By Barbara A. Schmitz
For the Grantonic family, attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is like attending a family members reunion on steroids.
Not only do they have four generations attending and camping in Camp Scholler at this year’s fly-in convention, but these people also have the “family” of friends they’ve met throughout the years.
The family tradition actually started when George Grantonic took his son Rich to the EAA convention in 1975. But this year, Rich, of Mingo Junction, Ohio, is here with his son Paul, grandchildren P. J. and Marc, and great-grandchild, Johnathon, 13, all from Wintersville, Ohio. The group of five also attended AirVenture 2019.
Getting that many generations of the family together isn’t always easy, but it can be done with lots of planning, they said.
Thankfully, Paul is a planner, especially when it comes to meals. But he’s also getting a reputation in Camp Scholler as top chef. His specialty is breakfast, the group agreed.
“The key to breakfast is butter, ” Paul said. He’s up by 5: 30 a. m. in order to start cooking, and the menu generally includes coffee, juice, bloody marys, potatoes with onions and peppers, eggs, bacon, sausage, plus toast with homemade jelly and jams. And he typically makes a few pancakes each morning, too.
There are always five at breakfast, yet the smell has been known to bring the particular neighbors over, too. “Once they hear the taters hit the hot grill, you start to hear tent zippers start opening, ” Paul said.
Rich said he’s typically the only pilot in this family — so far. But the group has always had an interest in aviation.
And while they always enjoy camping no matter where they will are, there is no better place to camp than at Oshkosh, that they agreed.
“We love coming here, ” Rich said. “It’s more of a family reunion. I look forward to camping out here and meeting new friends, seeing old friends, and honoring those lost. ” He said this individual regularly calls some buddies who are not healthy enough to make the trek to Oshkosh anymore. “But this is really a salute to my dad, in addition to I’m thankful that we can continue it and be with each other. It will always hold a special place within my heart. ”
Johnathon agreed, and even said they’ve already fulfilled new people this year who have already become part of their extended loved ones. “I like being here with the planes together with people, ” he stated. “Just yesterday we achieved a guy named Paul and now he’s our friend, like family. ”
An average day for the group will be eating breakfast and then heading to the flightline to explore, before coming back for lunch. They like to be able to visit “extended relatives” with regard to a bit, and head back for the air show. At night, they may go to a Theater in the Woods program, visit Ultralights, or just sit around camp, many times with friends.
But it’s also the household traditions they create that make Oshkosh so special. For instance, they like to make airplane ribs together and each have the collection at home. G. J. said that this year, they added a new new tradition: volunteering.
While in often the past and this 12 months they have always helped their camper neighbors — for instance, P. J. helped set up four tents this season — this particular year they started helping out at Operation Thirst, too, as a friends and family.
“I’m pretty sure EAA wouldn’t survive without volunteers, ” mentioned Marc. “It’s just too enormous. ”
But if there is anything that they are certain about it is that many people will be back for more fun with their biological and extended families. After all, there is nothing like some sort of good family reunion.