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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, June 20 2001

Reunion

The first babies I was ever around, when about six to eight years old myself, were my neice and nephew Linda and Pat Kennedy, my eldest brother, Tom's, children. As the newest members of the immediate family, they were loved unconditionally even before they were met. In those days, Tom and Sally and the children lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, then moved to Detroit, so we saw them no more than once a year. The children were "strange," as we said, meaning that after arriving for a visit it would take a while for them to "warm up" to us, but after a little reassurance and time to get familiar again, they would be totally integrated into the "bosom of the family" to borrow an old-fashioned metaphor.

One of the truest evidences of bonded friendship is the experience of almost immediate familiarity or mental/spiritual intimacy regained after a lengthy separation. It's something that always amazes me, and it must have that effect on most people because it's so often remarked on. It's worth the cost and effort of getting to a class reunion just to experience it. You may be sharing a pew for someone at your church for five years, greeting that person weekly and perhaps passing the time of day, and yet you may feel you don't really "know" him or her. But after not seeing a classmate with whom you once passed lunch hours in high school after 30 years, after which time you doubt that you'll recognize her as a middle-aged woman and you know she won't know you, you hug and start talking and within minutes it's just like old times. Such acquaintances—friendships—come with no period of "strangeness" as sometimes is seen in babies and toddlers.

One thing amazing about it is that we know people change. They grow and move away from their old likes and dislikes, disgarding lots of baggage and taking up new luggage. We see it in our own spouses and have learned that if we don't move with them we'll end up being left behind, all too often. So how can this person whom you haven't seen since graduation still be the same? Of course on many levels she is not. She's more of a mother now than a daughter, more the teacher than the student, and most of her roles have been changed. Yet in the reunion what matters and what's remembered is the old roles and the attitudes, aspirations, dissatisfactions and other qualities that marked your relationship. Those qualities seem to come back in no more time than it takes to make the reunion hug.

Those of us who planned our last class reunion concluded that we could have used more time to just hang out. A dinner dance is fun, but the noise level and the seating arrangements preclude a level of informal interaction that we missed. A picnic running all afternoon might be more conducive to that, so we're hoping to make that part of our next reunion weekend. I think it will be a good move, because at the last two reunions there were people whom I didn't interact with at all, beyond saying hello, though I used to know them pretty well in school. But of course, unlike the major movie about a group reunion, The Big Chill, we wouldn't want it to get so comfortable that we started picking at old scars.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

21 Ways to "freak out" your colleagues (collect 'em all)

11. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

12. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

13. Specify that your drive-through order is "to go."

14. Sing along at the opera.

15. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

Sent by Zan

Five more to grow on

"No business has ever failed. Management fails! Leadership fails! Not the business!" Phil Steffen
"A decent person is one who isn't afraid to give their parrot to the biggest gossip in town." Rillie Cynthia Steffen
"I shall arise!" The Prodigal Son
"No one is too old to learn, but a heckuva lot of people keep putting it off." Anonymous
"Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm." Malayan proverb

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