Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Personal Project Defined

Perhaps it is time to take stock and make things even clearer than I have made them in previous blogs, for the benefit of whomever chooses freely to read this little monologue of mine.

What is it exactly that Milton is trying to accomplish by contacting his high school classmates?

Milton believes, while there are enough of us to use it, that our class needs a complete directory that provides contact information for every classmate that chooses to participate in it, with their high school photo, a current photo, contact information of their choosing, and a short biography.

A secondary purpose is to memorialize our classmates who are gone, far too young.

This is a personal project, not sanctioned (as though such a project needs any such sanction) by the Reunion Committee. My sole task for them is a subset of the directory - finding people whose location is completely unknown to them.

Milton is doing this because over the years, he has often thought about his classmates, wondering where they got off too, wondering if they are as happy with their lives as he is, wondering what it is they finally ended up doing. And he went to the class website only to find out that the information that he knew was available, wasn't.  He knew he couldn't be alone. And based upon his contact with classmates in his search for those not located previously, he knows that he isn't.

Additionally, since he and his wife have done this for the Evansville FJ Reitz High School Class of 1967, he knows that such a directory has the power to revive a class and transform it into what it once was, a community of diverse personalities all tied together through a common purpose - to become distinct unique individual adults and to graduate from high school. We all came to Wayne Valley as children, and left as new adults, not yet complete, but malleable, ready to be finalized by time and experience.

So this is the official invitation to participate in a grand adventure of exploration and discovery. With no guide but a tattered copy of Embers rescued from the boiler room at school to replace my own copy, burned to embers in a housefire, and two outdated directories from the last two reunions, borrowed from a classmate, I invite my classmates to be listed in this directory so they can do as I am doing, reconnecting with old friends, and making new ones, ones perhaps that I should have made many years ago, but am 44 years late in doing. Well, better late than never. I have been lucky to reconnect several pairs of old friends, but a directory like this gives you all the ability to do the same thing.

I am not doing this for money. I am not doing this to sell information. This is my personal class project. I am not a 3rd party looking to make a killing. I am your classmate. I was your newspaper editor. I was your Student Council President (more mentioned as a reminder than any particular noteworthy achievement). The point is that I am one of you. I walked the same halls, listened (sometimes less than attentively) to the same teachers. I laughed at the same jokes, danced at the same dances, watched the same sporting events, took the same tests and got handed that same leatherette folder at the same ceremony as you did.

I will be distributing this directory as a PDF file that can be printed out if you so choose or viewed on your computer. It will be updated as people move. It is a dynamic document that will change as long as I can do it.

The directory will give you the ability to do the same thing I am enjoying so much as I am creating it: talking to old friends and remembering why we became friends in the first place; talking about common memories; sharing memories of classmates gone too young; forging new friendships that will continue as long as I do.

So if you see this, let our classmates know what Milton is doing, and drop him a line, either by email ( or on Facebook, or by comment to this blog, to join in this grand adventure. He will be contacting everyone that he can locate, hopefully with your help, alone if not. I am soliciting information, not self-serving praise; I am looking to create something for everyone in the class because class information is the property of everyone in the class. Join me.

As an afterthought, I don't usually talk about myself in the 3rd party. I'm not that weird......yet.

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