Grapevine: A Very Nice Family Reunion and the Wishes for Many More in the Future

By Rosalyn Queen Alonso | August 25, 2017
In days gone by I use to look forward to attending such wonderful events as the Holly Ball and the Chamber Annual Dinner or the WV Italian Heritage Festival's Honorees Banquet and several other events.  But recently I have found much pleasure and satisfaction in attending events such as reunions, baby showers and birthday celebrations.

This past week the Clarksburg cousins who all were from the Anna Veneziano family gathered to meet each other and to celebrate our heritage. My mother Florence Roberti Burnett and her brother Carman Roberti were children of Grandma Veneziano. 
Although both have passed their children gathered this past week at St. James Hall to meet - some for the first time and some to renew their past friendships. Uncle Carman had two sons, Robert and the late Bill Roberti.  My mother and father (Bill Burnett) had four children in our family: Joan Smith, Rosalyn Alonso, Cathy Fisher and Bill Burnett.  
Over the years we kind of kept in contact with our cousins, but not like a true family should.  My sister Cathy and her husband Dan were in Florida in the spring and by some sort of coincidence ran into our cousin Jeff Roberti. This started the ball rolling on the idea of a little reunion and Jeff informed Cathy that he would be in West Virginia in August.  We could use his visit to plan a get together of the Clarksburg cousins. Cathy took the bull by the horns and put together a wonderful reunion for all of us.

My cousin Bill married Alice Baker from Gassaway while they were still attending Marshall University.  Bill taught at Notre Dame for a short period before going to Florida to pursue his career.  Bill and Alice had three sons, Jeff, Jonathon and the late Paul.
After Bill's passing, Alice remained in Florida raising her three sons. Jeff is a successful businessman in Sarasota, Jonathan, a doctor, is a graduate of WVU  who now works with his brother. Middle son, Paul, passed away recently.
Alice eventually returned to Gassaway  and married Dan Myers, the postmaster there.  The boys came home this past week to visit their mother and stepfather. On a personal note, Alice and I became like sisters, even to go as far as to share maternity clothes. It was obvious that we would become friends as Bill and I were like the sister and brother that neither of us had in school until my brother Bill was born.     

On their way to the Pittsburgh airport, they stopped in Clarksburg for a small reunion.  We started the day with a mass celebrated by Father Patsy Iaquinta and assisted by the local priest in honor of Carman and Mary Roberti, Bill Roberti and Paul Roberti. 
Following the mass we gathered for lunch in the St. James Church Hall. Our menu included basics but we especially wanted to have some of those basic Italian dishes such as tiaela and misnestra. topped off with an Italian tomato salad. We had fresh Italian bread from the local bakery, Italian cookies and that special lemon pie Aunt Mary was famous for. Although there were in excess of fifty people there and I cannot mention each of them, I do want to call special attention to Sam Scolopia who coached with Bill.  Sam attended with his wife Juli. They exchanged memories with Bill's sons and presented them with books from Sunnycroft Country Club. 
Also in a attendance was the Domico boy who attended school at Victory with Bill.  Many friends of Uncle Carman and Aunt Mary were their to exchange memories of Carman at the trampolines and Mary's wonderful cooking at Hagan's. As the boys left they stopped for a short visit with Benny Portaro who still resides in the house next to the Roberti home in North View. They also stopped at the bakery to renew that wonderful smell of fresh bread baking.  We want to especially thank Neva, the church secretary, for her assistance and all those neighbors who came to spend time with us.  

We hope that this will be an annual affair for us. After all what else do we have but family to share wonderful memories with.

Before I close, I want to wish Dot Posey a Happy Birthday on the occasion of her 90th birthday.  She has been a wonderful friend and neighbor for many years.

Keep in touch and until next week "Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine."

Roberti Family Reunion at St. James Parrish Hall.  Seen here left to right are (Front Row) Marty Queen, Alice Baker Roberti Myers,  Dan Myers, Virgil  Smith, Makenna Robey,  (Back Row left to right) Jonathon Roberti, Rosalyn Burnett Queen Alonso, Jeff Roberti, Cathy Burnett Fisher, Dan Fisher,  Joan Burnett Smith and Lisa Queen Lang.   Photo courtesty of M.J. Flaherty.

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