Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other technology can make it relatively easier for busy families to keep in touch. But Janet Wlodarz thinks there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned family gatherings, where folks can catch up with each other over a lawn game or a plate of food made from time-tested family recipes.
On July 14, the Mominee family will gather for their 60th reunion. The gathering, which will be held at Allen Township Park, will unite generations of family members descended from Jess and Cynthia DeLeo Mominee, along with some of Jess’ siblings’ family members. Jess was one of nine Mominees, including Henry, Minerva, Mable, Elvia, Cornelius, Ernest, Doris, Dooley and Geraldine.
The reunions have been something Wlodarz, 74, of Oregon, has looked forward to each year since she was a teen. “My grandfather (Jess) used to own the property where the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park is now,” she said. “As kids, we went to our grandparents’ every Sunday and played in the water at the lake.
“With families so busy now and so spread out, they don’t get together so regularly anymore – it’s hard enough for me to get together with my own children,” she said. “Sure, you can talk on the phone or text – which I don’t do because I like to hear my grandchildren’s voice – but it’s not the same.
“It’s especially important for the young children in the family to get together with their relatives once in awhile,” she said.
Wlodarz even helped organize the reunion the old-fashioned way – by printing out invitations/flyers, stuffing them in envelopes and mailing them out. “I sent out 35 letters to various families living locally and as far away as North Carolina,” she said.
The family members were asked to bring a dish to share (maybe potato dressing with duck made from Pearl Mominee Heintschel’s recipe?), photos and memorabilia.
“It’s always a good time,” Wlodarz said, adding she hopes the annual gatherings will live on for future generations to enjoy. “There’s a lot of planning involved…but it’s so worth it.”