123rd Annual Hersey Reunion Observed Physical Distancing

Event included a meeting, food, and fun

By Rita Norander
The 123rd annual Hersey Family reunion was held at the home of Bob and Rita LaPlante Norander instead of the usual venue of the Newfound Lake home of Helen LaPlante Duchesne, due to COVID.

The descendants of Gilman & Hannah Hersey gathered for their 123rd annual Hersey Reunion on August 1, 2020 at the East Andover home of Bob and Rita LaPlante Norander. Due to COVID-19, it was thought best not to meet at the Newfound Lake home of Helen LaPlante Duchesne. Helen, age 91, is our oldest member, and along with her sisters, has hosted most of the Hersey Reunions since 1971.

It was a beautiful day, as 24 members and one guest arrived from the four states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The most senior member present was Andre Paquette, age 87, while Vienna Schilling, age 4, was the youngest. Newlyweds Derek and Ally Boucher of Middletown, Rhode Island had traveled the greatest distance.

Another change this year due to COVID-19, was to forego the traditional pot luck dinner. Everyone was asked to bring their own lunch, in hopes it would be safer than sharing a pot luck meal. This was a disappointing change, as the pot luck dinner has always been one of the highlights of the day. Fortunately, the day was saved by a yummy dessert of magic bars topped with ice cream!

In the absence of our president and vice president, the business meeting was called to order by Secretary Rita Norander. A moment of silence was observed for Michael Dubois and Paul Stafford who died this past year. Rita reminded people to check the bulletin board for last year’s newsletter, as well as notes and e-mails from absent family members.

Of particular interest was a newspaper clipping of the 1920 Hersey Reunion which was held at the East Andover home of Robert & Blanche Hersey Robie. Rita pointed out that the Robies lived on Cilley Hill Road (now Sam Hill Rd.) which is only about a mile west of today’s reunion.

Treasurer Lucy Twombly gave her report, and there was a ‘passing of the hat’ to help cover expenses. Ten lucky people were winners of the $10 door prizes.

The same slate of officers was elected for another year. They are president: Paul Hersey, vice    president: Chris Duchesne, secretary: Rita Norander, and treasurer: Lucy Hersey Twombly.

Following the meeting, visiting continued as families shared their news. Younger members headed for the brook to play and cool off, and a few hardier souls donned their water shoes, and explored up and down the brook. Various outdoor games were enjoyed.

The hostess gave a tour of the house to interested, first-time visitors. Rita’s parents, Benjamin and Dorothy Hersey LaPlante built the house in 1930. After their deaths in 1986 and1996, Rita and Bob gradually renovated the house, and moved to East Andover full time in 2012.

Next year’s reunion will be held on August 7, 2021. Place will be determined at a later date.