By the time of the 19th family reunion, there is no way to write a clever newsletter announcing it, according to Isabel Morse Maresh of Belmont. Maybe not, but her annual invitation from the heart I always find touching.
The gathering is billed as the annual family-neighborhood reunion of Hannan, Hannon, Morse, Boynton, Lermond, Marriner, Heal, Heald, relatives and friends, set for Saturday, Aug. 10, in the backyard of Bob and Isabel Maresh at 169 Howard Road in Belmont.
“A good time has always been had by all,” Isabel writes. “You don’t have to be closely related. Just join us for an afternoon of fun, telling stories, eating and visiting.
“Bring food for the potluck buffet table, whatever your speciality is. If you don’t cook, bring something like chips, optional dip, soda, ice, cookies, etc. Bring a portable chair to ensure a place to sit. Bring an item for the fun auction, which will help to pay for the portable toilet and expenses. If enough is made from the auction after expenses, an annual gift is donated to the local historical society. Bring Gramma, Gramps, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors if they want to come. The more, the merrier.
“Coffee, tea, lemonade, paper plates, eating utensils, potato salad, napkins, home-baked beans will be provided. Consider bringing photos, scrapbooks, clippings, genealogy for others to see and enjoy.”
Lunch is at noon. The reunion is held “until the last guest leaves.”
There will be a cake to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, including the 60th anniversary of Bob and Isabel, but no gifts, please. “Just your company, and a memorable day. I told our children that no one wants to go to two celebrations during the summer, so we’ll celebrate our anniversary with all of you.”
There also will be time to honor the memory of the cousins who died during the past year.
Other family reunion notices may be brief and to the point: the reunion of the Thomas Shorey Family will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Ammadamast Grange Hall in Enfield. Those attending are asked to bring a salad, covered dish or dessert. Bean hole beans will be supplied.
Some reunions are held every year. The Roberts Reunion has been held in Sangerville for more than 100 years. Other events may be one-time things.
Several years ago, the Chamberland Reunion in St. Agatha brought together descendants of my husband’s grandparents, Belone and Edithe (Chasse) Chamberland. Some 500 people attended the banquet in the gym at Wisdom High School, including cousins living as far away as Japan.
Reunions can be small, as well. Two of my mother’s maternal cousins are coming to Maine later this summer. Before they come, I will ask them what size gathering they are interested in, and where. Lunch at a restaurant? A cookout at camp? Something at a location that is convenient to them?
Do they want the cemetery tour to see where relatives are buried? Are they interested in meeting the grandchildren, visiting a museum or just in spending time with my mom?
For large groups that meet every year, a webpage is a great idea. Visit kalloch.org for information on the 146th Kalloch Family Reunion, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the St. George Grange Hall in St. George.
The Skoglund Brothers will provide entertainment, so this reunion promises to be another popular event.
Whether your gathering brings together 10 people, or 100 or 1,000, a reunion could be just the thing to revitalize your search for family history.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.