The gathering of the Yunis-Broner-Easton clan

As I kayaked on the calm waters of Lakeville Lake in Connecticut, under the sun filled sky filled with puffy white clouds, I thought about how proud my late husband Stu would be as his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews gathered together for a long weekend.

It was a perfect time together, thanks to his daughter Mimi’s warm hospitality at her home. Each year, Mimi throws a three-day reunion bringing together our family from Seattle; Houston; Coral Gables; Toronto; Sarasota; Chicago; Douglas Manor, Queens; Manhattan; and Long Island. 

Many of us stayed across the road at the charming Interlaken Inn, as did other members of the family. Mimi and Jim’s lakeside home has room for about 15 people, and every inch was filled with family. The overflow crowd stayed across the road at the Interlaken Inn.

Fortunately, the Broners’ large property, perched lakeside, has been set up like a fabulous camp with a basketball court, ping-pong table, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and a “bike” on the water.

Sam overlooking the dock where I used the kayak

Then there are the meals — feasts orchestrated by our hostess. 

On Saturday, we were “ordered” to be at the main house at 2 p.m., and when Mimi speaks, we all listen. As we turned our eyes to the parking lot, there stood a Mister Softee ice cream truck! With glee and broad smiles, we all descended on the friendly-looking ice cream man and lined up for our custom made drinks and sundaes. What a treat!

I held myself back from seconds, but many of the kids fearlessly doubled and tripled their orders. Mimi met the minimum for the truck without any problem as we all pigged out on our favorite treats!

Sam Broner and I

The next day, we were given a seafood feast of oysters, bacon-topped stuffed clams and lobsters just out of the pot, and caught in Maine only hours earlier.

As I said at Stu’s funeral, his successful life as a doctor was superseded by his legacy of super kids.

Stu’s sons are Jon, a doctor, and Harvey, a distinguished professor of the classics. His daughters are Mimi, a principal at a premier preschool in Manhattan, and Eve, a talented artist specializing in designing gardens. 

Stu did a great job making them always feel the importance of family and staying connected. 

Jillian and Hillary at the nearby town’s farmer’s market

To celebrate him, we each drank his favorite drink, a martini, saluting him and hoping he’s having a great meal and fine wine and his martini up in Heaven. A somber but soul-warming moment. 

Zach watching the Mets game

My daughter Samantha is like Mimi. They both can host dozens of people with efficiency and smiles, making seamless meals and making everyone feel special. I think it’s a gift to be unfazed while orchestrating meals, entertainment, logistics and even laundry!

With just a week separating the angst of the senseless murders of so many innocent people in Ohio and Texas, I was grateful to recharge my batteries at the reunion. But our conversations around the lake, and at dinners and lunches, were unified in the belief that there is no place in our country for assault weapons — pure weapons of war!

Even as I felt the warmth and love of my family this weekend, my heart still goes out to those who lost family members due to gun violence. All of us must call the White House at 202-456-1414 and push for an end to the sale of assault weapons, and spare more families needless heartbreak.

Let your voice be heard — and hug your child!

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