Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Terrific Time!

As most of you may know -or have figured out by now -I really enjoy getting together, running into, hearing from old friends! I especially enjoy reunions though and in particular class reunions. Next year, my high school graduating class with be celebrating our 50th year since graduation and next week, several of my old classmates and I will be getting together to discuss the details -when, where, how, etc. -our class will celebrate this anniversary. And I'm really looking forward to that lunch get-together next week now to open the discussions needed to bring about a really great class reunion for all of the members of my graduating class.

This past weekend, my cousin was back home for the purpose of attending her 50th Class Reunion. She and her husband flew in Thursday morning from the Austin, TX area and Mandy and I had supper that evening with them. I posted about that dinner a few days ago, you may recall. It was so great to have a chance to wine and dine -and do lots and lots of talking then too -with her and her husband -something we rarely are able to do because, of course, the distance between Texas and Pennsylvania and it sure ain't cheap getting from there to here and back again.

But something else happened over this past weekend that was really an outstanding thing for me!

I actually got to attend her class reunion too!

My cousin and I graduated from the same school system -West Branch Area School -but we didn't graduate from the same school. Back then, this particular school system had just been formed and the class of 1960 was the first class to graduate as "Warriors" from West Branch. Back then, the students attended one of two schools in our area. You either attended classes at the Morris Township School or at Cooper Township High School. The school district encompassed five different townships - Cooper, Morris, Graham, Karthaus and West Keating -when it was formed but it took another four years after the jointure -and the district -was formed before the "new" school was built and opened. The first class to attend classes at the new high school was the class of 1964.

Prior to that joining together of these townships, Morris Township and Cooper Township had been big, BIG rivals -in all things athletic, so for those of my cousin's and my generation, the joining together was in name only. We still really didn;t get to know the kids in our class from the other building -or if we did know some of them, we didn't usually have the opportunity to get to know many of them very well. (And yes, there was still a good bit of the old rivalry still going on between the two schools too, which was a bit hindersome for us then too.)

But anyway, when it came time for those kids from my cousin's class to celebrate 50 years since graduation, they opted to have a "joint" reunion -kids from the Morris School as well as kids from the Cooper School -under one roof, together. Actually the class of 1961 had a joint reunion five years ago for their 45th reunion and from what I heard from friends who were part of that class, they'd had a great time at that reunion so decided to do it all over again this year with a really big celebration.

Last Friday evening, they had an informal get-together out in Munson, at a nice little restaurant-bar there -Casanova's -and then, Saturday evening, they planned a nice dinner get-together over in Clearfield at St. Charles Cafe.

Saturday morning though, my cousin Ruth phoned me to inquire if I'd received an e-mail she'd just sent me. I clicked on my e-mail and yep, there it was so opened and read it. In that e-mail she told me how on Friday evening she'd spent a good bit of time talking to one of the guys from the Cooper school who she knew had been a very good friend of mine -both in school and following our graduation -and they got to discussing how much I would have enjoyed it had I gone to their informal gathering and gee, wouldn't it be nice if Jen could come to our dinner event this event. Yeah, that's the way my cuz operates -she's always been looking out for me, ever since we were just little kids, ya know.

So, Pete, the guy from the Cooper Center told my cousin that if I would like to go to the dinner that evening, to let me know and I could attend with him, as his guest! Now wasn't that a nice gesture on his part though?

Well, I talked this over a little with my cousin and said I'd have to check first with Mandy to make sure she didn't have plans for that evening and wasn't counting on me to be here with the grandkids and that was clear, then I said I'd love to attend that reunion. I phoned Mandy -who was at work at our church doing the cleaning stuff there and lucky day for me, she said "You GO Mom and you have a GREAT time!"

And so, I did just that!

I first tried to call Pete of course to let him know I was going to take him up on his offer. Called the motel where I knew he (as well as my cousin and several other out-of-towners for the reunion) was staying. The desk clerk rang his room but there was no answer. However, I was able to leave him a message to call me back. But then I thought, well what if he's out rambling around and doesn't get back to his room in time to call me, so I dug around in my e-mail messages from him and located one in which he'd given me a phone number for him. So I called and his wife answered the phone. (Now I know his wife quite well too but had only seen her once in the past 44 years -same as with Pete. So anyway, I knew there was no problem in calling that number, talking to her, etc.) She gave me Pete's cell phone number and instructions too that in case I didn't get in touch with him by phone, that I should just go over to Clearfield and show up there about 5 p.m. and meet him as he came to the restaurant and go in with him! (Now there's a trusting wife for you, isn't it?)

But anyway, I called his cell phone and was able to connect with him and we then made arrangements that he would come down here and pick me up and take me with him then to the restaurant.

Well, that sounds like all was well then, arrangements made, smooth as glass, right?


I then had to start thinking about what on earth I should wear to that class reunion dinner that night!

And that was a difficult process to deal with, believe you me!

Making decisions is not something that comes easy to me under the best of circumstances but when that decision involves clothing -well, that has the potential for taking not just an hour or so but days on end!  And so it began then with me rooting through my closet, my dresser drawers, in search of some outfit I could pull together that would be appropriate for me to wear. Did I want to get really dressed up, or semi-dressy or casual or really casual? I tried on one outfit after another, each time modeling it for daughter Mandy to get her impression and her opinion. One red (very dressy) top and a long black skirt, Mandy ruled out immediately as being "too Christmassy." Then there was some discussion between us about that skirt but maybe wearing a nice cream colored semi-dressy top with it and that idea -particularly anything involving a cream top. me and food -got shot down by me then too! I know my graceful side very well by this time of my life and I realized that would be inviting disaster for sure as the odds were definitely in favor of some blob of food, probably the kind that would leave a big greasy stain too, would end up at some point in time landing dead-center on the upper front of a blouse/top/sweater of that color ya know! And I really didn't want to risk being seen by people I hadn't seen in 40-50 years as being that much of a slob!

Eventually, I did find something that both Mandy and I felt would be appropriate -a pair of tan-colored dress slacks, a dark brown light-weight but long-sleeved sweater (hey, it was cold here Saturday) and a brown and tan print shirt to wear over the sweater!  Okay, finally got that ordeal squared away and all I had to do then was watch and wait for Pete to show up in his vehicle and pick me up.

He'd told me he would stop in front of my house and honk the horn for me when he got down to my street so I figured that would be no problem. I was watching the traffic go by the house and saw a vehicle approaching -one that I didn't recognize -so I figured that was him. It went by the house and I figured he was turning the vehicle around and waited then for him to pull up out front but he didn't appear. So I walked out on the sidewalk, looking down the street to see if I could see him driving up to my place and it was then that I saw this pickup truck stopped in front of my neighbor two doors over's house. Hmmm. Could that be Pete? I then walked up to the road and glanced over and when I did, I could see that the truck had out-of-state tags on it so I knew then that was Pete! And true to form for him, as well as it having been over 45 years too since he'd last stopped by my house to pick me up, it was Pete -at the wrong house, tooting the horn!

I motioned to him -by sticking my right arm out with my thumb raised to indicate I was a hitch-hiker -and when he saw that, I could see him raising his arm and hitting himself up side his forehead -saying "Duh!"

But that gave us something to share a lot of chuckles over then as we drove over to Clearfield for the dinner!

And that's how things came about for me that I then got to attend the 50th Class Reunion for the West Branch Area High School -Morris Township and Cooper Township Centers!

And that's also how I came to have one really terrific evening to spend amongst many, many old friends -and my dear cousin and her husband too! Just a little extra quality time with Ruth and Bernie there ya know!

The meal was quite good -buffets are not necessarily the easiest things to put together and serve and keep the food good but this meal was quite nice and very tasty!

But of course, the absolute best thing about the entire evening was the opportunity to meet and greet so many people with whom I had shared a considerable portion of my younger life with in school! Many of the folks there I've know about as long as I've known a goodly number of the kids from my own graduating class -meaning that I grew up with several of them! But hadn't seen most of them since their graduation!

One guy who I was super anxious to see though was Eddy -who had shared an apartment for a couple of years in Virginia with Pete -back in the days when I lived in Maryland and shared an apartment with 2-3 other young women. Pete and Eddy had frequently been my transportation to and from Virginia/Maryland to Pennsylvania and then back to our respective apartments again on many, many weekends between 1964 and 1966! And on the weekends that the guys didn't come up home -or I didn't come up home for a weekend (hitching a ride with two other guys originally from up this way), odds were that you would have found Pete and Eddy at the apartment in Maryland I shared with my roomies and enjoying a big BYOB type of party with our friends!

Ah yes, those were the good old days, for sure! Such fun, such great times we did have together then!

I know in a post a couple days ago I did tell you a good bit about things that Pete, Eddy and my roommates did back in the day but I hadn't gone into detail in that post about the reunion itself -or about the issues I had just trying to get ready to go to that dinner and such.

And I hadn't shown you any pictures either of the reunion itself and that's what I wanted to do here today.

Here then is my cousin, Ruth Ann and her great husband, Bernie! So wonderful to have had the ability to spend some time -again -with them!
And here's my old, old friend Pete too -in a pose that really brings back a LOT of memories for me! Just so nice to see him again too and realize that he still has the same silly sense of humor that he had back then!
Here below are pictures of the people who shared the table where we enjoyed a very nice meal and lots of fun conversation together too!

 This is Mike and Sally. Funny thing here -Mike is retired from his position as the Cooper-Morris Township Police Chief and I joke that he actually knows my son much better than he knows me! But one of their daughters used to be my daughter Mandy's boss at a restaurant in State College where she worked and at that same time, Mike and Sally's son was one of the big bosses too at the truckstop where I worked back then as well!
 These two lovely ladies -both named "Helen" were good friends in school and still are good friends today as well!
And here's Pat and Mary -who got to know quite well back in the summer of 2002 when I was working in Harrisburg at an internship position during the day and evenings, I worked part-time as a sales rep for the Hecht Company at the Camp Hill Mall. They live in the Camp Hill area and often would come over to the store just to check up on me and make sure I was okay, see how things were going at the internship and such! Pat's a retired PA State Trooper and is responsible for putting together a mailing list that he keeps as up-to-date as possible of his classmates from 1961 plus, he keeps a running e-mail dialogue going with his classmates along with several others who like to stay in the loop as to what's happening with people from our past -like me, ya know!

And finally, here's the photo of the entire group -all kids who graduated from our school district in 1961! There's Bar, Mary, Doreen, Gracie, Marilyn, Eddy, Bunny,  Norma, Margie, Martha, Donna, Connie, Ruth Pat, Mike Bill, Phil, Fred and upteen others -whose faces I can't identify right now as I look at this pic on my screen here. Too small, ya know in this view! Plus, a lot of the kids from the Morris school I don't recognize today either. Maybe someone else got a picture of the group that is clearer, bigger and has identification of everyone there available too and will share it with Pat, who in turn, will share it with everyone -including me -and I can post that then!

But there you have it!

How I spent my night, Saturday, September 17, 2011 -in the company of some of the best friends an old girl could have ever know! Well, next to my own class, of course, that is!

My sage advice here to anyone who has an opportunity to attend a class reunion -especially one covering so many years as this one did -regardless of whether you really loved your high school days and classmates or if you absolutely think of them and those years as wasted, futile, friendless even perhaps, forget about that idea in your mind and go to your school reunion!

People do change -a lot -over the years and there are bound to be at least one or two folks you remember in good memories and can enjoy seeing once again. Even if it's only for that one or two people, to be able to get together and get reacquainted again, it's well worth it!


terri said...

Wow, that sounds like such a great time! So glad you had the opportunity to go to this reunion and enjoy old friends. I have to agree with you on attending class reunions too. I didn't really enjoy my high school days, but had a great time at my reunion last year.

Maggie May said...

Glad you had a great time and that you found something to wear that you were comfortable with.
That is the kind of outfit that I'd have chosen as its what I wear most of the time........ but brown is not one of my colours.
You sound as though you have lots of cousins and friends all around you, which is a great thing to be blessed with.
Its good to get away sometimes from the children and have a little break, though.
Maggie X

Nuts in May