Thursday, May 31, 2007

Looking Back

Boy, it's been a loooonnnggg Day!

I wouldn't be posting this now but I had to cease and desist working on the photo poster board for my class reunion because I need more glue. I've been working since about 10 p.m. tonight on clipping, sizing up, pasting photos of my classmates and just emptied the third -and last - glue stick I had in the house. So today -when Mandy gets home from work, I'm going to have to have her pick up more glue sticks for me and hopefully, I'll be able to get the rest of the photos glued onto the poster board tomorrow afternoon and will have that project all done, neatly tucked away.

I was going to start with our graduation photos -placing them in a circle and working out from the center of the poster board but decided instead, to start with the oldest photos I had -one is a baby picture of one of the guys from our class and the other is one of my cousin and me taken when we were about 2-3 years old and put them in the center and then worked my way out from there, trying to do it in a "sort of" age type layout. So if someone starts at the center and works their way towards the top, bottom, sides, etc., it will be an age progression - if you use your imagination. I'm worried I will run out of space now too but we shall see how that pans out - gonna take a lot of "nips and tucks" on the photos I have left to paste on there, that's for sure!

The pictures I have left to work with are all ones of people from my class taken after graduation. A few wedding pictures, some that are just kind of "general" and photos I have acquired of a goodly number of classmates with their children and grandchildren. If need be, I may have to run to Walmart and find another poster board - but won't need a great big one like the one I've been working on tonight.

As I worked my way out from the center, using pics of various classmates from first grade up through our senior year, I then took the pictures that were our yearbook photos and by snipping them a bit, I was able to "ring" around the early childhood photos with our graduation photos and as it turned out, it was a perfect fit! Talk about a lucky streak I had going there, huh?

After that, I pasted up photos of our class reunions - group photos from three reunions and snap shots of various classmates and the two last reunions.

Earlier this week, I posted a group photo of our class taken at our 25th reunion and seeing as I am sooo alert ya know, I didn't realize until today that that particular photo has a date over the top of it saying it was our 1982 Reunion -which would have been our 20th reunion. However, I know for a fact that picture was taken at our 25th reunion which was held in 1987 so I must have put the date label on it at sometime or other and scanned it in incorrectly then. Sometimes, I am just sooo danged bright you know! Brother! How the heck could I have done something that freaking stupid anyway? Well, for me, it was probably pretty doggone easy!

Just for the heck of it though, here's some more photos from the assortment I have gathered up, starting off with the one that is the REAL one of our group from out 20th reunion - back in 1982.
That year - as shown above - I think we had our best turnout - if I counted correctly, there were 28 classmates who showed up for it. This one was held down at the Quehanna Motor Inn, just outside of Karthaus, and for entertainment, we had a "one-man band." Yep, one man who played several instruments - some of them if I remember correctly he played simultaneously! He was quite a "one-man show"!

Here's a picture now taken at our 30th Reunion. This was the first "picnic" reunion we had which was hosted by our classmate, Joe, at his house - out in an area near here that is very rural, I don't think there are any true villages in that township, but somewhere over the years, the area was given the name of "Pinchatooley." I have no clue whatsoever as to the origin of that name but most everyone around here just refers to it usually as "Pinchy."
At that reunion, shown above, we had 22 classmates present -which now seems to be about the norm for our group. This year, according to my neighbor, friend, our class president (Kate), we have 21 who are going to attend. There were 61 of us in our class when we graduated and our class was one of the largest to graduate back for that era. I don't remember - and I don't have anything around anymore either that gives the count of how many students there were in our class when we started out high school years -but it seems to me there were somewhere around 80 of us our Freshman year.

Since we graduated, we have lost six classmates - five of the boys and one girl who graduated with me are dead. The last of our class who passed away was Jim Wasseen and he died three weeks after our 40th reunion of cancer. I think the youngest member of our class to die was Lynn Gruendler, who took his own life on January 13th of 1976, which would have made him 32 years old at the time. That was a terrible time as two days before Lynn shot himself, my neighbor's son, Bobby, had also taken his own life too. Bobby was only 28 years old. I'd grown up with Bobby, my Mom had taken care of him and his mother when he was born (born at home back in those days you know and my Mom was a registered nurse), so he was like a little brother to me. Six years later, my cousin David also took his own life. Having seen the devastation the actions taken by these three young men on their families, the state of shock the entire community here was in when Bobby and Lynn BOTH did that, words simply do not describe the feelings that existed then - and still do -over those losses. And, I remember those events like it was just yesterday that it happened - suicide leaves such a void that is so much harder to accept the loss, even after these many years.

One of my classmates who brought some photos down to loan me for this poster board commented to me when she was here that this may very possibly be our last class reunion. I would hope it isn't the "end of the road" in that respect but I know Kate - our Class President - didn't want the responsibility this year of planning this event and I'm fairly certain she is going to request if we want a reunion for our 50th year, that someone else take over and do the work. It is a tremendous amount of work involved in a function like this, for openers. I know how much work goes into trying to plan our family reunion every year - which reminds me, I need to start working on the newsletter I send out to all family members to remind them of that event coming up here the last weekend in July.

The family who used to live in the house next door to me - the Little family - had their family reunion this past Sunday. It's such a contrast to see how many attend that function - they use the Cooper Grove paviilion - which is often rented for wedding receptions and such and probably holds at least 200-300 people in the dining room. The Little family though is anything but Little - there were 13 children for openers and I think there are 66 or 68 grandchildren (I've lost track now). And great-grandchildren - now great-great-grandchildren too -and they pretty well fill that building when they get together! One of the grandchildren is Charmaine of Jim and Charmaine's Restaurant here and I had to laugh at Charmaine's Mom - Helen Ann - who Mandy and I saw Wednesday afternoon up at the restaurant as she was talking to me about their family reunion and remarked about how many kids there were there this year - "All over the place" according to her! And I can easily believe that!

My own family reunion at the end of July, although there were 13 children in my grandfather's family and 40 grandchildren - I'm of the "great-grandchildren generation there - but we wil lbe lucky I suppose if we pull in 25 cousins to attend our reunion. When I was growing up and my grandparents, several of his siblings too, were still living, we usually drew 60-70 people back then for our reunion. But back then, most of those in the Eld family side of my tree tended to live in Pennsylvania, New York or Maryland - pretty much within a 3-4 hour drive to get back here. Today, the family is scattered all over the place - from one cousin in Hawaii, a few in California and Texas, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina and Georgia and only a few of us in Pennsylvania and as close by as New York or Maryland! How times do change things that you grew up! And, to my way of thinking, seeing my family reunion dwindle down to those low numbers brings about the fear that soon it may disband for lack of attendance and interest. I just hate the thought of my grandchildren NOT being able to grow up and know who their relatives are regardless of how distant the relationship might be today.

And now - before I fall asleep typing or worse, get off on a really sentimental tangent and keep writing - I'm going to post my normal "Bushism" for the day and go to bed!

Thursday - May 31, 2007
"And if you're interested in the quality of education and you're paying attention to what you hear at Laclede, why don't you volunteer? Why don't you mentor a child how to read?" - Pierre Laclede Elementary School; St. Louis, Missouri; January 5, 2004.

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