Everyone brings an entrée, side dish and/or dessert. Shena finances reunions. Donations and a White Shena sends “save the date” postcards with the Elephant Sale help. Everyone brings wrapped Sandy Osborne, and Lorraine Hamilton, reunion date about four months before the event, gift(s) to be auctioned off. Gifts can be anything: Identifying old family photos. then follows up with baked items, crafts, unwanted gifts (we all have a newsletter and those stuck in the back of some closet or drawer), gift cards, tools, survey with details et cetera. Items can be like new or gently used; no one has to buy about the special anything for the auction. It’s a lot of fun because you don’t know day about three what you are bidding on until the winner opens it up. months before. She Shena started reunions for her parents and their siblings with created a family an open invitation that if anyone else wanted to organize the next reunion webpage for one to let her know. No one has yet, so she is more than happy to those who are not on continue doing it. facebook. She Reported by Shena Benus, Westville, Indiana creates a facebook event page and often posts updates and questions, asking for help on reunion day. Sisters! Front row: Anna Lou Blackburn, Polly Stephens; To break the ice, Back row: Jenny Jervis, Della Hackworth, and Emma Hunt Shena introduces herself and makes a point to talk to everyone, one-on-one. This year, since she’s opened both reunions to siblings of her grandfather, she will point out which families are present. She keeps kids in mind. If kids are bored, they’re not going to want to stay or even come, so the parents would leave or not come at all. She makes sure there is a variety of activities for them to do and a playground nearby. She plans activities and games. This year the reunion will be held at a lake, so they will have the playground, wading area in the water (no swimming allowed per Cousins meeting for the 1st time: Aiden Benus, Stelian Benus, Chase Elswick, park rules), fishing, hiking, basketball, volleyball, marina, Zach Garrett, Logan Stephens, and Andrey Benus

Maynard Family Reunion.

24 Reunions v



Where should we have a reunion?


here to have a reunion is a very large and looming question. And location is one of the most important questions you’ll have to answer at the dawn of your planning. Once your “where?” (and “when?”) questions are answered, all the fun stuff to plan begins. Following is a small compendium of reunion places and why they were chosen. How do you choose your reunion place and what are your criteria? We’d love to hear from you. Send to

How lots of reunions choose their reunion destinations/locations


eonsha Bernard, Houston, Texas, reports that the WileyJefferson Family Reunion location was chosen based on where the majority of family members live. The reunion has alternated between the two small towns where our ancestors were reared, which are Pledger and Van Vleck in Matagorda County, Texas. Luckily, the community centers are very affordable! Kristopher Smith, Coral Gables, Florida, is planning the second Jenkins Family Reunion, on his maternal side. They chose Jacksonville, Florida, because most of the family members currently reside in North Florida and Southern Georgia. They

took a vote at the end of the last reunion to decide where the next event would be held. Francene Johnson wrote that the last Brandon Family Reunion was held in Little Rock, Arkansas. The next reunion was held in Hope, Arkansas, which she calls “the root of our family.” Starla Ingersol reports that the Ingersol Family Reunion & Travel Club goes someplace different every two years for three to five days. Their last reunion was in Cancun, Mexico; the next will be in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Doug Brubaker, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shared this photo of the Brubaker Families of America 70th reunion in front of “our ‘A’ family homestead, same land as the original land granted by William Penn.” The homestead still stands, now on the campus of Homestead Village Retirement Community and the Church of the Apostles UCC. The barn and other outbuildings also still stand; they are in use by the Retirement Community.

26 Reunions v

Picking Port for a reunion


im Lapp, Fox Lake, Illinois, planned the Bergland Family Reunion for 75 members in Port Washington, Wisconsin, because they love Lake Michigan. His family agreed that he hit the jackpot when he picked Port Washington. “The reason I did a good job is because Port did such a good job.” Berglund is the surname of Lapp’s mother’s family of 11 children who grew up in Nebraska. “But it’s too hot in summer there to hold a reunion,” said Lapp. Each reunion is planned by a different family member at a different location. Lapp found Port Washington to be a beautiful location, with everything within walking distance. It fit all their needs. They shopped, visited the farmers market and took three charter fishing excursions. Everyone caught fish. They held a softball game, a picnic and a family reunion dinner to celebrate the 94th birthday of Lapp’s uncle, Harvey Lentz. Berglund reunions were initially held every five years; now they are every four years. Members come from Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, Texas, California, Oregon, Minnesota and Illinois. From a story by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm in the Ozaukee Press, Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Port Washington, Wisconsin

Albee Family Reunions


y two brothers, one sister and I get together every other year for a reunion. The first one, 14 years ago, was close to the birthday of our late father, who lived to age 95. My siblings have lived mostly in California, Arizona, and Montana, while I stayed in Wisconsin. Over the years, we met for weekends in Vail and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Lake Tahoe and San Diego in California, Glacier National Park in Montana, and Wisconsin Dells. We choose pleasant local motels who let us put up our Albee Family Reunion banner, move picnic tables and chairs so we can mingle, catch up and drink a toddy or two. We generally have 25 to 35 immediate family, nieces and nephews. When it was my year to make plans, my wife and I chose Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, with the most beautiful lake, cruise ships, great restaurants, beaches, hiking and biking. When we had to pick a place to stay, one look convinced us Lake Geneva Motel was the place. It is clean, and offers a heated outdoor swimming pool, picnic tables, beautiful trees, grills, spotless accommodations and accommodating people operating it. This year there were 22 of us, including our 17-month-old grandson, 9- and 11-year-old granddaughters, and 9-, 10- and 12-yearold grandnephews, who all kept us occupied, happy, and grateful for such great accommodations. Reported by Jack Albee, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Haffner Family Reunion


alentine Heiffner’s 1882 last will and testament deeded land on his Nankin, Ohio, farm to be used as a family burial plot. His descendants were interred there until 1950. Descendants of the Ashland County, Ohio, pioneer celebrated their 104th family reunion in the cemetery, although they have met in many locations throughout their history. Reunion minutes go back to the 18th family gathering, in 1926. The current owners of the land surrounding the cemetery offered the family the opportunity to return to its roots. When mailing out notices, reunion secretary Ellen Kauffman purposely listed the time as 12:38 PM because she says people remember odd numbers like that much better than even ones like 12:30. “It keeps them from straggling in late,” she said. From an article by Anne Miller in the Mansfield News Journal, Mansfield, Ohio

Close to home is good!


ook into state parks when planning family reunion locations. State parks offer some of the least expensive yet most beautiful places for family reunions compared to privately-owned commercial destination sites. Some even have covered or indoor facilities. Do a search of your chosen geographical area’s state parks to see what they offer. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 27


Reunion for 65 … your rooms are ready!! by Karen Robertson


ave you ever had a reunion where the whole place was yours? Our triannual BROLRA (BRassfield, bOLtz, RAy) reunion was at The Tides Laguna Beach Hotel in California. There were 65 of us (counting every man, woman, and child), and we booked all 21 rooms. Talk about just the right fit!! It was perfect. The Tides was built in 1949 but had been poorly maintained until nine years ago, when it changed hands. Now it has been beautifully refurbished, each room decorated in an individual and unique style. My husband and I were in the Phyllis Diller room, which suited me perfectly because Phyllis and I shared a comedic spirit. Judy and Joe, the managers of The Tides, are over-the-top accommodating and hospitable. From beach towels to wheelchairs, they met our every need. We considered making them honorary BROLRAS. The biggest attraction is the saltwater pool area, which is much more than just a place to swim. There are water aerobics, cannon ball contests, and noodle races. The spacious pool area is the hub of activity, with everything you need to party; lots of tables and lounge chairs with umbrellas. For those who like to imbibe and stay close without getting their feet wet, there was a bar near the pool. The huge gas barbecue in another area had cooking utensils, a refrigerator, and a counter with plenty of room for food preparation. There was a place to serve catered tacos, our own barbecued chicken,

The pool area was the hub of activity.

hotdogs, hamburgers, and potluck dishes. The well-furnished fireplace area alternately entertained poker players, s’more-makers, and anyone else who wanted to curl up and visit by the fire. On cool Pacific Coast nights, it was a good place to be. The Tides is right on Pacific Coast Highway, and a passing trolley makes driving almost unnecessary. Considering the traffic and lack of parking in the area, the Tides’ 21 parking spaces are valuable real estate. We walked to the ocean, restaurants, grocery store, art galleries, village shopping and Pageant of the Masters. Just a half block away is a gorgeous three-block ocean/cliff walk

The barbeque area had plenty of room for cooking.

along Heisler Park, with an amphitheater and stairs down to the beach and tidal pools. Amusement parks, baseball games, and crowds are all available in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, just 30 to 50 miles away. We rented the upper room of Hennessey’s Tavern just a half-mile away for our talent show and awards finale. It’s all downhill until your return trip, when it’s time to take the trolley. If we weren’t bent on going to a new place for each reunion, I’m sure we’d return to The Tides. Visit

About the author

Visiting by the fireplace.

28 Reunions v

Karen Robertson is a standup comic, writer, and inspirational speaker. Visit;

Looking tools

If not a hotel, then where?


ot all reunions stay at hotels or resorts or even home. There are many other possible choices. Consider some of these.

For all venues

m Are there group rates? m Do discounts apply? m Is a deposit required and by when? What is the attrition, refund/cancellation policy? m Can venues provide references (names and contact info) of reunion organizers who have used the site recently? m Can a reunion member do an onsite inspection? m How far is the site from the airport, train or bus station, or the nearest interstate? Is shuttle transportation provided? Is there access to public transportation? m Review the contract carefully for all the details you discussed. Hometown reunion

m If your home isn’t large enough, is there a nearby public park or nature preserve? m Do they take reservations? m Do you need a permit? If so, when can you apply? How much it will cost? m Is the site accessible by car or bus? Is it wheelchair-accessible? m Is there parking? Does the park provide security? m Is there a shelter or pavilion to protect you from heat or rain? m How close are restrooms, or do you need to rent a portable toilet? m Is there water for drinking and/or washing? m Are grills permitted? Or available? m Are there enough picnic tables/benches? Is there a shady area? m What amenities are there (baseball, tennis, a playground, beach or lake, swimming, boating)? m Is electricity available, or do you need to bring a generator for microphones, musical instruments, etc? m What are the rules regarding alcohol? Family camp

Some families prefer to camp in tents, RVs or trailers. And some campgrounds offer small cabins for less adventurous members. m When do you need to reserve? m What are campground fees? m How close is the nearest beach, city, historical area, mountains, hiking trails, shopping, state or national park, theme park, and/or tourist area? m What accommodations are available (tents, RVs, trailers, lodges, or bunks)? m Are there water and electricity hookups? m What amenities are provided (grills, campfires, covered shelter, food, ice, outhouses/restrooms, hot/cold showers, tables and benches, trash pickup, laundry)? m What activities are available (boating, sports, hiking, swimming, fishing)? Rent dorm rooms

College dorm rooms are sometimes available during summer months. Contact college housing departments. m When are rooms available? m When do they need to be reserved? m Where are the nearest recreation areas (beach, city, historical area, mountains, hiking trails, shopping, state or national park, theme park and/or tourist area)? m What amenities are available in the rooms (bathrooms/showers in rooms or halls, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, ice)? m What amenities are shared (bathrooms, showers)? m Are rooms air-conditioned? m Are linens and towels provided? m Are there common rooms for meetings, meals, parties? Is there an extra charge?

Looking for a reunion place?


f you are just beginning to look for your reunion place, these are questions you will want to answer as you consider your decision. Location Decision Log Name of site__________________________ City/State/Zip_________________________ ___________________________________ Phone/Fax___________________________ Contact person’s name and title___________ ___________________________________ Daily rate____________________________ Security/Damage deposit________________ Maximum occupancy___________________ How much notice required?______________ Kitchen facilities available? Included in fee? ___________________________________ Tables and chairs available? Included in fee? ___________________________________ Barbecues available? Included in fee?_____ Recreational facilities on site? Included in fee? ___________________________________ Clean, functional restrooms? Electricity, hot/ cold water available?___________________ Staff available for hire?_________________ Shuttle for hire?_______________________ Easy to find?_________________________ Plenty of parking?_____________________ Alcoholic beverages allowed?____________ Music/dance area?_____________________ Accommodations nearby?_______________ Handicap accessible?__________________ Located indoors or outdoors? If outdoors, is it a covered area?_______________________ Does it feel “reunion-friendly?”___________ Any adverse policies?__________________ Flexible cancellation policy?_____________ Additional comments___________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 29


Looking for a reunion hotel?


oan Arning planned the Hagood Family Reunion using to book the reunion. She reported that they were very pleased with Boxcar Willie Hotel in Branson, Missouri, which they booked through the site. “It is much easier to get bids for the reunion through the website than to contact hotels ourselves.” The Hotelplanner staff put out the Request for Proposals (RFP). Joan recommended that the new reunion coordinators use the service. is a great tool to help you research, reserve and promote your next reunion. It is a reverse auction site, where you state your wishes, and hotels respond. You complete a quick online location

search form and the system provides a range of options. You receive organized, detailed descriptions of all amenities, location, and specifications before you make any decisions. Always 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 can help you through these and any other issues you encounter. The Account Rep will also help you set up a reunion website free of charge. You can use the website to promote the reunion and keep track of members as they confirm their reservations. There is a podcast at explaining how the reverse auction site works.

How to rent vacation properties


hristine Karpinski, author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition, says the benefits of staying in a vacation rental home far outweigh the (extremely minimal) risks. These properties are more spacious and often less expensive than hotel rooms. They’re appointed with all the comforts of home, they’re private, kid-friendly and often pet-friendly as well. By taking precautions, you can avoid getting scammed. “Mostly,” Karpinski says, “it’s about following the first commandment of internet commerce: Thou shalt do everything possible to verify the identity of the person to whom thou sendest thy money.” These tips will help you safely book a vacation home.

v Make sure the owner really is the owner. It’s easy to look up property tax records in many states. Google the county property appraiser to make sure the person you’re renting from actually owns the property. Google the homeowner association to confirm the owner’s identity.

v Cyber-stalk the owner. Cross-reference across websites, facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so forth. Make sure the place of residence (where the owner lives – not where the vacation home is located) is the same as the information the owner provided. v Look for reviews. v Speak with the owner by phone. Listen carefully to everything he or she has to say. If something just feels “off,” move on to another property. v Pay only by credit card. Don’t use PayPal, don’t send a personal check, and NEVER, EVER pay by wire transfer. v Use major vacation rental websites. Major websites tend to

have better safeguards in place.

v Listen to your gut. It’s often right. Do your research.

“Scammers usually count on people not paying attention, not heeding their intuition,” Karpinski says. “That still, small voice exists for a reason. Listen to it.”

Tips to sharing a drama-free vacation home


here are many issues that should be addressed before everyone walks into the reunion house. First is splitting costs and chores. 1) Pay per bedroom. Adult couples who each have a bedroom is a no-brainer. Split the cost of the rental equally. It gets more complicated when it’s you, your significant other, your sister and her three kids, your grandparents, and one single friend. The fair thing is for each person to pay for his or her own room and, include pullout sofas as bedrooms. 2) Food. Everyone takes care of their own personal extravagances. The best plan is for one person from each family to sit down upon arrival to prepare a shopping list, or email it around before arrival. Include what children can, or want, to eat. Parents vary in what they allow their children, so lists are important. 3) Divvy up supplies. Perhaps someone who is driving can bring some superstore items to split between families. This includes toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, plates, and plastic utensils. If the reunion is long enough and the group 30 Reunions v

large enough, buying these in quantity and splitting the cost is a great way to save money. Set a per-family price limit to know what you are going to spend. 4) Household chores and kitchen duty. Nothing causes bad feelings faster than if a few people think they’re doing all of the work. Everyone is responsible for keeping things neat and clean in common rooms, including vacuuming or mopping when needed. Write an itinerary for cooking and minor cleaning responsibilities. Ask if anyone has preferences. Once those issues are out of the way, it’s easier to enjoy this special time together. Finally, give people their space. Sometimes a good book in a hammock or a quiet walk is all that is desired.

About the author

Kathy Bertone and her husband have enjoyed entertaining in their three homes, where she continues to perfect her hosting expertise. Kathy is the author of the new book, The Art of the Visit: Being the Perfect Host, Becoming the Perfect Guest. Visit From an article in The Weissman Report.

Black Canyon Inn, a vacation rental


he first settlers came to Estes Valley, Colorado, during the mid-1800s. Thousands (if not millions) of people travel through Estes Park (open year-round) to reach Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is the biggest draw to the region, but not the only one. The town of Estes Park is rich in history and tradition, with an abundance of wildlife, fine galleries, shopping for most anyone’s taste and lodging to fit your needs. Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park doesn’t mean you must rough it. Nearby Black Canyon Inn, a beautiful vacation rental property, features spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom condos. During summer you’ll find an outdoor heated pool; in winter you can run heated water into your private jetted tub and relax after a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. You can prepare your

Mitchell kids singalong with Cowboy Brad who can entertain your reunion too!

own food in the fully equipped kitchen, or let the Twin Owl Steakhouse prepare your dinner. A game night or icebreakers can be enjoyed in the brand new Sloan’s Creek room. The intimate Black Canyon Inn is a quick half-mile from downtown Estes Park. Not only are these condos spacious, but economical, often costing less than a hotel room. Imagine your family sharing a progressive dinner between the condos! Or walking downtown and sightseeing for the afternoon. The Mitchell Family Reunion reconnected with cousins from Alaska at the Black Canyon Inn in Estes Park, Colorado. They’d not seen one another for years. Steve Mitchell, from Estes Park, Colorado, said “The folks The Mitchell cousins from Alaska brought wonderful fresh at Black Canyon Inn were seafood with them. Here the cousins are bringing the gracious hosts. They made us seafood feast to the table at Black Canyon Inn. feel like family.” Contact Sara Kleiber, Sales & Event Manager at Black Canyon Inn, 970-586-8113, ext. 11;

Theme park survival guide


our planning and fun can start right away ... now. Build kids’ anticipation. Visit the park’s website together. Understand the map, decide what attractions to see, and learn about shows, character parades, fireworks, and laser displays. Tell kids park rules. They may need to wait patiently to board a ride. They’ll likely have to wear safety belts or protective gear. They’ll need to keep their hands and feet inside all attractions. Some rides will be off limits because of minimum height

restrictions. Establish a “souvenir allowance” to spend at the end of the day. Follow a park on twitter or facebook, to see flash promotions. Last minute offers can include discounted nighttime attendance, buy­one­get­one­free deals, and savings on meals or souvenirs. Never buy anything in a theme park that you can buy outside the park. Bring packaged snacks, wet wipes, Ziploc bags, a change of clothes, disposable rain ponchos, sunscreen, bug repellent, water bottles, a small first aid kit, small toys, coloring books, and glow­in­the­dark sticks and necklaces. Wear closed­toe shoes to the park. Plan rides. Arrive 15 minutes before gates open and head for the most popular rides first. Pack a lunch, or make reservations to eat early or late. Then, while everyone else is eating, enjoy shorter wait times at attractions that are otherwise jammed. Pin your name and cell phone number inside kids’ clothes. Take a picture of your kids in their park visit clothes each morning in case you have to ask for help in locating them. Save money and time buying park passes online. From a feature in Trip Coach on Budget Travel by Fran Golden AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 31


Is cruising an option?


I would like to get ideas about family reunions on cruise ships. Do you know anyone who has taken these trips and can give me ideas to try to coordinate one for my family?

Thank You

Shirley Byrd Mallory/Robinson/Franklin Family Reunion, Burbank, California


I contacted a couple readers who have done cruises. I also suggested that Shirley post her request on our facebook page to see if any of those folks can help. Devonia Wilson, Doraville, Georgia, was very generous in sharing her Bryant Family Reunion experience. I worked directly with the Group Sales Department of the Carnival Cruise Line. In the beginning, I had trouble either getting travel agents to call me back or they were too costly in my opinion. Some charge a fee on top of the price per person and some want the credits that you earn for the cruise ship. After a few upfront steps, it was pretty simple. We gathered rates and sent out a survey to family members to establish the best time to go. Once that was decided, the Carnival Group Department allowed us to hold a number of rooms for a certain period of time. Each family member who wanted to go had to call in and pay a deposit ($100, I believe) to secure their spot. We sent out correspondence prior to the block being set up, just to give people warning that the $100 would be due in the next month or so. Once we set up the block, we sent another correspondence giving them a deadline to call in and make their deposit. Family members called

32 Reunions v

Carnival directly. So the great thing is that I never had to deal with the money. Carnival can provide you with reports of who has registered, paid in full, etc. Meeting space: For groups, with every six or eight rooms booked, you earn a free room. We didn’t want anyone to have the free room, so we looked at spreading the credit across each room. That didn’t pan out to much of a discount. What they did allow us to do was use the credit earned to have private reunion fellowship in the Michelangelo Lounge. This worked out great. We didn’t have to pay a dime for this. With their meeting room space, they require you to get a beverage package. We got the minimum one, which included drinks and snacks (nuts, chips, etc.). We also had an attendant who served the refreshments. This package would have cost about $5 per person plus a 15% service charge, but our free room credit took care of all of it. We had our event at 2PM – after lunch but before dinner – so that we would not incur extra cost by having an event for which we needed major catering. We also had a microphone. Group transportation: We didn’t arrange for this. Family members were coming from various places. Also, some of them stayed in Orlando after the cruise or arrived a few days earlier to enjoy the local

sites. This worked great for our family. Dinner: You can arrange with the cruise line group department to have all family members seated in the same section each night for dinner. The Cruise scavenger hunt was a big hit with our family. I don’t have our form anymore, but you can google this to get ideas. The first day onboard, we gave out a form people used to create teams of three each, and we had various ranges of points. For example, a picture with the captain was worth 100 points (they had to show us the picture on their camera). The preteens really got into this and eventually won the contest. They were more excited about gathering points for this to the point where one day they didn’t even want to go to their kiddie activities. Margaret Malsam, Denver, Colorado, also addressed Shirley’s question. My husband and I have planned two family cruise reunions. 1. For his family – just his brothers and sisters and their spouses. It was very easy to do through a travel agent who specializes in cruises. Check your local newspaper or phone directory or go online to travel agents in the city where you live. 2. For our 50th anniversary. This was for 20 people – all our children, their spouses and children, plus a priest to say a Mass and have us renew our vows. That took a lot of coordination. My son did a lot of work to get a cruise line that had good activities for kids. I worked closely with a travel agent specializing in cruises to get a free meeting room and other bonuses. It was hard to find a good date for everyone, so we picked a date that was okay; it was in June, two months before our anniversary, but we celebrated then and had a great time. Really, the cost was not much more than if we had rented a hall and hired a band, photographer and a caterer. That would have been just for one day. This way, we enjoyed three nights and four days together. We heartily recommend a cruise reunion for anniversaries. I wrote stories about each reunion for Reunions magazine.


Riley Family Reunion Cruise


revious Riley Family Reunions were the usual three-day events featuring banquets, picnics and a church service. Then they tried something new. Instead of negotiating with hotels and caterers and trying to coordinate activities, they opted to let Carnival Cruise Line do the planning. The Carnival Elation was the setting for the Riley Family Reunion. And it had been more than 12 years since descendants of Louis and Jane Lane Riley got together for a reunion, making this very special. Building on the theme “Cruise to Our Future … Roots of Our Past,” the reunion started in New Orleans on Thursday afternoon with a meeting at a cousin’s house. Family members received their registration bags. which included the family t-shirt and “history book.” Then family members went to the Port of New Orleans to board the ship for the four-day reunion cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. Saturday was official “t-shirt” day. Wearing the navy blue Riley t-shirts around Cozumel, family members enjoyed a day of sightseeing and shopping. Some participated in a submarine excursion, while others enjoyed a relaxed day aboard ship. While on the ship, family members danced and attended shows, and one even got the nerve to participate in karaoke. Even with so many activities to enjoy, the best part was having the opportunity to sit and talk with one another. Five branches of the family and six states were represented. The time spent together was so enjoyable that plans are in the works to take a regular family vacation. Reported by Vicki Riley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Riley Family Reunion aboard the Carnival Elation.

Even class reunions take to the high seas


ccording to an article by Renee Busby in the Mobile, Alabama, PressRegister, when the Blount High School Class of 1961 gathers for a reunion, they don’t rent a venue. They board a ship. Over the past 20 years, classmates have celebrated reunions in various ports of call. Some in the travel industry say cruising the high seas has become a popular way to rekindle friendships with old classmates.

Meridian (Louisiana) High School Class of 1990 took a five-day western Caribbean cruise for their 15th year reunion. The Clovis (California) High School Class of 1957 chose a cruise for their 50-year class reunion. Weymouth (Massachusetts) High School planned an 11th annual all-classes reunion in Orlando, Florida, for two days in February, then a five-night cruise after for anyone interested.

Does your reunion have a pledge? Many reunions begin their program by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Some reunions also have their own pledge, usually written by a clever reunion member. Several reunions have given permission for us to share their pledges which we will soon do online and in an issue of the magazine. Does your reunion have a pledge? If so, please consider sharing it. Send to AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 33

where? The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area

Slavery to Civil Rights: Emancipation Proclamation 150th


he Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, known as the region Where America Happened™, contains more history than any other in the nation. It includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities; and sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, and War of 1812, and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation. This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide swath of land stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. It contains historic destinations that chronicle the African American experience from slavery to civil rights, including the catalyst for the preliminary issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, to the plethora of Civil War battlefields. Visit Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground. org or 540-882-4929. The JTHG Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled historic, natural, and cultural landscape within the region from Gettysburg to Monticello.

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Choose Newport News!


f you’re ever tasked with planning a family, class or military reunion, did you know the Newport News (Virginia) Tourism Office can be an invaluable resource? We collect hotel proposals, provide service contacts, seek catering and tour company referrals, provide attendance-building materials, coordinate guest speakers and picnic shelters, assist with tour itineraries, stuff welcome bags and man hospitality tables. We offer suggestions for things to see and do in Newport News, including unique venues to host special events. For example, who knew no military affiliation is needed to use the US Army Transportation Museum for an event? And the best part is, it’s free! What a great place to explore America’s military history, but an even better place to make your own history! The view from Victory Landing Park in Newport News, Virginia.

In Newport News, you can:

Visit historic homes, experience a 4-star “Golf Digest-rated” championship course or spend a day in the largest municipal park in Virginia for fishing, boating, hiking and biking. Visit our “Victory Arch,” a memorial with an eternal flame honoring all men and women of the Armed Forces, or shop at one of our unique locally owned stores or fabulous museum gift shops. Learn about all fascinating aspects of our state at the Virginia Living Museum, including habitats, wildlife and plant species you would encounter in a lifetime of outdoor adventures in the Commonwealth! Visit The Mariners’ Museum, designated by Congress as America’s National Maritime Museum, including the USS Monitor Center, home to artifacts like the Civil War Ironclad’s iconic gun turret. Newport News Tourism offers customized site inspections, complimentary attendance-building materials – brochures – and expert assistance to plan offsite tours. During your registration, we can provide a travel counselor to answer tourism-related questions, hand out welcome bags, and provide professional assistance to ensure a successful reunion. Contact Barb Kleiss, Group Marketing Manager, 888-493-7386;; Request a Group Planner guide.

There’s no place like Plano, Texas


or reunions, there’s no place like Plano, Texas – the biggest playground in Texas. At the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex your reunion will play and create memories together. Whether it’s a family, military, class or other reunion, you can choose from a variety of options – from 4-star hotels to economy properties. It is centrally located in the US and within a 30-minute drive of most major sporting, adventure and entertainment attractions throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. What to do in Plano? Explore the Interurban Railway Museum, Historic Downtown Plano and Southfork Ranch. Known as the world’s most famous ranch and home of the “Dallas” TV series, Southfork attracts visitors from around the world. Visit the museum, the Ewing Mansion, gift shops and Miss Ellie’s Deli. Follow that with a Chuck Wagon Dinner. In nearby Plano, enjoy the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus. Near and around the Metroplex are a dozen aviation-related museums. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is about the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Also of interest are the Museum of Biblical Art, Dallas World Aquarium, Medieval Times Dinner theater, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Visit popular sports venues like Cowboy Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, next to The Ballpark in Arlington with the Legends of the Game Baseball Museum and Learning Center. At the Fort Worth Stockyards, cowboy history comes to life. The Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a wide variety of reunion planning services. From helping select a facility to assisting with lodging requirements, transportation, or finding that just-right picnic or outdoor venue, the Plano CVB staff is available to make your reunion hassle-free and fun. Contact Kay Summerville, SMERF and Government Sales Manager, 972-941-5861;;



Work with your CVB


hether your reunion is in your city or someplace far away, you must take advantage of the local convention and visitors bureau, known as a CVB. CVBs can be a reunion planner’s right hand. Contact CVBs while you are deciding where to hold your reunion. They will provide information to help you make a decision. Then, take advantage of the many services the CVB offers. CVBs offer many services and most are complimentary. v assistance gathering accommodation and venue proposals v site inspections v promotional literature to send to your members v help locating services; transportation, recreation, catering, picnic places v suggest tour itineraries and access to group rates. CVB staff members’ knowledge of their city, sites and activities is key, but their personalized service is the greatest benefit. For many more details, listen to our podcast: What convention and visitors bureaus can do for you! on

Hofsas House Hotel gets crafty!


he Theis family has provided six decades of European hospitality at its beautiful Bavarian-inspired Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Think of the Hofsas House as a girls’ get away. They offer European ambiance for a sewing, quilting or knitting retreat. Natural light pours into the poolside meeting facility that includes a woodburning fireplace and full kitchen. Use the room 24 hours! Quilt or knit at anytime of the day or night! Groups can also make use of the hotel’s kitchen. Hofsas House is within walking distance of a stunning beach, fine restaurants and shops, and wine tasting. The Hofsas House’s 38 spacious, one-of-akind rooms boast European comfort and lovely views, fireplaces, private balconies, wet bars, kitchens and patios. Visit 36 Reunions v

Bring the whole family to Kissimmee


hen it comes time to plan your next family reunion, look no further than Kissimmee, Florida. Kissimmee offers year-round beautiful weather, exceptional entertainment and activities sure to delight every family member. You will find a variety of lodging options perfect for any size group and budget. Kissimmee is close to all the Central Florida theme parks: Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and the new Legoland. Outdoor adventures include looking for ’gators on an airboat ride through the Everglades, soaring the sky on a hot air balloon ride, ziplining through treetops and putting shots on the mini-golf course. As a bonus, Kissimmee will provide free personalized t-shirts for your reunion as a special souvenir to remind you of the memories you created in Kissimmee. To qualify for free t-shirts, you must register and book your reunion through Experience Kissimmee. Go to or contact our family reunion specialist Jadeine Shives at

We had a wonderful time in Kissimmee and everyone loved the t-shirts. Thank you so much for your help. — Carrie Roebuck, Woods Family Reunion, Stone Mountain, Georgia

Letter from Sharon Miller: Thanks to Destinations West at Beaver Village City, Colorado, our family has enjoyed at least six wonderful and very memorable family reunions. Our first reunion there was in 2000. I was searching for a place where our immediate family (92 members) could all gather together for fun and meals. Beaver Village condos are wonderful, fully equipped, and very reasonably priced. It has a great deck attached to a large kitchen and a huge meeting room in the clubhouse where families can all get together and cook, eat, play games, visit and enjoy the beautiful mountains of our great state of Colorado. Since the year 2000, we have lost our father and mother and six other family members, but the family reunions at Winterpark and Beaver Village over the years are some of our very best memories. In fact our reunion planned for June will be great. And we look forward to many more joining us. Thanks to Beaver Village, Sharon Miller, Denver, Colorado, Symes Family Reunion

Contact Paula Isakson, Destinations West at Beaver Village, 800-824-8438; direct: 970-531-9631;;



Odyssey Resorts


ucked away on the North Shore of Minnesota is a set of little-known resorts nestled in a breathtaking setting. Essentially, this is an untapped travel destination. Odyssey Resorts include: v Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior v Grand Superior Lodge on Lake Superior v Caribou Highlands Lodge on Lutsen Mountains v East Bay Suites in Grand Marais v Beacon Pointe Resort in Duluth Explore and Experience

“Explore! with Odyssey Resorts” is a multi-resort activities program offering countless activities and amenities free to all guests who stay at any of Odyssey’s five resorts. Rather than booking accommodations and then planning and paying extra for activities and amenities, “Explore! with Odyssey Resorts” provides guests of all ages and abilities the following free activities (and free transportation if the activity they choose is at a nearby Odyssey resort): guided river canoe trip, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, lawn games, nightly s’mores by the campfire, countless water activities for the kids, guided hiking among Minnesota’s most beautiful woodland trails, Trek® bikes and biking gear, naturalist programs and birding, kids’ camp (ages 4-10), and live evening music. Annual events include the Hopped Up Beer Festival, Wine and Culinary Weekend, wild game dinners, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Visit

Columbus offers Experiential Reunions


eunion groups gathering in Ohio’s capital city find much more than a great place. Experience Columbus, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, has two full-time staffers dedicated to working with reunions to help plan the perfect meet-up. And the Experience Columbus team of event specialists was among the first in the US to craft its groundbreaking series of one-of-a-kind experiential tours. Reunion planners can offer unforgettable experiences. Experience Columbus has developed and tested more than six-dozen Experiential Tours from which groups can choose. Or you can combine several tours to meet your needs and interests. These are a few possibilities: participate in a unique hands-on factory tour of the only metal whistle manufacturer in the US, or make hot sauce and salsa at America’s mostawarded spicy foods creator, CaJohn’s Fiery Foods. Learn how profesional baseball bats are made at Phoenix Bat Company and then make your own wooden bat, engraving it with your reunion name. The Phoenix Bat Company Experience Columbus pairs pefectly with an outing at a Columbus Clippers baseball game at Huntington Park. Reunion Planning Seminar Or arrange a Food Adventures tour to learn Saturday, October 5, 2013 about preparing some of Columbus’s culinary Contact offerings and enjoy samples from taco trucks, tours-reunions. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams or the foodiefavorite North Market’s wine tasting and wine making. Or stop at Candle Lab to create your own soy candles, with customized reunion label and scent. Or take an interactive history tour, followed by a meal served by costumed historical characters who tell lively stories at Miss Emma’s Table in the architecturally stunning Ohio Statehouse. Experience Columbus offers reunion planners strong support services, lodging and dining options, and an array of experiential group tours. Columbus is the perfect destination for an unforgettable reunion. Contact Experience Columbus for assistance with hotels, attractions, a Reunion Planning Checklist, and goodies like visitor guides, maps, bags and pens. Contact Rodger Dudley, 614-222-6136; rdudley@, for family reunions or Arica Billing, 614-222-6118;, for military and school reunions.

Affordable Family Fun

N Web page: Call: 414.263.4567 Fax: 414.263.6331 e-mail: write: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727

Subscribe! Call 1-800-373-7933 38 Reunions v

orth Carolina’s Coast is a family vacation place that won’t break the bank. This Atlantic beach destination is one of the only remaining natural barrier island systems in the world. Roam the streets of 300-year-old Beaufort, recently named “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel. Watch wild Spanish mustangs on Shackleford Banks. Explore countless species at the Aquarium, and take a glimpse back into maritime history. The Crystal Coast remains one of the Southeast’s best values. For example, Fort Macon State Park and the Beaufort Maritime Museum are both free. And you can get around on the Cape Lookout Ferry, Shackleford Banks Ferry and the Beaufort Double Decker Tour Bus. From seaside cottages and massive beach mansions to oceanfront hotel accommodations and quaint bed and breakfast inns, there is a range of lodging options to suit every lifestyle and budget. Travelers on a budget who want to live like millionaires can rent one of many opulent homes dotting the coastline at seasonal savings of more than 40 percent. Visitors can immerse themselves in historic surroundings with the most personalized comfort in quaint bed and breakfast inns in Beaufort. Visit


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military reunion news e

Doolittle Raiders final reunion


oolittle Tokyo Raiders ended their long reunion tradition where it all started, at Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The Raiders trained at then-Eglin Field with Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, who led the 16 Army B-25 bombers off the deck of Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet to bomb five major Japanese cities. The group of 80 men (now down to five living members) was made famous by their April 18, 1942, bombing of Tokyo that lifted American morale during World War II. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, a motion picture based on the raid. The men have met yearly since 1946 to celebrate the success of their mission. The reunion was in a different city each year. In 1959, as a gesture of

respect and gratitude, the city of Tucson, Arizona, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider. Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. When a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness. Also in the wooden case was a bottle of Hennessy Very Special cognac dating to 1896, the year Jimmy Doolittle was born. The four active Raiders (ages 92 to 97) opened the cognac. They had originally planned to pass the bottle on to the last two survivors, but changed their minds. From a story by Angel McCurdy in The Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A request for WWII photos

Love Our Vets

laus Leitsch, a young man who researched church books in Büdesheim/Buedesheim (now called Bingen-Büdesheim), Germany, for the Burttschell family (now in the US) in the 1980s, also gathers photos showing development of the village. Unfortunately, the WWII war years are not included due to scarcity of film. Klaus is hoping that some US servicemen who served in that area or their families have identified photos that can be copied for addition to the collection. If you are a member of the American Legion, VFW, or other service organization, perhaps a notice can be placed in the Legion magazine or newsletter. If you have photos, please contact Arliss Treybig,

ife of a Vietnam veteran and author of Love Our Vets: RestoringHope for Families of Veterans with PTSD, Welby O’Brien has produced a book that deals with the reality, courage, faith and real hope for loved ones of PTSD survivors. A VA Chaplain says this insightful book offers a place to start rebuilding a spiritual foundation for our own strength and healing, and a better relationship with our PTSD loved one. “Sensitive and profoundly useful … a fine tool for spouses and significant others who must come to terms with the pain of PTSD and the changes it imposes on relationships.” Contact the author at or



When is your reunion? Is it in our list of upcoming reunions?

Here Felix (right) with his son, Sonny, in Belgium during the Burttschell Family Reunion trip to Europe.

The Burttschell family recently celebrated a reunion in Germany. It was 86-year-old Felix Garza, Sr.’s bucket-list wish to visit his brother Raul’s grave at Ardennes Military Memorial/Cemetery in Belgium. Raul was just 19 years old when he was killed in WWII. Felix was 18 and also a soldier coming over (flight connecting in New York), but the war ended. Shared by Arliss Treybig, Burttschell Family Reunion.

If not, send reunion name, date and place (if they’ve been established) and contact information to

We’ll notify you when your reunion has been posted! AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 41

e military reunion news

Cruising for a Cause


he National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, is planning a fourth building. “The new building will help us tell the Air Force story with the addition of many rare, one-of-a-kind aircraft, including some from the R&D Gallery, which along with the presidential aircraft, are highly regarded by our visitors,” said Museum Director Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hudson. Visit

Nixon Library hosts Vietnam POW reunion


bout 200 Vietnam-era POWs, most former pilots, reunited for a three-day celebration at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, California. It coincided with the 40th anniversary of a star-studded White House dinner hosted by President Nixon to honor their sacrifice. The former prisoners – now in their 60s and 70s – credit Nixon with their freedom in the spring of 1973. Reminding Americans of that legacy – and not Watergate – was front-and-center at the POW reunion. It began with a motorcade and military flyover, a wreathlaying ceremony and tours of a special museum exhibit that focuses on the POWs’ homecoming. The private Richard Nixon Foundation, which hosted the event, recreated, down to the menu, the elaborate black-tie dinner that Nixon hosted for the POWs and their spouses 40 years ago. A special POW exhibit included White House staff notes about the dinner that stressed the psychological importance of a menu of sirloin steak, fingerling potatoes and strawberry mousse because “many POWs dreamed of good American food” while in captivity. From a report in the Observer Reporter, Washington, Pennsylvania

Please patronize our advertisers. 42 Reunions v


elp Princess Cruises honor and give thanks to the courageous men and women of the US Armed Forces on their first fundraising cruise, November 5-9, 2013. The cruise is expected to generate $1 million for two charities committed to US veterans. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is building The Education Center (on the National Mall), where our heroes’ stories will never be forgotten. Operation Homefront provides emergency financial and other assistance to families of service members and wounded warriors. Princess® President and CEO Alan Buckelew, a Vietnam veteran, will host the cruise. The 4-day Western Caribbean cruise will provide onboard programs and activities that promote the cause, provide fun opportunities to donate to each charity and celebrate those who have served, and are serving, our country. A portion of every cruise fare (ranging from $100 to $300 per person, depending on stateroom category) will be distributed evenly as donations on the passengers’ behalf to these 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charities. Princess Cruises will provide passengers with a written acknowledgment of their charitable contribution for tax records. Contact Brian Forrester, 480-332-7294, for more information and reservations.

Free event tickets for life


rown Paper Tickets has raised money for tickets for US armed services members, veterans and their immediate family members through a crowdfunding program called “Brown Paper Tickets Salutes.” They have helped event producers give more than 21,000 event tickets worth $364,000 to say “thank you for serving our country.” Vet Tix (Veteran Tickets Foundation) allows anyone creating event registration and ticketing through Brown Paper Tickets to donate tickets to veterans. Dozens of types of live events have been hosted through Brown Paper Tickets: music festivals, sporting events, comedy shows, farm-to-table dinners, cooking classes, plays, concerts, roller derby and much more. The donation of free tickets widens the range of ways veterans and their families can relax and enjoy themselves. To browse events offering free tickets, go to

Colorado Freedom Memorial dedicated


he Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora, Colorado, is dedicated to the nearly 6,000 Colorado Gold Star Families whose loved ones make up the memorial’s roll call. The first memorial of its kind in the country, the memorial will honor all of Colorado’s fallen soldiers from every war dating back to the Spanish American War (1898), and every branch of the military. It is the result of more than 12 years of private fundraising. The Colorado Freedom Memorial is at Springhill Community Park, 756 N. Telluride St., Aurora CO 80111.

The Holiday Inn Bayside in San Diego, California, is always excited about welcoming guests to their new lobby and new Bayside Ballroom that can accommodate up to 280 people; and 57 new guestrooms brings them to just under 300 rooms! These are letters from reunions about their stays at Holiday Inn Bayside.

From check-in to check-out, everything ran smoothly and the Holiday Inn Bayside in San Diego staff could not have been more helpful. Every morning started with Lynn, the restaurant manager, setting up the room for us, always with a smile and willingness to make everything perfect. The waitresses were excellent and made breakfast complete with their great sense of humor and willingness to share funny moments. Each afternoon we found ourselves in the lounge and, once again, felt like the room was reserved just for us. We were made to feel special and everyone appreciated the great service! On Friday, we decided to take the Old Town Trolley and see the sights. The bell staff came to the rescue, put us all in a shuttle and drove us to catch the Trolley. When we were all worn out, one call had the bell staff willing to serve again, and within a few minutes, we were on our way back to the hotel in the shuttle. Everyone enjoyed the entire experience and would love to come back, if the opportunity presents itself again. Thank you for all you did to make our reunion a success. Your extra attention to our needs made everything special! Words never seem like enough, but anyway … Thank You, Merv Bartholow, Hebron, Ohio Navy Band 187 Reunion

Great site for military reunions. We visited several hotels in the San Diego area before selecting Holiday Inn Bayside. From my first contact with Jodie Langhammer to my last on Monday morning, she was courteous, professional and eager to satisfy our specific needs. This was the first-ever West Coast reunion for our ship and we were unsure how many attendees we would have. Jodie worked with me to ensure we would have enough rooms and not be over-extended at the same time. The 5th floor hospitality room was fantastic. The room setup and food for both our farewell dinner and farewell breakfast buffet were beyond expectations. The entire staff – shuttle drivers, banquet manager, housekeeping – were polite, attentive and always accommodating. There were no major complaints from any of the 70 attendees and that’s saying something. This hotel has a reputation among the military as the finest reunion hotel in San Diego, and they certainly reaffirmed that with our group. Dick Beyers, Simi Valley, California Chairman, USS Goodrich (DD/DDR-831) Association

Navy Band 187 Reunion

The Navy Band Southwest Windwood Quintet stationed in San Diego entertained the USS Goodrich reunion.

Contact Jodie Langhammer, CMP, CGMP Holiday Inn Bayside | 4875 North Harbor Drive | San Diego, CA 92106 | 800-650-6660 | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 43


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.


2200 Ninth Ave. 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 ON PAGE 45.

BEAVER VILLAGE CONDOMINIUMS Our condos are clustered in a campus style layout making it easy for us to group your rooms close together. The condos have 1,2,3, 4 bedrooms, so couples, families, extended families can find the right fit. We have a meeting room (100 pp max), catering kitchen an outside deck with grill. Our team works closely with the group leader to honor special requests. In town location close to hiking, biking, rafting more. 800-824-8438. Visit: For Group Info visit:

The Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort The only property in the Vail Valley located on 20 spacious acres of Colorado beauty. Our 1-3 bdrm condos and townhomes provide all the comforts of home, that’s why families & groups choose to make the VRC their reunion destination. Activities for all ages: hiking, tennis, swimming, cycling or good old childhood exploring. Have a BBQ in our beautiful park area. We are a Colorado tradition of family, fun and friends. The Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort: 4695 Vail Racquet Club Drive, Vail CO 81657 800-428-4840 |



1540 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach FL 32548 850-651-7647 | fax: 850-651-7130 |



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 hosp 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. 619-224-3621 | 800-650-6660 fax 619-224-1787 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 34.


WESTERN RIVIERA LAKESIDE LODGING & EVENTS 419 Garfield Street, Grand Lake CO 80477 970-627-3580 |




2939 N County Road 31D, Loveland, Colorado 80538-9763. Western reunions year ‘round! Authentic Colorado horse & cattle ranch, family owned since 1946. 3200 acres in the Rocky Mountain foothills, one hour from Denver airport. Providing exceptional cowboy adventures: cattle drives, overnight pack-trips, Western entertainment, fishing, hayrides, rock-climbing, rafting. River-side accommodations, wholesome meals and activities for all ages...ideal for Family Reunions! Toll Free: 877-667-3999 or e-mail

215 Celebration Blvd., Kissimmee, FL 34747 Kissimmee, Florida, the gateway to fun and next to Orlando is your gateway to the perfect location for your next reunion. We offer planning assistance to reunions of all sizes and budgets. Let us help you make planning your next reunion easy. Plus … we’ll provide your reunion T-shirts free! For details see or call our reunions specialist at 407-742-8255 or email SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37.

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 8 or more units. For group reservations call 800-789-0715 and mention Reunions Magazine when calling. We look forward to hosting your reunion.

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. 321-329-4026 fax 321- 329-4001 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE INSIDE BACK COVER.

QUALITY SUITES LAKE BUENA VISTA PO Box 335428 North Las Vegas NV 89033 800-654-2776 • 44 Reunions v

All-suite, 2013 Gold Award Winner, 100% smoke free hotel offering free deluxe breakfast buffet, located 2 miles from downtown Disney, minutes from shops and restaurants. All suites sleep up to six, feature two queen beds, fully equipped kitchenettes, sleeper sofa,

two flat screen TV’s, free Wi-Fi. Some popular amenities include an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, business center, board room, meeting rooms, fitness center, jogging trail and guest services. 8200 Palm Parkway, Orlando FL 32836 | Group reservations 800-370-9894 ext. 501 |

Family Reunion Planner: Strengthening the Bonds of Family A family reunion can be a truly memorable experience. At, our goal is to be your one stop source for a stress-free reunion. From the planning stages to the actual event, we will set up itineraries, find accommodations, set up meals, suggest free time activities and venues, order t-shirts and arrange photographs. We are located on the memorable Emerald Coast of Florida, home to Florida’s most beautiful beaches, and yet still convenient from most of the Southeast. Contact us today @ 817-680-8831 to get started. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 21.

GEORGIA ATLANTA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 233 Peachtree Street NE Suite 1400, Atlanta GA 30303. East Point is On Point for Your Family Reunion! Convenience, accessibility & affordability make East Point, GA the ideal place to host your family reunion! The ACVB provides useful tools to help you plan your reunion. Find venues, vendors and more at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD on page 19.

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 770-394-4805 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 5.

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 | call 770-3957700. Mention this listing for 10 % off reunion banquet pricing. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 5.

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 ON PAGE 5.


CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES SANDY SPRINGS HOSPITALITY & TOURISM Plan your Metro-Atlanta Family Reunion in Sandy Springs! Join us for our FREE Family Reunion Workshop on October 19, 2013 from 10:00 am-2:00 pm. In addition to lunch, our Family Reunion Event specialist will provide you with insider tips, a Family Reunion Planning Guide, and more! For more information and to RSVP, go to SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 34.


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 ON PAGE 5.

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 | email us at |

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: 678-320-0250 Reservations: SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 5.

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: 678-244-9800 | visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 5.

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Plan an unforgettable reunion in Lake County, Illinois – We’ll work together to help you plan an event that lets you explore all the excitement of Lake County. From entertaining attractions like Six Flags to our convenient, centralized location close to Chicago, there are so many reasons to choose Lake County for family friendly fun. For free Reunion Planning Assistance call or email us with your reunion planning questions. 800-LAKE-NOW | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 2.

IOWA WATERLOO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 500 Jefferson Street, Waterloo, IA 50701. Visit John Deere Tractor Assembly Plant, Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, Galleria De Paco, and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. Plus, enjoy family attractions like Lost Island Water Park, Phelps Youth Pavilion, and Bluedorn Science Imaginarium. Info: 800-728-8431

MARYLAND The BEST WESTERN PLUS HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTER 5625 O’Donnell St, Baltimore MD 21224 We are the perfect location for your next Reunion. We offer free parking, a free scheduled shuttle, indoor pool and free hot breakfast. Our room amenities include a microwave/refrigerator, hairdryer, and coffeemaker. Two ballrooms able to accommodate 50-400 guests. Get a complimentary hospitality suite when your book your Banquet with us. Call 410-633-9500 or email

MASSACHUSSETTS CAPE CODDER RESORT & SPA Route 132 & Bearses Way, 1225 Iyanough Road, Hyannis MA 02601 888-255-4471 | fax 508-771-6564. Full service resort, 257 rooms & fireplace/whirlpool suites; 2 restaurants; tennis; playground; INDOOR WAVE POOL with 2’ waves, 80’ waterslides, Jacuzzi, fitness center plus Rainbow Falls Heated Outdoor Pool open year-round. Beautiful facilities for groups from 10-400. Expert consultants to help you plan. Manicured grounds with clambake pit/beach area. Full-service Spa. Entertainment. Gift Shop.

MICHIGAN CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RESORT Reunions are a Crystal Mountain specialty because there is something to do for every age, and ample room to house everyone. Our event team can assist with planning activities that will entertain, such as a golf outing, paintball, laser tag or a float trip down the river... just to name a few. Whether for 50 guests or 225, we promise you a memorable event. 12500 Crystal Mountain Drive, Thompsonville MI 49683-9742 | 800.968.7686 ext. 6605 | fax: 231.378.4879

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 reunions... here’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:

MINNEAPOLIS SAINT PAUL is the perfect location for your next reunion. Meet Minneapolis represents the entire MSP metro area with over 17,000 hotel rooms. Use our FREE service and hotels will compete against each other for your business. We also provide your group with FREE guides, maps, and coupons along with tour ideas, group friendly restaurants, and sample itineraries. Let us help you plan your next reunion to Minneapolis Saint Paul. 612-767-8106 |

MISSOURI THE BRANSON/LAKES AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 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. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE ON THE INSIDE FRONT COVER.

NEVADA GOLD COAST HOTEL & CASINO is 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, Bingo Parlor, six 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 ON PAGE 25. THE ORLEANS HOTEL AND CASINO blends the glamour and excitement of Las Vegas with the festive flavor of New Orleans. The 88-acre full-service resort has 1,886 rooms and suites, 40,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, 12 exceptional restaurants and an oasis-like swimming pool. Attractions also include a spa and fitness center, a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie complex, a 900-seat showroom and 9,000-seat arena. 4500 W Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-365-7050 | 888-365-7111 X 7050 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25.

ATLANTIS CASINO RESORT SPA RENO 3800 S. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502. Have your reunion in Four Diamond luxury. Atlantis showcases 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, perfect for reunions large or small. Enjoy a dynamic casino floor

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES with more progressive jackpots. Stay in Reno’s only Concierge Hotel Tower. Discover eight award-winning restaurants for whatever your palate desires. And, immerse yourself in the world-class Spa Atlantis, voted top ten in the world as SpaFinder’s Readers’ Choice award recipient for Best Casino Hotel Spa. Sales Department 800.994.5900

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 ON PAGE 7.

NORTH CAROLINA CABARRUS COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU “Where Racing Lives!” – Shift Your Reunion Into High Gear! Full-throttle fun waits at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR race team headquarters and continues inside the largest indoor waterpark in the Carolinas – Great Wolf Lodge! Slow the pace at Embassy Suites Charlotte/Concord Spa Botanica and Rocky Rover Golf Club. 10099 Weddington Rd., Ste. 102, Concord, NC 28027 Contact Carrie Hendrickson 704-456-7969 |

Wilmington, N.C., and three island beaches offer extraordinary experiences from the river to the sea. From the historic river district anchored by a scenic Riverwalk and 200+ shops, cafes and vibrant nightlife to a new Ocean Front Park and beachside boardwalks. Get together in NC’s most accessible coastal destination. For group itineraries & events: 800-650-9064, ext. 113

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 Kari Kauffman, 614-222-6136 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 39.

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: 610-834-0202 | visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE BACK COVER.

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, 17,000-sq.ft. of versatile meeting space and much more! 800-200-8687 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE INSIDE BACK COVER.

TENNESSEE SEE PIGEON FORGE RECEPTIVE SERVICE 119 Music Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37868 866-492-6972 | Turn planning into a pleasure when you allow See Pigeon Forge Receptive Service to take care of all the arrangements for your reunion trip to Pigeon Forge. Lodging, dining, attractions, shows, shopping, catering and tours; let us put the entire package together for you! We’ll do all the work while you get all the credit for a wonderful time in Pigeon Forge, the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas! Call one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1.

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. | 800-81-PLANO | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 20.

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 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

VISIT FAIRFAX / FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA. 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 visit our website today at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 48.

NEWPORT NEWS Get closer to ships, history and the great outdoors with one central destination: Newport News. Get all this, plus Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, too! Whether getting together with old classmates, shipmates or relatives, Newport News provides the perfect location and services to make your reunion a success. We offer the best value and plenty to see and do! Let Newport News make your next reunion a memorable one. Call Barb Kleiss at 888-493-7386 or email her at to book your reunion.

Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, VA A relaxing riverside setting, where everyone finds freedom to have fun! Choose spacious guestrooms or suites with fireplace, full kitchen and washer/dryer. Celebrate indoors or out and enjoy 3 golf courses, pool with lazy river, Kids Kamp, spa, sports club, watersports, shuttle to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. Call 800.832.5665 for a reunion they’ll rave about!

WEST VIRGINIA CAPON SPRINGS & FARMS PO Box 0, Capon Springs, WV 26823 Come home to Capon, where good food, good friends and good fun meet! For three generations, our family has been welcoming guests to our award-winning all-inclusive mountain retreat. Relax and enjoy organized activities for all ages within a restored historic resort. Featuring: golf, spa w/mineral baths, hiking, spring-fed pool, tennis and more on 4,700 forested acres. Open May 1-Nov. 1 with 100 rooms in a variety of lodging. Two hours from DC. Call or email year round, reunion planner: Jonathan Bellingham: 304-874-3695 |

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 | |

Mementoes GIVE THE GIFT OF MEMORIES email: Low cost, unique, conversation-starter.

NAME TAGS For 13 years Reunion Name Tags has been a provider of custom name tags for your family, class and military reunions. Our photographic name tags not only help identify those who have changed over the years, but also serve as mementos of your event. We are happy to help! 928-369-6348 |

T-SHIRTS CUSTOMINK Create amazing reunion shirts online in our fun & easy Design Lab! Choose from name-brand apparel and 40,000+ images, or upload your own art. No hidden charges or set-up fees. Guaranteed delivery dates. FREE shipping and FREE design help 7 days/ week. Save $10 on 6 or more shirts with voucher code: reunion (expires 3/31/14). Call us toll-free at 877-803-5887. We love to talk tees! Or visit us online at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 11. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v Reunions 47

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES PRODUCTS & SERVICES All of these products can be purchased through Reunions magazine. Please call 414-263-4567.

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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

FOOD PREPARATION 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 plus $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 414-263-4567.

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 + s/h – you fill in the date and reunion name; or Custom printed cards – $45 p/100 postcards or 50¢ each + s/h. 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 414-263-4567. 48 Reunions v


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

Reunions Magazine Volume 24, Number 1. August/September/October 2013  

Where, Oh Where, Is My Reunion? Looking Tools, 10 Crummy "Reasons" To Not Attend Reunions magazine: The only publication for all reunion pl...

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