In the spring we received an invitation to a family reunion organized by my cousin MaryAnn and her family for the beginning of July, in eastern Pennsylvania where my mother, MaryAnn's aunt, grew up. My mother, Lenore, is one of seven children of Lithuanian immigrants who settled in the Susquehanna River valley, my grandfather Simon and my grandmother Katherine. My grandfather worked as a coal miner, but he also went off to work in the woods, and once joined the army until my mother's oldest sister, Anne, went and told them that he had a family to look after. Whether he was there or not, it was my grandmother who kept the family going as best she could.
|This page shows some of the pictures we took while in Pennsylvania attending this reunion: first at my grandparents' house, then down by the river, and then where we stopped for lunch, before the reunion itself began. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version of the image, then use your browser's back button to return to this page.|
|The Susquehanna had been in flood shortly before we arrived, and was still pretty high. The tracks in the picture at the left are the ones "on the wrong side" of which my mother and her siblings grew up.|
|My cousin MaryAnn was one of the five children of my mother's sister, Anne, and her husband Harry Duke. At this point in time I have to write about MaryAnn in the past tense, because she died just a couple of months ago, in October. She too raised a big family and this reunion was in many ways, I think, not just an opportunity to bring together her children and their families, the families of her brothers (Harry, Paul, and Jim; see the photo below of all of them together with MaryAnn and their sister Eleanor), and the rest of us. It was also to show how strong and loving she had helped make her children, despite all the difficulties they had to contend with when they were growing up. Coincidentally, it was during the time that her children were young that I first got to know them, and this reunion was the first time I had seen some of them in more than 25 years.|
The reunion (day 1)
This is a selection of pictures that Adam and I took, the best of many more - but as you can see, they're an odd assortment of people and poses that happened to work out. My cousin Martin has a much more comprehensive collection of pictures that you can view HERE.
|(above) Lynn and Joe Makalusky, and a young Duke gathering flags. (above right) Jim Duke's daughter, Deanna, and Brenda and Ray Lispi, MaryAnn's eldest daughter and her husband.||(above) Adam and Michele, MaryAnne's youngest daughter.||(above left) Martin Duke and Diana, MaryAnn's middle daughter. (above) small cousins, Spenser (Michele and Jeff's son) and Michael, with his mother, Theresa, the wife of MaryAnn's older son, Mark, behind them.|
|(above) Harry Duke, MaryAnn's eldest brother, and his wife Marilyn.||(above) JS, Eva (MaryAnn's second daughter), and Eva's youngest granddaughter.|
|(above left) My parents, John and Lenore. (above right) Martin Duke, the flag-gathering Duke, and Martin's wife Bettina.||(above left) My mother Lenore and her nephew, Jim Duke's. (above right) JS and me.|
|(left and below) Lynn and Joe Makalusky got some wrapping paper and pens with which we could plot out the relationships between all of us (see HERE for a chart for naming cousins!).|
The reunion (day 2)
|(left) Eva's daughter Sabrina, her aunt Michele, and Sabrina's youngest daughter.|
|(right) MaryAnn, her aunt Lenore (behind her), and her siblings: standing, from left to right, Paul, Eleanor (Sister Jane Mary), and Jim, with Harry seated next to MaryAnn.|
|(left to right) Lee, Ray, and Tina Lispi, and my father in the foreground; my mother, her grand-niece Deanna Duke, and Brian Duke (I think).||(left to right) MaryAnn's younger son, Sam; Diana; Paul Duke; Michele's husband Jeff; Eleanor; Paul's daughter Lori; and Harry Duke's daughter, Catherine. The photographer is MaryAnn's older son, Mark.||(left to right) Eleanor and her friend, and Lori and her husband. Mark is joined by Martin in trying to figure out if herding cats would be easier than getting family members arranged for a group photo.|