Reunion attracts friends from faraway

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

BURLINGTON — It was Oct. 24, 1984, when Robert Robinson changed his mailing address from Burlington, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. But that doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination, he’s forgotten the place he first called home.

That’s why he was among the crowd eating, laughing, reminiscing, at the eighth annual Burlington Family Reunion on Saturday.

“This is my first year. I told my sister, I didn’t want to miss it,” said Robinson, who is a supervisor of a mental health facility in Washington.

“These are my people. I’ve seen people I haven’t seen in 40 years. This is something I never thought that Burlington would ever have. It hits my heart.”

This year’s event started with a fish fry at the Burlington Commons Friday evening and continued with a cookout and potluck dinner at the park all day Saturday.

Ray Howard came all the way from San Antonio, Texas, for the reunion. Howard left the community when he went into the service in 1950, but comes back every year for the special party.

While Howard is a Burlington native, his wife, Marie, isn’t.

She hails from the eastern region of England and met her husband while he was in the service.

“It doesn’t matter if you know them or not,” Marie Howard said. “It’s all family.”

Periodically, Mother Nature tried to show who was boss, but the enthusiasm of the crowd refused to let a couple of downpours chase them home.

“There’s not enough of us around for (individual) family reunions,” said Richard Howard who came from Detroit for the weekend.

“The community comes together. I’m seeing the kids I grew up with.”