When our grandfather Dan Carey was young, he would routinely visit his siblings and their growing families at their homes in Boonton. The one exception was his brother John, who lived too far away in Lake Hopatcong—at the Ice House—to join in those family gatherings.
Until his oldest sister Annie Carey Duffield’s death in 1932, Papa would take the kids to visit his family on Sundays at the Duffield house on Boonton Avenue. Grandma and Papa were living on Main Street near Boonton Avenue at the time.
He would tell Grandma that “We’re going to take a walk to Dublin,” and Grandma would stay home preparing Sunday dinner. After his sister Annie died, he moved the visits to his sister Nell and Pat Cooney’s Church Street house, which was across the street from his brother Joe and Lo Carey’s home.
As the families grew and lives got busy, those visits began to diminish. While I remember visiting Aunt Lo and Uncle Joe often, and their youngest daughter Betty was always part of our lives, I only knew of Uncle Pat because his was the home whose yard met ours—the house with the grape vines, cherry and pear trees, and the great yard for sledding.
I had little knowledge of the children and grandchildren of his sisters Annie and Nell, and even less of the families of his brother Jim and John, but I later learned that many of those descendent children did and still do know their second cousins.
Ours was the largest family, with Grandma and Papa eventually having thirty grandchildren, most of whom he never knew because he died in 1959. So he saw only the first fourteen of us, and these grandchildren probably have little, if not any, recollections of him.
In the beginning, we’d gather at each other’s homes at Christmas or for birthday parties, but in time, no one’s homes was large enough to accommodate our growing crowd. We’d get together for play dates with the cousins who were close in age to us or choose a cousin for a sleepover at Grandma’s house.
We began to splinter off and gather for weddings and then the funerals of the aunts and uncles and even a few cousins like Daniel, Lois, Billy, and Shane. Even the wedding lists could not include everyone because we are just too large. Many of you were able to get together for my mother’s birthday in January, but for the most part it is now just the funerals.
Now there is a reunion unlike any other we have ever had, which is in good old Boonton on Labor Day Weekend. This is a gathering of all the descendants of our grandfather and his siblings. It is an opportunity to meet the cousins whose names you may have heard and wondered how they fit in, cousins you may not have seen since you were young, and cousins who are complete strangers to you.
Still, it is an opportunity to connect, and I bet all those “Careys from Dublin” (gee I wish I really knew where they originated) would be thrilled to know their grandchildren and great grandchildren were interested in keeping their memories alive.
And to those local cousins who still are not interested in meeting the “stranger cousins” I say this to you: Then come and gather to hang out at Johnny’s or the Fireman’s Fair or St. John’s Church on Sunday afternoon and share a few stories and a laugh or two with the cousins you all know, which are the grandchildren of Dan and Sis Carey—before the next funeral.
There is a Facebook page with the details called Carey Family from Boonton USA 2019 Reunion, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.