Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am Weird!

I have just finished reading a book called “Weird—Because Normal Isn’t Working.” I freely admit that this book is written from a Christian perspective (certainly applicable to other religions also), there are some things in it that have hit me. Actually, I am pretty “weird.”

My closet. I have enough!
This is not a book report. But it is about the busyness of life and how much TIME we spend working for THINGS and how it’s all out of balance. This book claims “normal” in our culture is crazy-busy.

I am past the stage where kids are wearing me out but even at that time of life, we had (financially forced, I will admit) guidelines as to how much we as a family were going to allow. I have alluded to the “grades first” and for us, that wasn’t such a difficult thing, but if it had been more challenging, that’s where the focus would have been.  I have known educators whose kids were failing and I never quite understood how this happened in an educator’s family, especially when we had computers to check our kids’ grades weekly. If there was an issue, we were on it EARLY!

Enough of that. People ask me how I have time to do the things I have done with the Reunion and I am going to tackle this.

  • I work part time. I am able to do this because my husband and I have agreed to spend this season of life living beneath the former income. We do not spend much money on entertainment, although we do like to visit with folks and we like to take walks.
  •  I work for a classmate who gives me flexibility in some of the things we are doing, the perfect example being our luncheons. If I worked in a normal situation, I would not be attending the luncheons and I would not be able to do all the things I do. It’s simple as that.
  •  I have a partner who does a lot around the house. Although I hesitate to use the word “demand” and I am not some kind of witch, the answer to this is simple; a sweet smile and “I can quit my job and take care of all of this and I will be happy to do that!” Because he still wants me working, he holds up his end of the deal. This frees me for other activities too
  • I do not help my kids. They are both independent of me. My son lives with us as I write this, but we rarely see him and honestly have to seek him out. He comes in from—let’s say, umpiring a baseball game—and he usually has a story about that, he gets something to eat and heads to the basement where the only conversation I may have with him the rest of the night is on Facebook. He could live in Alaska! We see our new granddaughter approximately every 7-10 days, but when Jess settles back into her work routine soon, we might see Kyah once a month. Both kids email and text me regularly. I am not out of the loop, but I am not “involved” in their lives and dramas. They are independent of me and both have partners that they share their lives with.
  • I count the cost of each activity I take part in. This is “reunion year” so I have taken a leave from choir and praise team, my Thursday night Bible study, teaching Vacation Bible School and taking a dance class; but have kept reunion meetings and teaching my adult ladies Sunday school class. This really is fundamentally what we did with kids; only one sport or activity a season, and church, and that was all.
  •  For this time period, I am free of worrying about my mother’s health and/or my husband’s health (and it goes without saying my own!). I realize that in another year, five years, ten years, I may be in a different place. I will reorder priorities. I plan to retire completely in 2015. Hopefully there is no overlap.

Each of us as individuals and as households must make these decisions, but I hear time and again how “we HAVE” to work these hours, only to be too exhausted to enjoy any leisure time. We are all reminded we are not spring chickens anymore! Other than the necessity of health insurance, which I know IS the hot topic of our generation, I have to ask, why are we doing this? To have an extra (vacation) home? To take more trips? To provide for our grown children? To have pretty things (whatever that means)? To have more “toys?” (Yes, we still do not have a High Def TV but I’ll admit I would like one) Maybe it’s just me, but I see a lot of these desires, and it comes at the cost of health and stress levels.

As many of my closest friends know, I don’t have much stuff and I don’t do much stuff. Going to luncheons is a big deal for me. Going to see James Taylor and Carole King last year was HUGE!  Going to see Paul McCartney this year is my HUGE thing for the year! But I am not stressed either. There are the day-to-day household chores and plenty of time to do them; I do have some “toys” I need to do upkeep on (think the computer, iPod and smart phone) and there are days I do feel like my things own me; and when life gets back to normal after the reunion I will be back to other activities. With each activity I add back to life, I will evaluate how it affects the whole.

There are times I wish I had more clothes, jewelry, and just some fun things. Then I realize those things come at a cost! Good things—such as having people in for meals, or making a meal for a bereaved family—all come at a cost! We balance. I am still planning on having the Christmas party that we started the tradition of last year, but rest assured it WILL be pot luck! Given my cooking ability, that’s the best way!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Some Interesting Numbers

The Fairborn High School Class of 1971 was the largest class to graduate from Fairborn High School. If I remember correctly, it was and is the largest class to graduate in the Dayton area. Those statistics are not likely to change as we were born at the height of the post-war baby boom. It is unlikely we will ever have that social scenario again. We graduated 639, but as with all classes, there were situations whereby a person did not walk in the graduation ceremony itself. I don’t have an exact number, but I think the class was closer to 700. I do remember when we were freshman at two different junior high schools; the number 750 was thrown around. Dropout rates being what they were, and pretty “normal,” that 700 number is most likely pretty close.

That said, we had some unusual situations in our class. We had six sets of twins, and another set of twins where one graduated in 70 and one in 71. They are: Norma and John Callison, Susie and Vern Lachowitzer, Larry and Gary Roberts, Leah and Lecia Walton, Eric and Mark Zeid, Jennifer and Jacqueline Atchinson and Gretchen Powell and Pam Powell (Class of 1970).

We had other sets of siblings. They are: Sue and Greg Begley, Sharon and Scott Thompson, Ruth and Joyce Sloas, Kay and Sue Brandt and Debbe and Linda Stout.

We had several sets of cousins. These are the ones I remember. It has been 40 years, I don’t remember everything. Please comment at the bottom if I have overlooked anyone. They are: Jerry and Debbie Flatter, Rod and Mike Kuna, Linda and Marsha Long, Debbie and Diane Hollingshead, Mary Varner and Karla Jones and Steve and Sheila Williams.

Debbie Flatter receives her diploma from her father
Joe W. Flatter, Sr., who was on the Board of Education.
I don’t know this for sure, but I believe we had an inordinately large number of classmates whose parents were either employed by the Fairborn City Schools or were on the FCS Board of Education. Again, please comment if I have overlooked anyone!  The asterisks indicate those who have been inducted to the Fairborn City Schools Hall of Honor.

Ann Ritchie—father, superintendent*; Debbie Flatter—father, Board of Ed.*; Robin Myer—father, Board of Ed.*; Judy Frehse—father, principal; Patty Buschemeyer—father, principal*; Kathy Cross—father, principal*; Barb Van Campen—mother, educator; Susan Duncan—mother, educator*; Melody Dickison—mother, educator; Debi Weber—mother, educator; Kevin O’Neil—mother, educator ; Tim Garrigan—mother, secretary ; Denise Kline—mother, teacher aide.  Of those, Debi Weber and Melody Dickison went into education. (Debbie Flatter became a nurse and then a nurse educator).  I wish I had numbers on how many of our classmates did choose teaching as a career.

Speaking of the Fairborn City Schools Hall of Honor; it was established in 1988 to honor those who have represented or served the Fairborn City Schools, or have supported the schools and community in an outstanding way. Classmates from the Class of 1971 who are presently in the FCS Hall of Honor are Bill Carey, HOH Class of 2000; Tim Garrigan, HOH Class of 2006 and David Niebes, HOH Class of 2010. I personally think we have many other outstanding classmates we need to nominate for this honor. A full list of the Hall of Honor is available at this link.

On a personal note, we have many classmates married to each other. These are names of those who are married to each other at this time. There are others who are not married to each other now, but we won’t go there. They are: Patty Buschemeyer and Lou Geiger, Anne Cato and Jim Murrin, Kay Brandt and Brad Stiles, Carol Carbaugh and Steve McCallister, Cathy Burns and Doug Schivley, Nancy Doland and Rick Bailey, Sue Hammock and Larry Brown, Jean Jones and Mark Castle, Kathleen Vance and Dewey Pratt, Debbie Frisby and Danny Hall, Reva Williams and Roger Walters, Sue Miller and Bob Fannin and Sheila Williams and Jeff Black. I will mention Rhonda Limbach who was married to Terry Long until his death in 2006.

Again, although I have spent some time looking this over, I am only one person, and please let me know if I have overlooked anything. I think these statistics show that our class was remarkable in a number of ways.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

WHAT!!!-The Family Reunion Cancelled?

Jerry Derge is the little boy in the
bottom left. He looks thrilled to
be here. It was probably HOT!

This is the first time since World War II that the Derge Reunion has been cancelled. I said that we, the older generation, are wusses compared to our ancestors, who not only met in extreme heat, but they dressed in dresses and hose and “grandma” shoes and brought homemade fried chicken and homemade pies and came to the reunion, come heck or high water!

Alas, we have people with health issues who need air conditioning and that is the way it is. The temps this year are out of sight and we love to meet at the home of my nephew, who has a pond for the kids. But, if you are not IN the pond, it’s gonna be a scorcher! As his home is built in a wooded area, he has rarely needed air conditioning—although I am sure he would like to have it this year!

My niece Kris, mother of 8.
She should be blogging. She
has plenty of fodder to work
with. She's hilarious!
The Derge Reunion has been held on the last weekend in July for many years. This event began as the descendants of William Derge, first generation from Germany, began to meet. William died in 1937. The first reunion was held Sept 28, 1938 in Fort Wayne, which was mid-way between many of those who were involved at that time. William Derge was my husband’s great-grandfather, and William is Jerry’s middle name.

As time has passed, the reunions are now held in Defiance, Ohio, as the only folks carrying on the tradition are the members of my husband’s immediate family and one other family (not named Derge because of marriage). There is plenty of food, and we still have some good cooks (I am not among them, but I got over it a long time ago), but we certainly are NOT wearing good dresses anymore. We spread the meal out in the kitchen and pray over the food, but eat out under the trees at the picnic tables. However, the chicken is just as likely to be KFC and once in awhile somebody actually brings a PIZZA! The kids love it! I like to make brownies because I love the kids; at least that is what I tell everyone, although no one is buyin' it. They know I make the brownies for myself.

Look closely. It's no wonder we
are such a dysfunctional family.
What is wrong with these people? 
The most important part of the reunion is the business meeting. The president calls the meeting to order and the minutes are read. We don’t take up a collection for postage anymore because we all have email. They used to send reminder postcards. The only person without email is the host! Hope he remembers. Then we set the date and elect officers for the next year; usually the vice-president succeeds the president. We have had the same secretary-treasurer for years. An in-law may not be an officer; we in-laws have our own fraternity and make fun of those who are “of the blood.” We’ve been doing that for years.

Then we list all the births, deaths and marriages in the reunion book. It is very interesting to look at the reunion book; with all the handwritten entries of years gone by. Some years are more eventful than others. Sometimes a person will find some old pictures or memorabilia to share.  Then the meeting is adjourned. This is really very casual, but we always do it, and there are running jokes every year.

Derge Reunion 2010
Pictures are taken. Family stories are told. The children play in the pond. Last year we had games, and the recent Phys. Ed. graduate had few of them planned for this year.

Why do we do this? Because we believe it’s important to pass on relationships and a heritage to the next generation. We want the cousins and second cousins to know each other. We want to share our lives with each other, with the knowledge that time is passing so fast… fast. We are now the “old folks” and we know it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Forever Family

My original topic for these blogs was inspired by our high school reunion. However, I think we can all agree that life is about more than high school, that we have “seasons” of life, and a “connection” can be made with various groups of people during the course of life.

I experienced this as I attended, worked at professionally, and raised my children at a particular church. Theoretically, every church should be “family” to us, and although I am not getting theological today, the church universal is the family of God.

Recently, a group of us who attended this church (remember we live in a military town!) during this time got together and had a picnic. Last year we got together at Young’s Dairy and for the first time (ahem!) we had trouble hearing each other above the din in the restaurant, so this year we chose a Community Park East shelter for our gathering.

The "girls" table! 
It seems we are “motivated” when a certain family who shall remain nameless comes to town! Too bad we don’t do it more often! When we get together, as in all reunions, the stories flow, and we have plenty. I always laugh at us. We are like a junior high dance; the women are gabbing at one table and the men are at another one.

We all agree it was a special time in our lives. We came together on Sunday mornings, but many of us worked together, babysat each others’ kids, and participated in many other activities and “lived life” together.  Much revolved around raising our kids. I have a picture of the second generation sitting at the table at Young’s with the caption “not your average youth group” and they were more like cousins.  The second generation is in rapid-fire producing the third generation! And with Facebook, we can all keep up with pictures of weddings, children and other passages of life.

Those who have moved away have tried unsuccessfully to “find” a church home which was even remotely similar. I do not mean to say that they have not found good churches, but this situation was just special. When you have an average attendance of 200 people and there are 40 kids in the children’s choir (kinder-grade 6), you know what is happening!

My own kids were 9 and 4 when we began attending and they seamlessly blended into the AWANA program and the children’s choir (as I sang in the adult choir). I remember sitting on the floor after we had struck the set of a choir production, watching the kids and adults play pick-up volleyball in the multi-purpose room. I was snacking (anybody surprised there?), talking to the other ladies and just watching. I remember thinking “This is why we are here!” We can worship with other believers in other churches on Sunday, kids can learn their Sunday school lessons with other teachers, but this natural fellowship after an intense time of rehearsals and performances does not just happen. This was special.

The coming years brought youth groups (and yes, I survived being a middle school youth leader!) and my employment with the church, as well as retreats, picnics, and all sorts of activities. Jessica and Brent were married in this church and feted by their special friends returning for the wedding.

One by one, the families left for various reasons, and although the Lord brought new families to the church, they were younger—which is good—and I just didn’t have the same relationships with the younger folks. After years of fighting within my own conscience, I believe the Lord led me to another church, but I maintain good relationships there. Joel has a connection with the softball team and “open basketball” night as he is able. He is no longer the “kid,” he’s the adult mentor. Well, he does have a degree in Physical Education!

Special memories of my time there:
  • A live lamb in one of our Easter productions.
  • Dancing angels in a Christmas production.
  • Six young ladies rehearsing “Friends” (Michael W. Smith) in our home for performance the last Sunday service that this “particular” family would be with us. Not a dry eye in the house on Sunday AM, and I even had trouble holding the camcorder.
  • “Guitar days” where we would sing rounds; instead of “normal” church music. Christian Hootenanny. Loved it!
  • The “big guys” letting my son play softball with them at age 6.
  • Women’s retreats—oh my goodness! Hilarity.
  • Hilarity in the office, all…the…time! I have never had more “fun” than working with Cheri and Randy.
  • Singing duets with my daughter.
  • Swimming Days. Once a week we moms and our kids went to the County Pool and then later Rona Hills for an afternoon of fun. Even after I was "employed," my boss and I considered it "ministry," as long as my work got done, so I still participated.
  • Basketball camp; I had an enjoyable personal time with former WSU coach Ed Schilling.
  • AWANA Olympics at Cedarville University. (This just warmed me up for OSHAA athletics later!)
  • Playing “air guitar” and singing with (music director) Cheri on “talent night.” I know it’s on video someplace and hope it stays in someone’s closet! My 14 year old daughter was mortified. The pastor’s son (18) thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen!  Nothing I ever did topped this.

Life moves on and we develop new memories and relationships. But nothing will ever replace what we had during this time. God brought us all together for a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Totally Obsessed

It’s a few weeks out from the reunion. Things are going relatively well. We have had our last committee meeting and checked off our list of things we have done, and need to do these next few days. Everyone has their assignments.

Working on the registrations
for the reunion.
I am still handling the registrations and I have a list of “check is in the mail” people which I WILL be calling to make sure they still intend to come. Every day brings new inquiries—phone calls, emails, messages through our web site. I handle them, but the sense of urgency increases. We want the most correct of numbers to give to our caterers. We are having a meal each night (buffet, not plated meal) and we do have to give numbers to those preparing the food. We also want to make sure the room is laid out for comfort for our guests. So if you are reading this and have not registered, DO IT!!!!!!

Next time we ought to just find a restaurant that will house us all and tell you to come, need a cover charge for postage and incidentals like name tags, and I won’t have to worry about it!

Seriously though, that’s not what gets to my subconscious. I have conversations with some of you; some of them are more intense than others. Yes, I am talking about YOU! If you think I am talking about you, you are probably right. Then at night I have a dream about you, and sometimes it makes sense and others it doesn’t, and sometimes it is troubling.

One morning I woke up literally thinking, “It’s Saturday (which it wasn’t) and I have to be at the school at 11:00 AM for the tour!”

Other committee members do their jobs wonderfully; but because I deal with people, this happens. It becomes a part of me. That can be good and bad. I know too much.

Although I am so looking forward to seeing you, and giving and receiving big hugs from everyone, in some ways it is an anti-climax. We had that big conversation on Facebook, or on the telephone.  But I will assure you, that all the conversations we have during the reunion, I will playback over and over in the weeks to follow. Truly, I won’t be “normal” for about four weeks.

This is how much I care about this event. This is how much I care about YOU!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Circle Won't Be Broken

How many times have you seen the post on Facebook: “There are friends you can go without seeing for long periods of time, and when you see them, you pick right up where you left off. Repost if you have one of those friends.” I would personally like to think we all have ONE of those friends!

Even the dogs are women!
I believe this summer is going to be a summer of “connections” or “re-connections” as the case may be for me. Such is the experience I had last night. My mother and I had dinner and an evening with the mother and three of the four sisters that were our neighbors during my childhood. It has been decades since we have all been together in the same room, and I think the last time was at a wedding, so we know how that went! Since that wedding, we have added children to our circle and lost their father and my brother. No, it’s not the same, we miss them so, but I honestly don’t remember laughing as much as we did last night.

Our lives were fairly typical of the 1950’s. We did have a house between us and we were taught not to cross lawns, but we were back and forth between the homes as if they were both our own. I have home movies of EVERY Christmas, playing in the backyard pools, dressing up, family barbecues (including other neighbors) and everything else with regards to daily living. I “ran away from home” to their house. Every one of my readers has had neighbors, but few have this kind of relationship in their lives.

I was the eldest, followed by my poor brother two years later in this sea of estrogen. Linda was born in 1956, Laurie in 1958 and Lisa in 1961. Then my brother Loren came along in 1963. With his birth, we were forced to consider moving to a larger home in 1964. Soon after, their father’s job took them to Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cedarburg, Wisconsin where little sis Christie was born in 1970, and finally during my senior year in high school, back to Mason Ohio. We did not have Facebook back then, but my family took extended weekend trips to Grand Rapids, a couple of summer vacations to Wisconsin, and many visits to Mason. (I mean, they live down the road from Kings Island!)

My Dad passed away in 1977 before I was married and they were at his memorial service, and we were all at each others’ weddings.  However, once we got married and started families, things changed. It’s all we can do to keep up with our own families, those we married into, and our extended families. This once “family” relationship dissolved into the annual Christmas cards, which we all looked forward to! But in 2001, I got the Christmas card from the mom, with her name only on the return address label. Oh God… did I miss this? HOW did I miss this? The father had passed away in April, before he turned 70. I had not known, I did not attend the funeral, I grieved alone.

Years passed with more Christmas letters. They liked my Christmas letters, but in 2007 received their own shock at the death of “Benny.” They would have been there. Ben is buried a few yards from their grandparents.

This is a “good” Facebook story. We were not sure how it started, but I think I started it. I just put in their last name into the search bar of Facebook and the first picture I saw was the “mom.” She has a name which, although not unusual, is not really common either. The first friend I made was Laurie though and the others came quickly, with my mother and Loren added soon after. With my mother moving to Ohio this summer, we knew we had to get together. Too much time had already passed.

When we did pick up, oh, the stories! We remembered our Dads, and the antics of the two of them are enough for a blog alone, maybe even a book, and we remembered my brother Ben. Ben was part of us too, the poor kid, all these women on the street and Ben was alone as a little boy for many years. It’s probably why he turned to music.

We remembered “dressing up,” we remembered Denise coming home from school with “seven bad words” long before anyone ever heard of George Carlin, we remembered our “secrets.”  We remembered life of a simpler time, and talked of the lives we had passed to our children. None of them quite have this experience, although there have been other good experiences. We passed on what we had to our kids the best way we could. What was unique about these two families is the totality of the relationships; every person with every person. Not just the Dads, the Moms or the kids. Sometimes you don’t even have that with relatives!

Yes, the circle has been broken, but it will be reunited someday. And we will meet again in this life, most assuredly!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dealing With Loss

Disclaimer: This was a difficult blog to put on paper. The thoughts were there; I went back and forth as to how much was too little, and how much was too much. This is what I ended up with.

One of the things I see often on Facebook is “Post if you miss your Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa.”  We are at the age where many of us are losing parents. Aside from missing them, there is that knowledge that now we are the “old folks” and if we are honest, we don’t like that one little bit!

My brother Ben and I as small
children. I was 5 and he was 3.
There is the loss of family members. I lost my Dad at the age of 47, when I was 24. I lost my brother at the age of 51.This really shook my generation in the family, as we lost the first of “us.”

Many have lost spouses, some to tragic situations and some to the illnesses that ravage the body. For those who are living with illnesses that have no happy ending, each day consists of cherishing the gift of life. For those who survive tragedy, time is a healer. Memories survive always; each year brings a little more healing.

Some of us have lost our dear friends. Each time I have to do an addition to the memory page on our Class of 1971 web site, I post a picture of them in their youth and it’s hard to fathom the loss. It becomes harder each time, as I know eventually those on the memory page will outnumber the living.

Then there is the loss of the next generation, for which there is no description. No parent should survive their children.

Another type of loss is the loss of dreams. I think of people that have special needs children. I think of those who have experienced divorce. My own experience is when my younger brother was paralyzed in an auto accident in April 1991. It was the loss of “doing things the way we always had” and the loss—most likely—of having nieces or nephews of my own. However, we gained a new way of doing things and the opportunity to experience and teach our children life lessons about perseverance.

Many have experienced the loss of a job; and many more than once. With this come questions we ask of ourselves: “Why me?” And as the hunt begins, more likely than not we will experience some rejection and the emotions that come with it. If this lasts long enough, depression sets in. It’s a spiraling effect.

All of us are experiencing loss. We are losing our strength, we have pain when we do something we used to be able to do. All five of our senses are changing. We are struggling with our memory. We are losing aspects of our appearance that used to be important to us. We are experiencing the process of letting all of this go.

But also, we have gained. We have gained wisdom, patience, and appreciation for what we have. We have learned the value of material things is nothing compared to life and health. We have cherished our relationships. We make decisions about what we want to do with our resources, and by that I mean time and energy as well as money. And, as I mentioned in a former blog, we are not as impressed by former pursuits, climbing the ladder at work, making the money to have more “stuff.”

Loss makes us different people. It forces us to reevaluate who we are and what we do. It teaches us to number our days, and make them count! We think about those things we want to leave behind to our loved ones, those life lessons learned and the importance of love and peace. My hope for us all is that we live our lives well, and be remembered with honor.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Missing Classmates

I want to say a word about missing classmates. There are many who see the “missing classmates” list and they think “Well, the committee must not be working very hard because they should certainly be able to find so-and-so. Her sister lives in such-and-such,” and on and on. Here are several thoughts to keep in mind.

Your Reunion Committee does not know everyone and their family in a class of approximately 700 people. Although we do have a diverse group of 12 people, it’s impossible to know everyone.

Some examples of attempts to find people:
  • There is a person on this list that I have personally written three emails to a mutual friend, called another mutual friend—only to have neither of them agree to give me the snail mail address. One offered a telephone number, but to be honest, I don’t want to spend hours on the phone hunting down people. So I do not have that person’s information to send a reunion invitation, although he lives in the area.

  • I have personally written three emails to another classmate’s family members, to have none of them respond.

  • Another individual, who was a close friend of mine; I did not hear from between 1981 and 2003, we reconnected in 2003 and spent five years corresponding, and then he seemed to drop off the planet. I have had another classmate look for him, as have I, among Social Security deceased records and thankfully he is not there (I don’t go to this much trouble for people I was not as close to). I wrote to his sister who is in another class and she did not respond and the letter did not come back. So sadly, for me, the connection is gone.

  • There was another classmate that was in the area for a short time, but no one had information on this person, and he has since moved back “home.” We never were able to find this person.

We have resources available to use that we have never had before. We can google. We can narrow down by I have personally followed up on all return mail with phone calls and emails until I hit a dead end.

But all of this said, there is a place where your sense of ethics takes over and something says to you “quit!” I had a situation recently. This person is not “missing,” but I wanted to encourage them to come to the reunion. I had work email, I had LinkedIn, and finally I made a call to the home phone number and got a message where I had to put in some “code” to even access the voice mail and leave a message. WHAAAT is going on there, I have no idea, but that is a huge STOP sign to me!

When you google “Fairborn High School Class of 1971,” the top link is and I think they pay something for that. The SECOND item is our web site, We are not hard to find and if someone wants to find us, they can. Thanks to our generous classmates, we are paid through 2022 which is beyond our 50th Reunion. There really is no excuse unless a person refuses to use the Internet. At some point we have to let it go.

In summary, it is ALL of our jobs to find those that are important to us. You may have a lead I don’t have. Follow it! As previously noted, I have made contacts that have not been responded to. Maybe they don’t want to respond to Denise Kline. Maybe they WILL respond to you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Independence Day

The Independence Day holiday is still celebrated in Fairborn with many activities. I still think of the Parade as a mini-reunion of sorts. On July 3rd, Fairborn has a “block party” in the downtown area, with food, crafts, activities and music. There are fireworks and a concert in Community Park East on July 4th itself.

It’s not that I am opposed to celebrating the holiday at all, don’t get me wrong, but even in a small town like Fairborn, it’s a crowd to me. I suffer from claustrophobia and consequently anxiety-related symptoms. I like people, I don’t like lots of people.

I do OK in (moving) lines, anything with order. I can handle that. I can do familiar. For instance I went to a concert in the park in Springfield last night. I actually went alone, knowing some friends would be there (thank God for cell phones!) to sit with. I know where I am going to park, and fundamentally where I am going to sit. I can deal with that. I go to things early specifically to avoid the last-minute rush of people.

This keeps me from enjoying some things in life, but I have learned how to manage it. I choose non-busy times, go with someone who “already knows the drill,” and if at all possible I do not drive to a place I don’t know. I am doing less driving at night also, but that’s another blog.

In about a month, I will be going to Great American Ball Park to see Paul McCartney in person. I have wanted to do this for years but something else—sporting expenses, a wedding, college tuition—always got in the way. For me, this is HUGE! I know it will be chaos, but we will go early. I will not be leaving my seat unless necessary and we will not be in a hurry to get home.

Claustrophobia affects more than doing, it affects “being.”  Years ago I worked in an office without windows. I simply can’t do that anymore. I need good lighting. I need to have furniture placed in a way that doesn’t make me feel “closed in.” Although I have blinds for privacy, I don’t have curtains. They take up too much of the room. I can do clutter for a period of time like a project, but otherwise, for the most part, I need for things to be put away. This is not difficult if I keep up with it.

I don’t think it’s OCD, because I think of that as needing cleanliness. That I am NOT! It’s about space and my place in it. I do elevators, but I sure hope I don’t get stuck in one! Jerry and I have talked about this in general over the years, but he experienced it when we went to downtown Manhattan. I didn’t do well in downtown Manhattan. It is crowded with no order whatsoever. I think we had to duck into a McDonald’s (crowded, but familiar) three times so I could catch my breath. We went to a Broadway Show and once we got into the theater and seated, I had a wonderful time!

So we plan. I plan. Like many other things we deal with day-to-day, I deal with it. You just won’t see me at the holiday festivities.

But, I wish everyone a Happy Fourth! America is still the best place to live!