Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Although the popular reader-driven periodical, Reunions Magazine, is now primarily published online, two hard-copy issues continue to be printed each year--a special issue and the Reunions Planners Notebook. Highlighting various reunions that occurred in 2017, the latest paper issue came out in September 2017 (Volume 27, Number 2).

     Naturally, this issue spotlights many family reunions, which varied in the length they have been held. This year in Greenwood, Mississippi, for example, descendants of Ben and Rosa LOVE held their very first gathering. In New York, the VARY family celebrated their 100th anniversary; making the event even more special was the attendance of 100-year-old Irene Vary MANZER, who was a baby at the first reunion in 1918, and cousins from Australia.

     Although most reunions last only one day and are held in an area associated with their ancestors, in recent years a growing trend has been toward “mega” family reunions. Not only do they span several days—usually a three-day weekend--but they also offer a vacation atmosphere. For instance, several articles explore family reunions held at guest ranches.

     A few of the articles discuss ideas for exchanging mementoes of the event, raising funds for the gathering, or just having fun. For example, the Eva (Alabama) High School alumni compiled a cookbook of favorite Southern recipes to sell. Resurrecting childhood hobbies, the MANGEFRIDA family reunion featured model rocketry, which was enjoyed by folks of all ages.

     Other articles focused on honoring one’s forebears or preserving reunion materials. Descendants of slaves Mollie CLAY, Franklin CLAY, and Mariah REED met in Grenada, Mississippi, where they commemorated their heritage. The sounds of African drums echoed in the background as relatives participated in a traditional libation ceremony to pay homage to their ancestors. To conserve reunion memories, the BURNETT(E) Family Association prepared a history of all their reunions, which have been held for thirty years. The report and copies of the family newsletter, published 1998-2010, were donated to the collection of the Black History Commission of Arkansas.

     During the year, many military and former military personnel also gathered for a reunion. Several made a pilgrimage to New Orleans where they toured the National World War II Museum as one of their group activities. Veterans of the USS Sullivan, which is a National Historic Landmark (Museum Ship), commemorated the 75th anniversary of the World War II sinking of the USS Juneau at the Buffalo (New York) Naval Park. The reunion of veterans of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal observed the 50th anniversary of the disastrous fire that occurred on the carrier during the Vietnam War. Other military reunions mentioned in articles are the shipmates of the USS Hopewell and the 44th annual Freedom Flyer, which took place in San Antonio in conjunction with the 20th annual POW/MIA Symposium.

     As you can see, the colorful issue celebrates all types of reunions—big, small, family, class, and military, as well as those with a historical connection. In addition, it furnishes practical tips and advice helpful to reunion organizers, regardless of their experience. For details about subscription rates and other information about the periodical, go to the website at

     The National Orphan Train Complex, Inc., in Concordia, Kansas, has a “wish list” of needed items and materials. They range from a security system and a computer to an industrial cart and landscaping. If you would like to make a donation, go to the website at or call 785-243-4471.

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