Past Reunion Notes
*View Reunion Photos by Clicking on the Title of Year
*Some years have No Photos yet because I need to figure what year they belong in!
We held the reunion on the day that theNorth Hadley Congregational Church held a Memorial Service for Olive Comins Hubbard. The service was heartwarming, with many of Olive's friends sharing their special memories of Olive. Olive's great-niece, Susan Slaymaker Boyer sang some of Olive's favorite hymns, beautifully accompanied by George (Susan's husband) playing the old church organ.
We all arrived at the church in dribs and drabs. Not that there was anything drab about the day, since we were blessed with a beautiful day!! The weather was mostly sunny and warm, the foliage was nearly peak! The Family all arrived with a cheerfulness that outshone the lovely day.
The day began with small groups catching up with each other and snacks of cheeses, crackers and warm homemade muffins that Virginia Reilly Gosselin brought. The kitchen bustled with people unwrapping the foods they'd brought, and conversations about cooking and family goings-on.
At about 1pm, we all began getting in line to serve ourselves from the spread of foods... the enticing smell of home cooking wafted throughout the room! Conversations continued through lunch... people eating, going back for seconds and thirds... seating was such that we got to move from place to place (in order to speak with as many of the Family as we could)...
The Rogers & Hammerstein movie, Carousel, has a song with lyrics that say it all: "This was a real nice clambake, we're mighty glad we came.. The vittles were good, the food the best.. the company just the same... Our hearts were young, our bellies were full and we are feeling fine..." (I may have changed a word or two)
Stewart Coffin presided over the Family Meeting, as the meal
was ending. We learned about the missing Round Robins and Stewart took out
a stack of past letters and photos that had been included in those interrupted
mailings to look through and reclaim. Stewart introduced Abbott Cummins...
a Most Dear, distant relation. Abbott told us that the book he's written,
The Descendants of John Comins (ca. 1668-1751) and his wife, Mary,
which should be available before Christmas... Some of us have been anticipating
the publication of this latest Comins genealogy since last year, so this news
was very welcome!! Abbott also told us of the DNA testing
that has been done - to prove once and for all that the Cummins and Comins are
truly linked - Only males are being tested -
There are a couple of factors that make this DNA Study a very interesting study
to be involved in:
A: The MT DNA passes down from Mother to Daughter only, so the Matriarch of the Family becomes clearly identified and traceable. Note that non-paternity events don't occur in this DNA since obviously the Mother knows her Daughter is her offspring.
B: The Y DNA passes from Father to Son. Here we can again provide a clear line of potential coordination between the written documentation and the DNA markers.
Stewart concluded the meeting by telling us about his genealogy research and that he'd been sent a huge file that he'd honed down to the 9th generation... This latest work was done by Arthur Martin, using much of the research and some Family records that had been collected by Stewart... Stewart brought a dozen printed copies of the 9 generations for whoever wanted a copy... Stewart stated that he'd like a volunteer to assist in renumbering and entering the gathered information, which dates back to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066... Kirsten said that she'd love to help...
The usual Family Group Photos were taken outside, as well as some photos of the youngest generation in front of the huge tree behind the church... I hope that this little group photo may become a tradition as is the large group shot!! After the photo session, people hung about finishing conversations and gathering hugs... then we all reluctantly began packing up our cars to leave...
It was a glorious day.
We were a smaller crowd this year. Lots of cheer and great food, as usual! We had a "new" family joining us: Bruce Comins with his wife and two young sons.
It was wonderful to get to know yet another Comins!! Bruce comes from the northern New York branch (Florence and Camden) of the Family. We were treated with photos of some of the Family places in New York (as well as stories about the people) that Bruce brought to share with us. The boys caught on quickly to the magic of the "Swaps" table, and took home with them some neat goodies! Bruce and Abbott Cummings spent quite a long time discussing the DNA testing (Abbott and other male relations submitted to DNA testing, to prove the Cummings/Comins relationships) and other Family History. We were sorry to say goodbye to our new relations, but being able to meet this dear family meant so much to all of us! We hope to have them join us again someday!!
Stewart Coffin presided over the Family Meeting... We heard more about Abbott's DNA test results... shared some wonderful old photographs... Stewart brought along the old glass negatives that Annie Comins had made and asked if anyone felt like trying to produce photos from these negatives. I couldn't get my hand up fast enough, to volunteer for this!! We agreed that I would take a crack at getting images on paper from these dear (age has taken it's toll on them, with resulting cracking, peeling and fading) glass negatives... I would then bring the photographs to next year's reunion... If cost permitted, we would all have the resulting photographs to share! Annie had left us this wonderful group of negatives, that she had created in her own love for her family... now, generations later, we would all be blessed (hopefully) with what Annie created!
Another small crowd gathered this day... No matter, it was a good day (in spite of bad weather... nothing dampens our spirits when we gather!).
The food was so plentiful and delicious, with so many homemade goodies! We ate more than usual, then had leftovers to share!!
Stewart Coffin headed the Family Meeting and spoke of the genealogy he has been working on (yes, still... it's a never-ending project!). I'd brought Annie Comins' glass negatives back, along with a bunch of CDs with the reproduced photographs on them, and Stewart let the Family know that these were available for whoever wished to have them. The CDs were copied from the one original CD that was produced by 60 Minute Photo (a local business)... I had scanned the negatives myself and had a little trouble getting the results I wanted [from a few of] the most damaged negatives, so did some research and querying (online), which resulted in my choice of having 60 Minute Photo scan them to CD. The photographs that were produced from 60 Minute's scans are nearly perfect, as close to what the originals as could be done... the files were scanned to large files, to ensure the best prints possible ... very impressive work!!
This year, we were blessed to have another "long lost" relation attend! Cindy Talbot (with her husband and son) joined us this year. We were all very happy to meet Cindy and her family! Cindy is the Granddaughter of Henry Earl Comins and Mary May MacDonald Comins from Hatfield, MA. Cindy grew up in Hadley across the street from their farm.
Cindy wrote, "I'm Cynthia May Talbot, Wife of Daniel and Mother of Carolyn and Christopher. I have two very old photo books I'll be glad to bring next fall. I always wondered who those people were. I am so excited that after 30 years of searching, it has paid off. Can't wait for my small family to be added to the family tree!" And, we could hardly wait to meet them, either!
We feasted on all of the specialty dishes each family brought... chatted with our newest members and each other, catching up on the happenings of the past year... Stewart presided over the Family Meeting...
Then, as ever, it was all over much too quickly!!
Another perfect day!
Irv, June & Kirsten were just finishing setting up the room in the basement of the church when Ernie & Betty arrived. Soon, other members of the Family began to arrive and the room took on the smell of good food wafted around the rooms where lively conversations were taking place...
Soon, the food tables were full and the swaps tables groaned under the weight of the things we'd all brought. Greetings were heard between cousins who had not seen each other in a year... time to catch up with each other!
Old Family Photos were arranged on a table at the back of the room, and there were heard comments such as: "I remember this!" ... "Who is this person?" ... "Could you make me a copy of this photo?" ... "Now I know where so-and-so got his looks!" ...
Abbott Cummings arrived to astound us with his most recent findings of Family Genealogy and to hear what some of us had uncovered within the past year... As in every year since he found this branch of the Family, Abbott seemed to always be surrounded with inquiring cousins, eager for the latest news!
We were all very pleased to greet Robin Unger and her daughter, Nichole, who have recently moved to the area from Kansas... Robin is the Granddaughter of George Lester Comins, Great-Granddaughter of Paul Chauncey Comins. Robin "found" our Family via this website! What a joy it was to meet Robin & Nichole! We were reassured that they will be attending all future Reunions!
Soon after all had arrived, we helped ourselves to a great selection of homemade foods and settled down at the tables to eat and chat... The food, as always, was hearty and good... the chats fulfilled our appetite for news of each other...
As we all settled back in our chairs, satisfied in many ways, Stewart rose and launched the Family Meeting. Stewart told us about his book, newly finished and ready for a publisher, recalling his childhood. We are all very pleased that this project is complete, and very much enjoyed reading bits of the work & looking at the photographs that Stewart chose to illustrate his reminiscences. We hope to see Stewart's book published soon, so we might all have a copy!
News about those of the Family who were unable to attend the Reunion:
Ruby is now in an assisted living apartment, and doing fine, as is Roland... Hazel is doing well out in Albuquerque... Stephen & Shirley were unable to attend, because Shirley had a prior commitment... Esther & Arthur were unable to attend, as Arthur was not up to the long trip... Bill & Evanne Hubbard also could not make the long trek "up country"... Gretchen & Clarence had gone to The Big E for the day...
Stewart asked Robin to introduce herself & Nichole, and she did, giving us a little bit of their family background. How nice to have Robin & Nichole among our little group!
The Family finance report was brought up and, since the report was displayed on the table with the photo albums, for all to view, there was no need for discussion.. the report was accepted.
Next, the Comins website was mentioned and we were asked for news, photos and the like, to include in these pages. Abbie & Stan White shared their web address, www.whitesfieldsfarm.com ... We are going to try to upload more old photos, as the past fascinates all & many wish to view old photos that may not be in their scrapbooks...
June asked about the Pillar House, and Margie stood up to tell us how the project is going... The two houses are in the stages of being joined! Margie had brought her laptop to give us a Powerpoint slideshow of the stages of the project... We were told that there is to be a wedding in the finished home next September! Someone mentioned that it would be wonderful to have the next Reunion there, and Margie was delighted with this suggestion...
There was mention of our numbers attending the Reunions dwindling, and that perhaps more people would attend were the Pillar House to be the next location. We will wait (with baited breath!) to hear how all goes with the completion of the building project!
With the Family Meeting closed, small groups gathered around Stewart's book, others filtered to the kitchen to wash dishes and divide the leftovers, while still others wandered outside to enjoy the peaceful day and chat a bit more or went to look at the old photos and albums...
Family Photo time!! We all gathered together as Virginia ("Ginny") set up, then focused her camera and began to set her camera's timer for the Official Family Photo... Others in our group ran out of formation to Ginny, asking her to snap a couple of shots with the cameras they'd brought, which Ginny gladly did... finally, she set the timer, ran to join the group & Voila! We were once again captured in time! We stood as still as we could as the timer was set once more, for a second shot (just in case)... Ginny's Photographs are absolutely beautiful, and we all happily wait to see those Perfect Family photographs!!
With reluctance, tables and chairs were folded and set back against the walls... leftover food split up into containers and packed away to take home... leftover swaps packed back into car trunks, to wait for 2006 perhaps... Hugs & Kisses were shared... it was time to part company... Jim had the longest journey, having to be back in Washington (and he'd already driven to join us from the far reaches of upper Vermont!)... Abbie, Stan & Evan were going to stop to visit with Abbie's sister, Tammis Coffin, who is a Park Ranger up on Skinner Mountain...
Despite having Stewart’s printed directions, a map from Mapquest, and additional notes from the Family… quite a few of us got lost on our way to the Reunion this year. Being lost was not as bad as one would imagine, as the day was lovely so we got to see much of the beautiful countryside around the town of Lincoln!
As we crept around a curve of Old Sudbury Road, at odds about what type of landmark we were looking for, we caught a glimpse of the white pillars of the “Historic Pillar House” at the end of a long drive… Whoopee!! We’d finally located our elusive destination!!
We drove slowly up the dirt road toward the massive pillars, bowled over by their pure white color, the pristine lines of the architecture and the wonder of the great achievement of Margie’s family in putting together the myriads of pieces that formed the massive mansion!
I could not help but imagine having all the pieces of a disassembled Antebellum plantation brought into a yard on which already sat a 100 year old farmhouse. This was a most unusual kind of puzzle to be assembled! The pieces of this particular puzzle are colossal in size and nature. Imagine this, then contemplate that your experience with puzzles has only been with hand-held puzzles (such as the handmade wooden puzzles that Stewart Coffin is World Famous for creating). Think about it. Seriously!
The food everyone brought was, as always, delish!! Tables had been set up outdoors, under the shade of tall trees, and in the finished & unfinished rooms indoors. Whether were sitting in the breezy shade of the trees or in one of the rooms, the seating was quite comfortable and there was plenty of room to move about. Talk during lunch ran the usual gamut of "what have you been doing" to marveling about the house, recipes, our hosts and so much more...
Stewart brought copies of his book for all the families to take home, and let us know that he is working on another book... We shared email addresses and promised each other to share the photos we were taking (see "2006 Reunion Pix" for Margie's and Kirsten's photos)...
Most everyone brought "swaps" and I'd brought the rest of the glass negative cd's and prints of Bob Coffin standing at Sunderland's Famous Button Ball tree By the way, if you have not seen this ancient giant of a tree, it is well worth the trek to Sunderland, MA!
Nigel tossed a few stink bombs around the side of the building as we all sat for the Group photo... typical of a pre-teen's prank... snickers turned to guffaws, and everyone stopped wondering "who did it", as he poked his head around the crowd as his younger cousin yelled out, "stink bomb!"
Thiscertainly was a mighty fine day... more than worthy of some Rogers & Hammerstein lyrics!
We met at the church in Hadley again this year... Robin Unger brought most of her family along, which was very nice!! These relations are from Pennsylvania and most of them had never attended one of our reunions...
We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Don and Ginny Gosselin with a beautiful cake and an improvised speech from Ginny...
We lunched from an awesome choice of foods that everyone had brought, then Stewart Coffin officiated our Family Meeting... We welcomed Ruby Comins Cannon's daughter Nancy and her family (all of whom came up from Florida for Ruby's Memorial Service) and the Pennsylvania kin were all introduced... Many small speeches and remembrances were spoken, which entranced us all...
Abbott Cummings gave us the latest news about the DNA testing of the male relations... He appealed to the PA men, as well as any other of the directly related males in our group who have not been tested, to consider having the test done, to find proof of our family's links to "Woburn John"... Abbott has been adding more information to his book (see notes from 2001) and we are all eagerly awaiting the completion of these new pages!
Willie Fuqua told us what was going on in the lives of Jennifer, Sean and Jeannie...
Abbie Coffin White introduced ..... an exchange student from Poland who is staying with the Whites for a year... He had brought along some objects from his country to show and he also had the opportunity to tell us about Poland... we all wished for more time during the meeting for this personable young man's tales!!
We went upstairs to the chapel for the memorial service... Reverend Schilling (Kathy Cannon Schilling's husband - Nancy Cannon's son-in-law) led the service... Nancy and her children read passages from the Bible...
Jim Hubbard spoke about one of his memories of Ruby, as did Nancy Cannon and Rev. Schilling...
Susan Slaymaker Boyer sang lovely hymns as her husband Rusty played accompaniment with gusto...
The service was a very nice tribute to Ruby... She would have liked it very much!
We all went outside and gathered for Ginny's official family photograph... after Ginny (with a little help from David Martin) took her shots, some of us got group photos of the PA folk...
There was a lot of milling about... people selecting things from the swaps table, small group chats were taking place in the warm air outdoors... children happily playing with their "new" cousins... others cleaning up, washing the empty dishes and dividing up the leftovers for each family to take home...
The day was just about as perfect as it could be with the foliage at it's peak and the sun shining down and warming us all... the lake behind the church sparkled...
As the last of us were leaving to drive to the Russellville Cemetery, we noticed some ominous clouds coming our way from the Northwest... the deluge began halfway to the cemetery... we sat in our cars, waiting for the rains to cease, then went to see Ruby's marker in a light drizzle... I turned and exclaimed that a beautiful rainbow was in full view above the field across the street... as we all watched, this rainbow developed into a double rainbow! I took a few pictures of this and hoped that the others were also seeing this miraculous sight as they drove home... Robin got the magnificent photo of the rainbow over the church & I edited out the telephone wires!
What better way to end the day...
About 50 attendees...
This year, we all travelled to Abbie & Stan White's Farm...
Notes to follow!!
Back at the Church this year
At the Church again
2011 was a lovely day for the Family Reunion! This year, it was hosted by
cousin Robin Unger at her spacious Russell home. As far as I can figure, there
were 36 family members attending, a good number! We also were joined by Robin's
Fiddler's Group. They entertained us with an energizing afternoon of fiddle
music, with many of the family joining in with spoons, washboards, "bass
fiddle", and anything that could add to the tempo.
The day began for some hearty souls with a hike up Noble Mountain, lead by Tammis Coffin, who is associated with the National Parks Dept. I heard that Stewart took his annual tree climb as well! Good for you, Stewart!
Robin's home had plenty of room for everyone to be seated comfortably, with folding chairs that Susan Slaymaker Boyer gave her when she broke up her PA home and moved to the Big Apple. We were sorry that Susan couldn't be with us this year. We also missed Esther Martin and Abbott Cummings, and several other family members, and hope they will be with us next year.
As usual, the food was provided by family members, and it never fails that we get a good assortment of food on the serving tables. Thanks to everyone who thoughtfully contributed.
Another table sure to attract attention was the Swaps, one of the Comins specialties. You never know what treasure you will find, such as pawpaw fruit and next to new mystery novels.
We were so busy with the fiddling that we forgot to have a business meeting, but
I'm sure any business can wait till next year!
As usual, picture taking was of prime importance. We all gathered on Robin's back deck, and members of the Fiddlers kindly took pictures with cameras that were handed over from the group so that all could be in the final posing.
Don't forget to share your pictures that you
took! And you can send any comments to Kirsten to be added to the Comins web
site. Her email address is
Contributed by June Stibolt
No Notes Yet ~ Incomplete Photo Page
No Notes Yet ~ Incomplete Photo Page
Monday February 10, 2014
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