Two, Four, Six, Eight… Who Do We Appreciate?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was heading to Pittsburgh to attend the 39th annual family reunion on my mother’s side of the family. The A-LAFF-FA (Abbott, Lizanov, Alzo, Figlar, Figlar, Figlar, Augenstein) reunion was held on Saturday, July 8, 2006 at the 100 Acres House, South Park, PA. There were just a few members who were unable to attend this year. The weather was beautiful—sunny and warm, but not too hot or humid.

Every year we select a theme for our reunion. This year’s theme was “Show Your School Spirit.” Everyone dressed in attire from their favorite school (T-shirts with school logos, or their own specially designed costumes). Pennants (painted in the appropriate colors) representing family members’ current schools or alma maters were dotted around the Hundred Acres House. The ALAFFFA-teria was open for brunch and dinner with items such as “Chef’s Surprise” (a.k.a. mystery meat) green peas, white bread and butter, Jello square, fruit cup and milk (along with items that actually could be eaten and enjoyed: chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, rigatoni, potato salad, macaroni salad, vegetables, fruit, and dip, grilled sausage and the infamous “ALAFFFA Pot” (sauerkraut mixed with secret ingredients), and assorted cookies on the menu. There was an ALAFFFA Yearbook—two poster boards of members’ school pictures and comment balloons for writing captions or messages. A “School Spirit Syllabus” was posted highlighting activities for the day. Activities for “Good Kids” included a school supplies hunt, marshmallow math and school spirit cheers, while “Bad Kids” participated in a spitball contest, passing notes relay, table top football, and “Smokin’ in the Boys’s Room.”

After the mid-day meal, we all paused for a moment of silence for two members from the first generation who passed away in 2005—Toni Figlar and John Alzo (my father). Although we were saddened that Toni and John could not be present, we all felt that their spirits, along with our other “A-LAFF-FA Angels: Ann, Doug, John, Grandma and Grandpap Figlar—were there with us.

There is a real sense of pride as we look to next year—our 40th reunion. Three generations will gather again, and ideas for a special celebration at the 100 Acres House (July 7, 200&) are already being discussed. And no matter how far some of us have to travel, we’ll do our best to get there. Whatever the plans, one thing is for certain, the love and sense of family that were at the very core of that first reunion planned in 1967 by my Uncle John Figlar still exist. In this uncertain world, it is nice to know that for one day a year we have this one comfortable and safe family cocoon we call “A-LAFF-FA” So, here’s a shout out to my family: “Three Cheers for ALAFFFA!”