Saturday, August 13, 2016

Never Stop Learning: What I do in Retirement!

If I were in college, I would be carrying a full load this year.

History: I am hoping to become more involved with my hometown historical society. They have just celebrated their Bicentennial.

Civics/Government: I want to do what I can to get a levy passed, after a design for new schools is presented, in the community that I reside in, and that educated my children. I likely will have no grandchildren in this system, but it’s important to educate the children anyway.

Music: Continuation in my involvement with the Symphony Chorale. Rehearsals every week after Christmas. We perform in March.

Literature (and history): Shifting my focus of my blog to encompass family stories and history. This will involve some research.

Theology: Instead of a “Bible Study” this year, I plan to study the Reformation, as October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I want to make the most of it. There is MUCH information online. I do not plan to have two shelves of books on this.

Art: This is something new. I am not an artist and right now I don’t claim to draw people. However, I have begun a new “hobby” of illustrating my Bible. This goes along with my daily readings. I learn more every day about how I would like to do this. I can draw a mean burning bush, but when we get to the Nativity, I am in trouble. However, some of this illustrating is “what I learn” or “what I am meditating on that day” and not the story itself.

Architecture (which technically falls under Art): Taking more “day trips” with my newfound friends that are interested, as I am, in kit homes. We attempt to locate homes that were mostly built between 1908 and 1940 by not only Sears, but Montgomery Ward (Wardway), Gordon Van Tine, Aladdin and some other companies.

Physical Education: Get these knees fixed. Then get back into the swing of things. Grateful for the workout room in the condo. It has what I need.

Home Room:  Keep up the Class of 1971 web site.

My social calendar will not suffer, neither will my “grandmothering” and being a good wife, mother, daughter, neighbor, etc. I have lunch once a month with high school pals, we do a dinner once a month with our Homeowners Association and I have one day a week dedicated to visiting my mother in a town about an hour away.

If I accomplish all of this, I won't be bored!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Medway Bicentennial

When you split the years that you grew up between two towns, almost equally in half, which one do you consider your hometown?

Sometimes, many people identify with the town they graduated from high school, and that is a very important time in life, as you make decisions that affect the rest of your life during those years.

Alternatively, as I get older, I seem to go back further, to my FIRST hometown, where I lived from the time I was 2 until the time I was 11. This is the place where my husband and I have purchased cemetery plots. It’s the home of my father’s family going back at least three generations.

So when said hometown was going to celebrate its Bicentennial, I knew I had to be among the faithful. I will not live long enough to celebrate my other hometown’s centennial, so I wasn’t going to miss this!

I have written before about the historical society and visiting with the family who was our neighbors in our youngest childhood memories. I have been in touch with the individual putting together the historical exhibit for months. I didn’t really help much, but it was amazing once completed. Actually, I hesitantly use that word completed, because history is an ongoing pursuit.

I went to the historical society and although I have not joined yet, I plan to. I think they all know that I’m going to. I volunteered to man the Historical Society booth.

The night before, my “old neighborhood” and some of their friends and classmates met at the pizza place. I saw people I hadn’t seen in over 50 years, and met some new people. We had a great time! Even though I hadn’t seen these people in years, I could follow along with the jokes and general merriment. The woman whose folks bought my parents’ home showed up too. I don’t know when I saw her last!

My childhood sisters.
On the morning of the Bicentennial itself, I was there early to help in the history room in the library. That is my love, to work on preserving the history. Then I went out for the Opening Ceremonies, where I found the women that I lived two doors from in my childhood. I’m a little older than they are, but I remember the day(s) that they were born. We enjoyed spending time together, and then went back to the library where the exhibit was.

I agreed to man the Historical Society information table from 2-4 and ended up there until 5. One of my classmates had two cars at the Cruise-In so we visited awhile. He lives less than a football field from my childhood home.

I met many new people and got reacquainted with some others. This was one of those times when the question is “Who’s your Daddy?” was appropriate. My married name meant nothing.

Standing before the exhibit
of my family.
Also inside the school was a craft show in the multipurpose room. Outside, there was an assortment of food trucks. There was entertainment, in addition to the Cruise-In, with a magician, the high school marching band, and two local bands. There was a bounce house in the playground area for the children and face painting indoors. You could have your picture taken in one of those painted “scenes” and I forgot to do that.

After my stint at the info table, I went back inside, and I had a portrait to take home. If we ever have a permanent place for the historical stuff, I’ll take it back.

I don’t think anyone counted the attendance, but that library was packed all day, showing us that there really is interest in the history of the community.

It is my hope and dream that we can find a permanent home for these items and build toward the future, beyond our lives. These items are too precious not to treat with utmost respect and find them a permanent home. They tell stories of the people in the town.

It was a great day in small town America.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What is a Successful Reunion?

The Friday Night Gang
One asks “What makes a Reunion a Success?” If it were about attendance numbers; we know that the “off” years are going to be lower, the key is trying to estimate what number we are working with and budgeting accordingly.

I was worried. The registrations were not coming in per MY expectations and I know there’s a big bill to pay the hotel putting on this thing. Now, we have a reserve fund, and fundamentally that is for starting the next Reunion, but we CAN dip into it if needed. I didn’t lose sleep over that.

I never know how to buy food so I always take someone else with me. That doesn’t mean either one of us know what we’re doing, so we do rely on the pros. There was enough food, and I heard it was very good. I’ll be honest, I do not like buffalo wings, but someone ate mine for themselves and I ate their egg rolls!

A very personal blessing for me was renting a room at the hotel. That means I am not running around as much and can spend more time resting. This I will do again.

The attendance WAS down, but people came in at the last minute and as always, people who plan to come only Friday, come Saturday also. It always happens. You can count on it; you just can’t count how many! Anyway, we had enough.

What happens with fewer people attending is you have better quality conversations. I remember specifically the 25th Reunion. I had time to actually have good conversations, not just work a room. The same thing happened at the 35th although that attendance was down quite a bit, and the same thing happened this time.

So, is success defined by numbers or money in the bank? Is it defined by some spectacular program or fabulous door prizes and decorations? As a committee, we have to weigh what all these things cost vs. keeping the ticket (there really are no tickets) prices low so more people can attend. Most classmates are NOT well-to-do and many have to travel, adding to the cost for them.

In the end, we ended up with a surplus so that we have money to start preparing for the 50th Reunion, which we hope to be MUCH larger! And, as I announced, it will be the last reunion for three of us on the committee. I asked for more help and had several people reply affirmatively, but someone is going to have to take this over if it is to continue in 5 year increments! Otherwise, we’ll have luncheons, dinners and maybe a Riverboat Cruise (which everyone who went loved!)

As I watched others interact, and looked at the pictures later, I consider it a success in that people REALLY talked. People who didn’t know each other well in high school talked. At least they had their pictures taken as if they were. I consider that a success.

People said it over and over. There were no cliques at this reunion. THAT is what I consider success!