On July 9, 2011 my mother’s family held it’s 44th annual reunion at South Park near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We hold these gatherings under the acronym ALAFFFA (this stands for Abbott, Lizanov, Alzo, Figlar, Figlar, Figlar, Augenstein). Each year we have a different theme for our reunion. This year’s theme was Mardis Gras.
Here are ten things I learned at my 2011 Family Reunion:
1. It takes teamwork and good advanced planning to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day, and yet the day comes and goes so quickly—I never get enough time to visit with all of my aunts, uncles, or cousins.
2. It’s amazing we’ve having this reunion faithfully for 44 years and that my generation is now in charge.
3. For those no longer with us: Grandma and Grandpap, Doug, Uncle John, Aunt Ann, Uncle Johnny, Aunt Toni, Uncle Joe. We miss you all very much. We know you are with us in spirit.
4. If anything goes wrong, it’s always “Eddie’s fault—Eddie!!!” (just teasing cousin, Ed).
5. You can plan organized activities and games, or have the latest toys or gadgets, but the kids seem to have the best time with good old fashioned fun: the sliding board and climbing apparatus, and anything that involves water (water balloons, squirt guns, etc.)
6. There has never been an event in my family where we ran out of food. We always have way too much (and plenty of leftovers)!
7. Even your closest relative will fight you for the last few homemade Lady Locks (small, cream filled puff pastries that melt in your mouth). My mother used to be the chief baker of these delights, but she passed the torch on to my Aunt Margie who makes them now that Mom has passed away.
8. There will always be a need to “Go for Ice” (inside joke in our family).
9. It’s not a real party unless “Aunt Fun” is there! And Uncle Mike always has the most creative t-shirt reflecting the theme.
10. My grandparents always stressed the importance of family and of being together. Yes, life moves on and the reunions evolve but one thing remains constant: We honor their memory by making the effort to gather each year.
Next year is our 45th reunion and we’ve already started making plans for a special reunion weekend celebration.
Photos by Lisa A. Alzo
Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo
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