Family Will Every Time

Last Saturday Cindy and I attended the annual summer reunion for my mother’s side of the family. Cindy, her son and his wife drove up from Ohio and we surprised mom by walking in just as the party started.

Mom grew up in Buffalo NY in a very large family. She was child number 10 of 12 original siblings. After her mother passed away, my grandfather created another family with 5 more children. Let that sink in. Dude had 17 children. Only three generations away from their roots in Bavaria, this group certainly made their presence known in WNY.

As a result of Mom’s birth order, we weren’t close to many of our cousins — they were so much older! There was only a small set of aunts/uncles and cousins who would venture down to visit us on the farm (2 hours away from Buffalo). We loved it whenever they arrived, bringing a big city vibe to our dull-by-comparison life. On a couple of special summers Mom loaded all of us girls onto the Greyhound bus and treated us to a week of vacation in Buffalo. I remember sitting on the stoop of a brick apartment house in the sweltering summer city air and trying to image why anyone would want to live in such a place. But the fun and the laughter of family always helped to make up for my homesickness.

What a treat to find out that our cousin Jeannie was at the reunion! I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen her in 45 years. She lives in Washington State. She and I are nearly the same age, but when we were growing up she was a beautiful blonde who knew how to take a plunge in the city pool, and I was her darker-haired, shier, country bumpkin side-kick. Here we are trying to look glamorous down on the farm.


In the lower right is our younger sister. I know she’ll be happy that I posted this picture!


Jeannie’s still glamorous, but now I’m blonde too! 

The reunion committee organized a basket raffle to raise funds from the attendees to help support next year’s reunion. Cindy and I donated some quilted items for a live-bid auction to help raise more money. I put on my auctioneer hat and called the bids. It was so much fun! The bidding was lively and bidders went crazy for Cindy’s Family Pillow and Family Banner.

My cousin Teddy’s wife was the high bidder for a Valentine’s table topper I made a few years ago.


We’re already planning what we can make for next year’s reunion fundraiser. It’s always fun to watch someone else fall love with your babies!

I hope you get a chance to reconnect with your far-flung family this summer.


2 thoughts on “Family Will Every Time

  1. Chela's Colchas y Mas says:

    Your post about family is beautiful.
    It touched home, since I also come from a large family.
    My mom was the youngest of 10.
    Her two brothers died in infancy.
    Mom, and her 7 sisters were a powerful force in our lives.
    All of the family was born in Laredo, Texas.
    Three of the sisters, including mom, moved to San Antonio.
    We were still a very close family.
    I remember very frequent weekend trips to Laredo.
    There were 24 cousins; now there are 22.
    The oldest cousin is now 83; and my sister is the youngest at 53.
    I remember being the tag-along my aunts sent as “chaperone” when my cousins went on dates.
    I was easily bought off with raspas and candy.
    One of my aunts lived next door, and she raised us, along with her six, as my mom went to work. In fact, my aunt raised all the kids in the neighborhood!
    My mom died in 2016, ending the era of the Martinez sisters.
    But my cousins and I make it a point to get together and celebrate.

    • sandradny says:

      Chela: What wonderful memories you have–I love it that your aunts used you as a chaperone! I’m glad that you are still close to your cousins. Thanks for sharing!

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