Monday, June 20, 2011

A Slow Go but Undaunted

After a negative reaction to being located and a local brouhaha about blogging on it, I decided that neither experience changes the task at hand. Actually, I thought the blog entry had a very positive message to be taken from a very negative reaction. In the midst of all this, I got a hit from Dorrien Bayer Hughes about Pat McIlwaine Hafner, who is happily in Bloomingdale NJ and to whom we passed along the website and blog addresses. When I contacted Pat, I received this in return:

Dorrien sent me the link to our yearbook and I spent hours going through it- wow all the memories, all the people that are a part of who I am today, all those lost.  I laughed, I remembered, I smiled, I cried.  It is a shame-so many good friends that I lost touch with.  Thank you for hunting us all down.  Life has been a bit of a roller coaster for me but I am definitely at the top of it now and have been for many years.  For the past 9 years I have lived in Bloomingdale NJ .  Prior to that I lived in Rockaway NJ for 20 years. I have been fortunate to have Dorrien "Bayer" in my life as my best friend for the past 58 years - OMG!  I definitely would like to attend our "45th"  wow - and will accept the invite on line. 

Now that's more what I have come to expect. I don't expect thanks (it doesn't hurt to hear it once in a while, of course). The mission is to get people to realize what they are missing by letting themselves get separated from the class, and how much others are missing them because they too have lost touch. It is not just or only about the reunion, although that is the next  primary contact point where there will be lots of classmates. It is about the community of people that occupied Wayne Valley between '64 and '67 and the legacy of friendship and accomplishment that they left behind. It is about reconnecting now that the Internet provides such an easy way to do this via email or social network sites like Facebook, or the class website.

I wonder about how much we do know about where folks are. In the case of my wife's class here in Evansville, there was the official record from the school, 44 years out of date. Then a directory put together by the reunion committee at the 20th year, and that was pretty much it. Think of how many times you've moved or changed phone numbers or added an email address in the last 24 years. Even people who I thought we had a handle on are moving around and are busy enough that contacting the class is not the first thing on their priority list. It is like those old cowboy movies where the cowboys are moving along the trail dragging a branch behind them, obliterating the hoof prints they have left behind. I didn't think of it, and I've sure done my share of moving. But then again, my parents are still in Wayne, in the same house for the past 44 years. I  doubt we know as much as we think we know.

Even the people I have contacted in the last month or so are on the move. Tim and Chris Henneman are preparing to move to South Carolina from North Carolina to be closer to their kids and grand kids. Art Grahn just moved to Jackson, NJ from Wayne. Again, the nice thing about the Internet and email addresses is that they provide a breadcrumb trail so we can keep in touch. Generally, people keep their email addresses if nothing else. With the increasing use of cell phones and their only phones, people keep their phone numbers too with increasing frequency. It makes it more difficult to locate the numbers, but once you have them, it's great for continuity's sake.

So if you move, make contacting the class reunion committee part of your moving kit. Don't make us have to find you again!

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