Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gone, for another five years?

Before I launch into my class reunion report - actually before the weekend comes to a screeching halt at midnight, here's the post for Saturday/Sunday's Bushism for June 2/3, 2007.

"We have enough coal to last for two hundred fifty years, yet coal also prevents an environmental challenge." - Washington, D.C.; April 20, 2005
Ok, Bushism aside for now, here's the way the Class Reunion went!

And for your viewing pleasure too, there will be a couple photos interspersed along the way - like this one of the 1st and 2nd grade classes at the Kylertown Elementary school in Kylertown, PA. For anyone of this era, from Kylertown, if you can identify any of the kids on this photo, please feel free to give identifications in the comments section here -or e-mail me.

I loaded up my van with this big old picture poster board, a smaller corkboard with some more photos, an old album I finally located late Friday night, three year books -covering 1961, 1962 and 1965, grabbed a gift bag stuffed with 20 bibs for my friend to make her selections from and headed off about 5 p.m. for Clearfield.

I had to stop at the grocery store in Kylertown to pick up a couple little things, cash a check so I would have some green on me in case I needed it over there to buy a drink and when I pulled into the parking lot there, it was starting to sprinkle. I hurried into the store, got my business taken care of and back out to get on the interstate for the drive - about 22-23 miles. It began to rain a little harder for maybe 2-3 miles or so and then, nice weather, dry roads, maybe the rain was all behind me, or so I hoped.

Clearfield, as I got closer though, I could see clouds coming in, a little darkening there and thought boy, I hope I get a parking spot close to the restaurant so I can load my arms up and cart all this stuff in with one trip - just in case it does start to put forth with some more rain. I did luck out and got a parking spot almost directly across the street from Hedges' Restaurant and yep, I was able to manage to load everything into my arms to lug it all across in only one trip!

The girl out front escorted me back to our room - at the rear of the facility - a very nice room too. Big enough to provide plenty of room and yet, small enough that we could all be relatively close together too but without feeling cramped, no space infringed upon that way. When I arrived, Rose Little Wick and her husband Durv were already there and Wick, (that's what many of us just refer to him as - simply "Wick") immediately helped me unload all my packages and Rose and I moved things around a bit on the table, got the photo board set up. I don't remember exactly now who was next to arrive - I think Kate Nelson Eyerly and her husband, Jim -Kate's our class president, valedictorian and well, ask anyone from our class and they'd tell you probably the same thing about her - just all around very, very nice girl way back and hasn't changed a lick over the 45 years either in that respect. Still quiet, very studious, concerned and friendly - that's our Kate!

Gradually, the room began to see a few more coming in -Lori Bunyak Greenfield, from down in Virginia; Carol Folmar Nadzom and her husband, Ed, from State College. (Eddie was my neighbor -lived two doors up the street from me, so I've known him all my life.) Susie Violanti, from Lanse; and Arlene Anderson Stover and her husband, Ed -from down in Georgia were among the first to show up. Then Doris Thompson Malinky, who lives in Curwensville - just up the road from Clearfield arrived and Bernie Lucas Kapura and her husband Ed, from Carlisle rolled in too. We had the usual hugs, greetings, good to see you exchanges again with most everyone looking at the collage of photos I had pasted up for their viewing pleasure.

During this time, we noticed it had apparently started to rain or was really gearing up for it - as although where we were we couldn't see the lightning, could hear a little rumbles of thunder but judging by the way the lights were flickering off and on, over and over, we knew it was apparently going to be a heavy-duty storm - and it was too! About 8 or so of our group was stranded for a while, some for about a half-hour in their cars in the parking lots, waiting for enough of a break that they could run for cover of the restaurant without getting totally drenched. Harold Hahn and his wife Bernie, finally made it in, then Betty Samansky Danko and her hubby, Andy. Linda Wertz Payne, who lives now in Phlipsburg got there and then, Nancy Benton McFarlane and her husband Mike who live in Aurora, Colorado arrived too. Finally, Art and Sharon Folmar and Herb and Donna Lucas made it in as well as Ernie and Rieke DeGrasse. That left only Frances Lucas and her guest, Irene Danko who graduated from Cooper Center in 1960 and Tom Chakan and his wife Liz, who were coming in from Cleveland were the only stragglers not yet there. We waited a while, talking, remembering old times, sharing family news and such till the staff wanted to know if we were ready to sit down for the dinner. We decided we'd best start and hopefully those not yet there would arrive soon.

So, as we started to head for a seat at the tables, there was a little smidgen of commotion coming from the one side of the room, near the door and when I glanced over, I could see Ernie DeGrasse's wife seated on a chair with several guys clustered around her and it was obvious from her eyes that she was in some kind of physical distress. I hurried over to that area and heard them saying she had felt ill, dizzy, tried to sit down and then, as she was attempting to do that, she blacked out.

Well, having a medical emergency at any gathering -regardless of the nature of the event or the emergency - is a scary thing for all concerned. Fortunately, some of the guys were attending to her, trying to get her laid out on the floor, with Kate looking in on the situation since she is a registered nurse and at least knows a little bit about things like dealing with medical emergencies. Poor Ernie though - I started towards the hallway door and he was ahead of me and suddenly he spun around as if he was going to head back to our room, then thought again and quickly turned to head towards the front of the restaurant, then he stopped and did the swivel thing again. I caught up to him and asked if he wanted someone to call 911 and he said , yes please and thank you and hurried then back to the room and his wife's side. I know that feeling when you are in a situation and you think I should do this but wait, maybe it's this, then you think again no, it's this and you end up acting exactly like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. But anyway, I reached the staff out front and had them call 911 and she said they would be right there - would be coming to the back door to check on our friend.

Meanwhile, when I got back to our room, the men had Rieke stretched out on the floor, feet elevated, wiping her brow, talking to her and she was responding somewhat; her color seemed to be returning a good bit too - all of which was very much a relief. She said she had no chest pains, had no issues with diabetes or epilepsy -things like that. But she said she and Ernie had just returned about two days before our reunion from a visit to Korea to see their son who is stationed there and his family and she thought perhaps this was just a combination of exhaustion, not having eaten anything earlier that day and jet-lag.

By that time, the EMT's arrived on the scene and the first one through the door leaned over the patient, took a good look and her and asked her, "What's going on here?" to which she replied that she didn't really know what happened. He then asked her if she knew who he is and she said "No" and he said then, "Well, that's a problem because you should. You've known me for over 30 years. I'm Dave Mulhollem." At that, Rieke smiled and recognized him - kind of a shock when you are out of your home area and the EMT who comes to your aid is a local kid from your own area -you just aren't really expecting to see someone you know in that situation.

After they did a preliminary check and although she did then seem to be coming around ok, they suggested she allow them to take her to the Emergency Room which she insisted she didn't need, didn't want to do that but thankfully, they did convince her to go as when they started to get her up, her color began to fade again. So, Ernie and Rieke left in the ambulance for the hospital and Art and Sharon Folmar followed them out to the Emergency room to wait things out with Ernie. (I talked to Kate after church this morning to see if she'd heard anything back last night from Ernie and she said no, she hadn't but she planned on calling him this afternoon to see how things were. I took a little nap late this afternoon and when I got up, Mandy told me Ernie had called me and he had told Mandy everything checked out ok for Rieke and the doctor felt it was all pretty much caused by what Rieke herself had figured - just dehydrated, exhausted and having jet lag! Boy, there was a major sigh of relief on this end. It was bad enough that Ernie and Rieke had to miss the reunion meal and more visiting but thank goodness it wasn't anything much worse, which at our ages now it easily enough could have been a very, very serious situation! It was scary enough as it was worrying that all was ok there.)

The dinner last night I am happy to say was very good! Excellent as a matter of fact! Roast beef and stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, gravies (beef or chicken), fresh baby green beans, white snap beans and baby carrots with a very light Parmesan type topping, tossed salad and carrot cake - all very well prepared. The salads were served individually as was the cake but the entrees were all set up as a buffet so you could have either beef, chicken or both!

Prior to our beginning the meal, Frances Lucas was asked to give the blessing and she gave a lovely prayer of thanksgiving for not only the food but also for the cameraderie that brings us back together, usually every five years for a good, friendly gathering of friends who once were classmates a long time ago!

After the meal, Kate had asked me to speak to those gathered. I had messages from Cheryl Schnars Shank who has been living in Destin, Florida since Hurricane Katrina virtually wiped out the home she and her husband Mitch had in Slidell, Louisiana and from Sylvia Janke Kelly too, both girls unable to attend this year. Cheryl and Mitch have been in the process of having their home rebuilt but not necessarily with the intention of moving back to Slidell as Cheryl had told me last year they are thinking long and hard about moving perhaps just a little bit to the north and INLAND! She thinks perhaps they will eventually resettle in either North or South Carolina - a bit closer then to their son, Brian, perhaps. Sylvia though has had many health problems since the year after our graduation when she injured her back in a college phys ed class and this past year has been a rough one for her from a medical standpoint too. In addition, I mentioned that another classmate, who we had lost track of over the years but this spring, through the aid of a graduate of the class of 1961, I was able to track down Nancy Duck, living in the Silver Spring, MD area only to learn she has many medical problems all of which would prohibit her from traveling to our reunion but that she would welcome hearing from classmates by mail or phone calls.

I had gathered some information using our yearbooks to put out to the class, talking about goals we had back then, how many of us realized those goals we had set for ourselves then and how many of us had actually gone on to a little higher calling too in the process. Also went over some of th e silly slogans we each had under our names in the yearbook -and how many of those sayings were still pretty appropriate today. Mine still fits, for sure: "I may not be a Ford but I sure can rattle on!" Oh yes! How true, indeed!

And so, we ended another reunion - leaving with a lot of good feelings (I hope everyone else came away feeling as good as I did about the entire event anyway), but unfortunately, we didn't think to have any discussion as to the idea of having yet another reunion for perhaps our 50th anniversary since our graduation. Well, hopefully we will discuss this here and there as we encounter a few classmates over the next 3-4 years and will decide we want to reunite at least one more time and maybe someone will step up to the plate and take charge of things. I've already decided if folks want another reunion, I will gladly help out in any way possible to see that it comes to pass and here's hoping at least a few others will also step forward, help out and we'll manage to come back together yet again!

As classes go -I doubt ours was any different than other high school classes have been over the course of history - everyone always has a couple little cliques. I think it's just human nature. But, fortunately, what cliques did exist in our class have been, at least for the most part, put aside, forgotten and we now look forward very much to seeing our old friends, enjoy remembering the teachers, other students, little silly things we did back then and sharing our joys that have become our lives since graduation - work, children and now, for many of us, retirement and grandchildren! And boy, I can speak fully from experience here that becoming a grandparent does wonders to change ones perspectives in life. So does having had a life threatening illness too - puts everything in a totally different light, what's important, to what degree and how to go about enjoying living as much as possible.

And, as my friend and classmate, Ernie DeGrasse said today when we talked, "We grew up nicely, didn't we?"

And yes, Ernie - with that I definitely have to agree that I think we did indeed do that quite nicely, in fact.

So there you have it - the full skinny on my 45th class reunion.

Can you tell I very much enjoyed it?


lattégirl said...

I'm glad you had such a good time! Too bad about Rieke, though!

Linda said...

Sounds like you absolutely hated it!

Nothing like a call to 911 in the middle of your Reunion to spice things up a little bit! Glad to hear it was just a combination of exhaustion and dehydration and nothing serious.

That's definitely something to talk about at your 50th reunion!