Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rycus Rendezvous in Redondo

Roughly every 5 years the Rycus Family, of which Donna is a member, holds a reunion. The most recent was the weekend of July 11-23 in Redondo Beach. Donna, along with cousins Deana Unternaher, Ellen Wohl, Lisa Rycus and Lauren Ako, worked for well over a year planning the gathering. The official site, at which the Saturday night banquet was held, was the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Redondo Beach. The Sunday afternoon picnic was held at Hesse Park, near our home in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Between the informal gatherings, the banquet and the picnic about 80 family members attended. To send out invitations, a master mailing data base was built that contained information on 87 family units, all descendants of the original Raicus. Family members are extended throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, Israel and The Netherlands. While most of the attendees came from the western U.S., there were a few from Michigan and one Toronto cousin who had recently moved to the Los Angeles area.

To provide a hint of how extensive the Rycus family is, I present the following, incredible family portrait which was taken around 1910:

While I cannot identify everyone, the picture includes the 6 children of Israel Raicus (1850-1906), the family patriarch, their spouses and children born into the family at the time the picture was taken (102 years ago). While I am a bit confused about exactly who is who, Israel's children were Peter Raicus (Rycus), Morris Raicus, Goodman Rycus, Edie Rycus, Louis Rycus, and Sadie Rycus.

I do know that Peter Rycus, Donna's Great-Grandfather is 2nd from the left in the top row. His wife, Dina Leah Kreiss is seated in front of him and their children George, Sadie and Sam are the first 3 children from the left in the bottom row. I apologize to other branches of the family for focusing on this group because Peter and young Sadie have appeared in an earlier post, seen here about 2 weeks ago. My mother was also in that picture taken in 1922 (est.)

Anyway, getting back to the Rendezvous in Redondo. One of the highlights was a PowerPoint presentation that cousin Mitch Rycus (Ann Arbor, MI) had put together for the reunion 5 years ago in Toronto. Well, we loaded it on my laptop and Mitch (below) regaled us with family history through 101 slides of photos, documents, and charts. Thanks Mitch!!!

Below is a small collection of pictures from the Sunday picnic. I know most of the "cousins" but will not begin to try and identify them here. The posting of the photos is for those who happen to stop by. (If you are family and want copies of individual shots, send me an e-mail and I will try to accommodate you.)

The last one is from near the end of the successful weekend. Donna is smiling with cousin Tommy, a professional drummer, to whom a special thank you goes for providing live music at the banquet through his jazz quartet. They were great!

So, that's a little bit about the Rycus family and the Rendezvous in Redondo. Where and when will the next reunion be?

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