Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Personal Choices and A Little Help From My Friends

Had an interesting couple of days talking with far flung classmates who had a somewhat more circumspect attitude about high school, reunions, and classmates. The first was Geneth Piechota, who didn't remember me (not that everyone should). In a big class, in a big school, it was easy to keep your head down and plow through the days. There were days that I certainly did that. You saw the faces going by you, but only insofar as you wanted to make sure you didn't back smack dab into someone. Geneth wasn't sure she wanted to participate in anything based on a phone call from someone she didn't know. So I referred her to the class website and my blog to prove that I was innocuous and not diabolical. It's okay. Paranoia is a sign of the times. I suppose if I were more paranoid, I wouldn't have had to replace my debit card a couple of times in the last ten years (although I suspect out of town sales clerks more than anyone. It seems to happen when we get back from a vacation).

I also talked to Chris Ellicott. Now I know she wasn't missing, and based on what she told me, the reunion committee knew where she was, since she hadn't moved in quite a while and had just gotten her invite. I didn't have the benefit of knowing her contact info and had to find it myself. I just wanted to see how she was doing because I always liked her in school. We had classes together, and shared a lot of fun times. Remember, I'm not just finding folks; I'm not just asking for participation in the directory; I'm reconnecting at the same time (with Linda chomping at the bit while I chit-chat). As it happens, I am just delighted at the way things turned out for Chris. She also asked me about Paul Wagner. I wish I had more to tell her.

Last night I talked with Joanne Taylerson, who was among the not located. I think she wanted it that way. She was incredulous that I had gone through the trouble to find her, and at first, I think she was a little stand offish, but I shared a memory of her from the 20th reunion that surprised her that I would remember, and then we had a great conversation. That one memory had haunted me for 24 years and I always regretted that I hadn't been more supportive then. We first met in 9th grade at Anthony Wayne JHS. We ran against each other for Student Council President. I won, in a squeaker, by the way, beginning my glorious career in public oratory, the highlights of which includes doing a welcome at our graduation, a speech for which I do not have a single memory; delivering eulogies for people I never knew, and too many I did; and emceeing a high school reunion for a school I didn't attend.  Anyway Joanne said that her experience at the 20th was so negative (my memory snapshot was of her toward the end of that event) that she really didn't want to associate herself with high school, that she had achieved her personal peace and found her place in life and space and I respect that. She graciously declined my offer to put her contact info in the directory or even share her email address (not tech savvy and doesn't check it much) but did say that she'd welcome a visit the next time we're in that part of the country (which will happen next year) and I look forward to that, greatly.

Finally, I got an email from Karen Arnott Perkins offering help with confirming locations for local Wayne folks since she still lives in town. I promptly replied and probably overwhelmed her with an enthusiastic "YES!" and lots of questions, not the least of which was a location for Marlene Zachok who is still not located but appears to have been a bridesmaid at Karen's wedding.  In a round about way, Karen had already provided help, via Cathy Labazetta Statler, about Kathy Falato. So I am looking forward to the help with great anticipation. Chris Ellicott asked me about Jill Rapp too (listed as Leslie J. Rapp in Embers).

Even as this project gains momentum, I am not so vain or foolish as to think that people will flock from Facebook  to my Facebook page or from the internet to my email in general to offer their contact information for the directory based simply on a Facebook posting or Blog entry. This is a grand outreach project and personal contact, whether by phone or email, is the only real way to confirm the whereabouts of our class which has broadcast itself all over the country.  For those that haven't, now there's some local help. One thing remains certain: The only way to make sure everyone is included is to look for 'em.

I also need to call Sharon Halpin again. She was juggling two phone calls and my cell phone signal was breaking up and she couldn't hear me.

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