Members of the Smith-Schmidt-Krawiec family gathered for a "Dutch Treat" dinner at the Kosciuszko Polish Home in Dunkirk. Family members from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Virg-inia and various places in New York joined the local families to renew friendships and to catch up about events during the last year.
On Saturday, with the sun shining and the American and Polish flags flapping in the breeze, 85 descendants of the late Andrew and Angeline Krawiec Smith met at the home of Joseph P. and Rene Granata, grandson of the late George T. and Phyllis Smith, in Forestville. Joseph and Rene have relocated back to Western New York after Joseph's retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps.
Assisting Joe and Rene with the planning were Joseph and Sue Smith, who donated the charcoal and the use of their roaster. Joseph C. and Stella Granata worked at the registration desk. Laurie Leone Siracuse, Julie Granata and Kerry Leone organized the Chinese auction, and Jennifer and Craig Heisler mailed out the invitations. Norm Schmidt ordered the beverages and arranged for the use of extra tables and chairs.
Members of the Smith-Schmidt-Krawiec family pose beneath the American and Polish flags at their reunion at the Kosciuszko Polish home
John "Andy" Granata and Jashua Woods stoked the fires all night to roast the 150 lb. pig, "Bert," who was raised as a 4-H project for the Chautauqua County Fair and purchased by Joseph and Rene Granata for the reunion.
Joseph P. Granata welcomed everyone and thanked the various people for their help and led the group in a blessing. A menu of roast pork, perogi, and an assortment of salads and desserts were served at 1 p.m. The corn roast was done by Blaine Burgess to complete the meal.
Entertainment was provided by Gina Vecchio and the Barn Cats. Everyone enjoyed the music.
As Angeline Smith Leone read a list of the departed family members, red and white balloons were passed out to all of the family members in the circle. After the "Our Father" was recited, the balloons were released in memory of their loved ones.
A list of the deaths from this past year included Helen Krawiec, wife of Ed Krawiec, who died Nov. 26, 2012; Linda Foster Tucker, sister-in-law of Jeanette Foster Meadows, who died March 6, 2013; and Helen P. Mleczko, mother of Sue Smith, who died March 7, 2013.
The family welcomed one new member this year. Joseph P. Granata III was born April 13, 2013 to Joseph and Lisa Moore Granata, from Bakersfield, Calif . He is the grandson of Joseph and Rene Granata.
Tracy and Lee Schmidt of Pembroke organized children's games, including water balloon tosses and egg races. All the children received prizes. Baline Burgess provided pony rides, and Jashua Woods drove the tractor pulling a hay wagon around the farm for children and adults to ride. Bocce was played by the older children.
The youngest family member there was Liam Woods, son of Jashua and Stephanie Woods of Va., grandson of Joseph and Rene Granata. The oldest family member present was Joseph C. Granata.
Stella Granata took pictures throughout the day to be included in the family album. A DVD was made of the first 50 years of the family and was shown on a large flat-screen television set up in the large hangar on the farm. The DVDs are available for purchase by calling Stella at 672-5655. A group picture was taken at the end of the party.
The next reunion will be on Aug. 2, 2014. Members from each family are encouraged to give their reunion suggestions to Joseph and Rene Granata.