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Anniversary reunions

A very common way for reunions to begin is to observe and celebrate a milestone anniversary or birthday. Many reunions actually start after such a special party when everyone says they’d like to continue meeting like this!

70th anniversary highlights regular reunion
For years, the Haeberlin Family has held its reunions in June. The most recent also celebrated the 70th wedding anniversary of founders, Cecil (92) and Grace (88) Haeberlin. Their 11 children, 33 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren come from several states combining reunion and vacation.

Area attractions were a draw for the reunion in Kissimmee-St. Cloud, Florida. Special generational only gatherings are highlights; on Friday younger generations met at Water Mania for a picnic and swimming; Friday evening Cecil and Grace's children met for pizza; Saturday evening Cecil and Grace's grandchildren had their own party. Picnics and a worship service on Sunday drew everyone together.

Before the reunion everyone was asked to write something for Cecil and Grace. Tributes, all placed in a special album, included poems, recollections, special memories, love notes and pictures from small children.

Haeberlins reflect on the joys of family and memories from past reunions.

  • A family logo was created for a flag raised at reunions.
  • At one reunion each family wore t-shirts of a different color with at least five generations of descendants listed on the back.
  • For another Cecil and Grace selected prizes from their treasures for a family trivia contest.
  • Before one reunion, names were drawn among the children's generation with instructions to bring "an item that was a family keepsake." A grandmother, for instance, gave a brother who collected plates another to add to his collection. Someone else fashioned an angel from a handkerchief.
  • At another reunion everyone received a three-inch heart ornament cut from wood taken from their grandparents' house in Kentucky when it was torn down.
  • One memorable reunion held in Kentucky included a trek to family places (where Cecil and Grace met, dated and where Cecil proposed). Being at these places as well as at a family cemetery generated special memories and stories they'd never heard before.
    While attending family reunions creates a hardship and sacrifice for some members Haeberlin family members would not miss one for the world!

Reported by Vonda Haeberlin Ivester, St. Cloud FL

Containing the surprise
Karen Sjullie, Herperia, California, shared her surprise 50th wedding anniversary reunion for her parents. They had ten children now scattered from North Carolina to Iowa and California. The parents live in Lake Elsinore, California. Their anniversary was just before a planned vacation to Iowa to visit children and relatives. The California children had a small anniversary party for their parents to throw them off the track. Meanwhile, other children rented the Community Center in Mitchellville, Iowa, for the real party. Sjullie made an anniversary quilt with photos of when were married and a recent photo along with photos of all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bethel Family Reunion
The Bethel Family Reunion, started by Capitola Arabella Trumbo in 1918, celebrated its 80th anniversary in Hamilton, Missouri. Allman writes, "A family is more than people who are just related to each other – it's people joined by shared memories and hopes. Drawn together by mutual caring and concerns, a family is special."

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