Apr 25, 2010

the family reunion: recuerdos de Mamá y Papá

After months of planning over many an IHOP breakfast, at last the family reunion was here.

To avoid the mess of having to make food and then having to clean it all up, we opted to hold the reunion at a restaurant. We picked Havana Harry's which has great Cuban cuisine in a cool modern setting. So we cleared the date (April 17th) with everyone and started the plan fest. The theme for the reunion was "Recuerdos de Mamá y Papá" (Memories of Mamá and Papá), Mamá and Papá being my great-grandparents, so we gathered up tons of pics and got to making stuff.
My cousin, Victoria, took all the pics from over the years and made a slideshow that was shown on a screen throughout the entire event. It was so cool seeing pics of my grandmother's grandparents, my grandma as a little girl and how the family grew and grew. That's me setting up the slideshow before the party began.

As always, most of our decor was handmade. We made the invites, the menus and the table decor. For the table decor we did something a little different. We got framed pictures of Mamá and Papá and set those up with single orange and yellow Gerber daisies in bud vases from IKEA. A little brown ribbon on the vases and we were good to go. Last minute, mom also had a great idea to make picture "confetti." She printed 2 x 2 pictures of Mamá and Papá and scattered them all over the tables. it gave it a really cool effect. We placed my handmade menus on the tables, and it was all ready. We got the cake from a local supermarket, but jazzed it up by adding another picture of Mamá and Papá.

Grandma also had a great handmade idea. The orchids in her backyard were blooming, so we went and got 8 of them (for her, each of her sisters & sisters-in-law) and made corsages. She had her flower lady make a sample first, and then mom and I got to it and made the corsages. I was amazed, they came out great, especially considering that we don't usually do this type of thing! But the elders looked great with their corsages on.

Another important decor detail was our memory table, kinda of the centerpiece of the event. We had a hat to symbolize Papá and an apron to symbolize Mamá. We also used the colador (which was what they used to make coffee) that my mom had made for the legends event. We also placed the favors on the table. We had books with the story of the family for the sons and daughters of Mamá and Papá plus DVDs of the slideshow for every family. Everyone began to arrive, and we began.

First, Matiti (my godmother and my grandma's youngest sister) said a prayer.
Then Mom read the story of the family.

After that my mom's cousin Marga, read a poem she wrote about the family.

Now being one of the planning committee, I pretty much knew what was going on, but another of my mom's cousins, Gisela, kept her speech a secret. It was a speech for my generation. She even got us all symbols to keep Mamá and Papá always in our hearts and minds.

The boys got hats like the one Papá used to wear while working in the yard, and the girls got aprons like the ones Mamá used to always wear.

Then some of my aunts and uncles shared memories of their parents, Mamá and Papá.

As the stories and speeches were going on, we had a great lunch: salad, a choice of masas de puerco (fried pork chunks), bistec de palomilla (thin Cuban seasoned steak), and pechuga a la plancha (grilled chicken breast) with rice, beans and fried sweet plantains, maduros. The food was delicious. Even my picky aunt liked it!

After that, the pictures began. Each of the smaller families had their pictures taken, and then we had the big pictures.

Here is my family, Mom, Pop, Abuela, my brothers, Richard and Angel and me.

Now, you saw Mamá and Papá's picture at the top of the post. Here are their eight children.

And here are the grandchildren.

And the great-grandchildren.

And the whole big group!

I have to say that I'm grateful to come from such a large united family. I love being able to know my family history and to hear all the stories from grandma and my great-aunts. The party was a rousing success, and everyone was super impressed and left with full tummies and happy hearts.

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