Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pierce, Bond Families Holding 50th Reunion




KINGSPORT — Once again, members of the Pierce and Bond families will travel to Kingsport from as far away as California, New Jersey and Texas to take part in their annual family reunion.
The families, which are made up of doctors, lawyers, nurses and even a concert pianist, converge on their grandmother’s old house at 1018 E. Sevier Ave. in Kingsport each year to take part in the weekend of family fellowship.
This time, however, things are a little different, as 2008 marks the 50th year of the Bond-Pierce Family Reunion’s existence, family member and reunion host Chinette Bond said.
“I think it’s been successful because of the fact our family is close and because of the love that we have for each other,” she said. “Everybody wants to get together every year. We talked about going to every other year, but they said ‘No, we want it every year.’ ”
The reunion, which began Friday afternoon, runs through Sunday. On Friday, the family visited Bays Mountain before going on a picnic. Today they will have a family dinner at Higher Ground Baptist Church’s Life Center on Lynn Garden Drive. Sunday the family will attend a church service at Shiloh Baptist Church on East Sevier Avenue.
Proclamations were also given to the families by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, recognizing the families for being a cornerstone of the community.
Although family is the weekend’s major focus, Bond family member Larry Bowditch, a native of Kingsport living in Texas, said the food is one of the main draws of the weekend.
“All of our parents made sure we knew how to cook,” he said. “The stuff we learned was always unique, so we have a lot of family recipes we’re known for and that everybody enjoys.”
According to Betty Dickens, a member of the Bond family from New Jersey, the reunion got its start in 1958 at the same house they meet at today.
Since that time, attendance has grown from 25 family members a year to an average of 75. The reunion mostly centers around family members catching up on old times, but it also give them a chance to meet new members they never knew existed.
“We have cousins we haven’t seen in a long time, and we have a cousin from Ohio coming that we had never met before,” Dickens said. “Last year, we brought a niece into the family we didn’t know we had, so we’re growing, growing, growing.”