Richard and Marion Gross prepare a turkey for roasting in their kitchen with the assistance of 4 of their 11 grandchildren. The helpers are, from left, Samantha Collins, 10; Ali Collins, 12; and 9-year-old twins Sam and Alex Gross.
Special get-together days add spice to the life of the Richard J. Gross family, Exmoor Drive, and keep the members going full-blast.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays are traditional occasions when most families schedule gatherings of the clan, but the Grosses, Richard and his wife, Marion, carry it much further.
Pickle Day, scheduled for the past 10 years, is an example of their gatherings. The event, held in the Gross kitchen, involves at least 8 of their 11 grandchildren, and the children's parents, from Toledo and distant states.
“In four hours, we can about 50 jars of dill pickles,” Mrs. Gross explained. “Everyone from the 6-year-old up works and has an assigned job. We wash and prepare the pickles, filling the jars with a brine which I make. The jobs rotate until everything is done.”
After the canning process is complete, the pickles are stored in the Gross home, where they do not remain very long.
The pickles are eaten quickly on repeated visits by the grandchildren, Mrs. Gross said. “They all love dill pickles.”
Thanksgiving, too, is a traditional day at the Gross home, where Mrs. Gross normally prepares dinner for at least 20 family members.
The day after the holiday is designated family bowling day, and everyone joins in regardless of age. The day includes lunch at a fast-food restaurant, followed by several hours of bowling.
“These affairs are a lot of fun and really bring everyone together,” Mrs. Gross said.
Most birthdays get special celebrations but few equal the travel gift bestowed upon Mrs. Gross last year on her 70th birthday.
“My grandchildren gave me a cruise to Alaska,” she said. “Nineteen of us made the trip. It was wonderful.”
Once every five years, Mr. Gross, chairman of Gross Electric Co., reserves a day for his class reunion. He is a 1945 graduate of Scott High School.
Mrs. Gross recently arranged a gathering of her own 1950 nursing school class in Toledo, inviting 22 former associates.
A graduate of Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, she later worked 10 years during the 1960s in the neurology department of Toledo Hospital, followed by another 10-year stint in clinical work.
New Year's Day is another special occasion at the Gross home, devoted entirely to football viewing on TV, with plenty of good food.
Mr. and Mrs. Gross swim regularly at the Toledo Club. They also bicycle, are members of Stone Oak Country Club, and they travel extensively to foreign destinations.
Millie Benson is a Blade Columnist.