For years, the Haeberlin Family has held its reunions in June. The most recent also celebrated the 70th wedding anniversary of founders, Cecil (92) and Grace (88) Haeberlin. Their 11 children, 33 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren come from several states combining reunion and vacation.
Area attractions were a draw for the reunion in Kissimmee-St. Cloud, Florida. Special generational only gatherings are highlights; on Friday younger generations met at Water Mania for a picnic and swimming; Friday evening Cecil and Grace’s children met for pizza; Saturday evening Cecil and Grace’s grandchildren had their own party. Picnics and a worship service on Sunday drew everyone together.
Before the reunion everyone was asked to write something for Cecil and Grace. Tributes, all placed in a special album, included poems, recollections, special memories, love notes and pictures from small children.
Haeberlins reflect on the joys of family and memories from past reunions.
A family logo was created for a flag raised at reunions.
At one reunion each family wore t-shirts of a different color with at least five generations of descendants listed on the back.
For another Cecil and Grace selected prizes from their treasures for a family trivia contest.
Before one reunion, names were drawn among the children’s generation with instructions to bring “an item that was a family keepsake.” A grandmother, for instance, gave a brother who collected plates another to add to his collection. Someone else fashioned an angel from a handkerchief.
At another reunion everyone received a three-inch heart ornament cut from wood taken from their grandparents’ house in Kentucky when it was torn down.
One memorable reunion held in Kentucky included a trek to family places (where Cecil and Grace met, dated and where Cecil proposed). Being at these places as well as at a family cemetery generated special memories and stories they’d never heard before.
While attending family reunions creates a hardship and sacrifice for some members Haeberlin family members would not miss one for the world!
Reported by Vonda Haeberlin Ivester, St. Cloud, FL