Bolles Family Association Reunion 2001

Tucson, Arizona


The 24th Annual Reunion of the Bolles Family Association was terrific! Everyone had a great time visiting, catching up with those they knew, and meeting those they didn’t. It was a warm weekend the high temperature hovered around 105°, and the Arizona sun shone for us brightly, right up to the pool party Sunday night. But the clouds and sprinkles didn’t stop us from playing outside and having fun. All together we had an attendance of 55. It was a great turnout for Tucson in the summer. Many people arrived earlier in the week, and some stayed longer to enjoy some of the sites that Tucson has to offer.

The reunion was held at Amerisuites Hotel. They made the San Carlos banquet room available for us for the entire weekend. They were very hospitable, allowing many of us to check in early when we arrived, and check out late upon our departures. Coffee was provided throughout the weekend by the hotel and cold bottled water was available to all the cousins to help beat-the-heat.

The reunion registration table was set up in the hotel’s main lobby at about noon on Friday to accommodate the early arrivals. The Bolles Reunion banner made by Barbara Bolles made it easy for everyone to know where to go. Amy DeLoe handled everyone’s registration, signing them in and collecting their $10 payments for the group photo. She also gave each cousin a Welcome Bag, the reunion program and their nametag. The programs and the nametags were decorated in true southwestern style, with chili peppers and dancing saguaro cacti. The Welcome Bags held a bundle of brochures with information about many sites around Tucson, a Bolles Reunion 2001 pen, a Tucson postcard, a Genealogy computer software demonstration CD-ROM and brochure from Family Tree Maker, and a laminated Cousin Finder Chart (so we could all figure out how we were related).

Friday’s agenda started with the Board Meeting at 4:00 in the banquet room. While the board was meeting (the end of the room was closed off for privacy), Francis Bolles held a meeting with anyone interested in her renumbering process for genealogy. At 7:00 PM the festivities really got started when our Master of Ceremonies, Ryan Berger, welcomed everyone and asked everyone to consider some of the crazy things we have all done. We all chose the craziest thing we had done and shared it with the members of our table. Then each table presented the craziest thing from their table and we all had to guess whose it was. We heard some pretty crazy tales, of belly dancing in a Turkish bar, meeting someone on the internet and getting married, biking across the United Stated at age 72, pantyhose falling down in public, and many others. We all had a great time and many laughs. Also on Friday night, everyone was asked to mark where they traveled from on a map hanging in the banquet room. That way everyone could see where everyone was else was from.

Appetizers and punch for Fiday night’s gathering were made by Louise Matz, and they were terrific. We had chips and mexican layer dip, crackers and smoky cheese, lots of fruit and vegetables, and mexican tortilla roll-ups. We all filled up on great food!

Saturday morning started with the hotel’s continental breakfast. After everyone was full and ready to go, we proceeded outside to the still shady west side of the building for our group photo. We all smiled our best and then went back inside for some games and more fun. Once again our M.C. Ryan welcomed us and led us all in a couple of games. The first that we played was Scattergories. We played two rounds and our winners were Barbara Bolles and Bruce Wellnitz. The prizes were sterling silver necklaces (a gecko lizard and kokopelli). Next up was a game of Jeopardy. The categories were Arizona Facts, Joseph Bolles, Proverbs, and Arizona Wildlife. The front table won, and they each received a pretty chili-pepper oven mitt and a jar of prickly-pear cactus jelly. After the games, Ryan announced who had traveled the farthest (Harry and Frances Bolles of New Hampshire), and who had traveled from the nearest (Kate Bolles of Tucson). Both winners were awarded gift baskets full of southwestern items.

We all met for lunch shortly after the morning games. El Molonito Restaurant catered lunch. It included chips and salsa, tacos, chilaquillas, mini chimichangas, rice, beans, and a beautiful lemonade fountain. Following the fiesta theme, after lunch the youngest Bolles cousins participated in breaking a piñata. Young Kelly Thornock from Hemet, California found the special "sugar packet" mixed in with her candy so she won the prize—a colorful book about the desert signed by the author. She was very excited!

The program started at about 1:30 and we had wonderful guest speakers. Bill Bowles spoke first and told the story of how he and Linda DeLoe (his aunt) found one another. It was a touching and mysterious story that obviously had a happy ending! The next thing on the agenda was the slide show from last year’s Kansas City Reunion, presented by Joe Leiner. Aside from a brief interruption to replace a light bulb in the slide projector, it was a great presentation. Our next speaker was Mary Friedrichs, a local genealogist that has filled in her family tree with over 6500 cousins, starting with only two names. She spoke of ways to do research and told some interesting spiritual stories about her own search for answers. She also stressed the importance of sharing family secrets so that they may be passed on to future generations. Next, Ardith Montelius read a poem by Elizabeth Boles of Scotland, called The Boles Bonanza. Then Randall Bolles showed the video of Jim Bolles’ What’s His Name? There were many new members that really enjoyed seeing the tape.

The annual Business Meeting followed the program. Association President, Walter Bolles conducted the meeting. Officers were introduced. Harry Bolles presented the Secretary’s Book to new Association Secretary, Linda DeLoe. Bruce Wellnitz gave the treasurer’s report, and the auditor’s report was accepted. Ardith Montelius reported on current membership (we are up to 293), and reported deaths for last year. Walter presented Joe Leiner with an Honorary Lifetime Membership to the association and a certificate. Randall Bolles discussed changes in the by-laws, requesting that any changes be sent to him by the 1st of September.

Dinner was a buffet catered by Louise Matz. She did an absolutely fantastic job on the food. We had tri-tip beef, barbecued chicken, angel hair pasta, green salad, bean salad, cold corn salad, and garlic bread. Punch was served to drink. It was a really great meal.

After dinner, we stayed in the banquet room and prepared for a fun night of singing. Knight Ryder DJ’s provided us with over 5000 songs to choose from for karaoke. We had many talented singers in our midst! Singers included: Bruce Wellnitz, Jim DeLoe, Ryan and Kari Berger, Stephen and Kim Pearce, Walter and Roseanne Bolles, Carolyn Nalley, Bob Bolles, and Hazel Niland. They all had a great time singing, and we had a great time listening!

Sunday morning we all had breakfast at the hotel again, and everyone prepared to board the Grayline Tour Bus for a four-hour tour of Tucson. At 9:00, we grabbed a lunch bag with a snack of crackers, or cookies, a banana, and juice and boarded the bus and headed out to see the sites. Our tour guide was Gregory Oswald, Ph.D. of the Southern Arizona Guide Association. He did a fabulous job on the tour and we all learned a lot about Tucson’s history and culture. Our first stop was the San Xavier del Bac Mission, where they were having mass. We all got to get out and look around and we went into the beautiful church when mass was over. Everyone took pictures and shopped in the gift shop and then we returned to the bus looking forward to the next sites. We then headed northwest to the Saguaro National Monument. We had some excitement on the way there! While traveling on a curvy road, the right rear tires of the bus dropped into a hole in the road and the outside tire blew! The bus was slightly damaged but we kept going on to the monument, albeit slowly. At the park we watched a slide show about the desert. It was interesting for everyone from other parts of the country to hear. We proceeded, broken bus and all, to the base of "A" Mountain, where a new bus met us and we all transferred aboard. We road up the mountain (a hill, really) to Sentinel Peak where we had a nice view of downtown Tucson. From there, we toured through the El Presido Neighborhood, a historic barrio that had many adobe homes. The tour then headed to the University of Arizona campus, where we saw the Arizona Historical Society and many of the famous buildings on campus. Then we returned to the hotel, only a few minutes later than expected, despite our tire trouble.

Box lunches were waiting when we returned from the tour. Honey-baked Ham Co. provided us with sandwiches, chips, and a salad. We ate in the banquet room and talked about the tour and cooled off from the hot weather. There were no activities planned for the afternoon, so it afforded everyone time to rest and relax for a few hours.

At 6:00 we ventured outside for a pool party. It looked like rain, perhaps a summer monsoon. But we watched the storm clouds blow to the north of us and we had a great time (even with the few sprinkles we felt). We had Eegee’s drinks, a frozen slush from a local restaurant and snacks of chicken, tri-tip beef, fruit, crackers and cheese, and chips and salsa. Those brave enough to enter the water included: Ryan, Jami and Kari Berger, Jim DeLoe, Bruce Welnitz, Susan and Michael Benjamin, Bob and Micki Bowles and Walter Bolles. We stayed outside until well after bedtime and then headed into the hotel.

Monday morning everyone said their good-byes after breakfast. Some cousins stayed for a day or two longer and the rest of us headed home.

It was a great reunion! We all had fun in the sun!