Well, it’s been a week now since the festivities ended. I’ve been delinquent in writing anything about the reunion and I apologize for that. I should have done this sooner.
Friday, prior to the reunion, was a bit of a cluster for everybody on the committee – from power outages, having to work, running around, trying to get made over and being left behind, we finally all made it to the hotel and into our rooms with little time to spare before the first of our classmates arrived. Nevertheless, we did it and made it downstairs with bare minutes to spare.
After some mishaps trying to get the computer hooked to the projector… well, not really mishaps, more like someone who would really rather have instructions in front of her than try to figure it all out through trial and error. Fred Hurtado and Cliff Titus (both Class of ’64) came in while I was trying to figure it out and helped me. Between the three of us, we got it going and the slide show presentation began its cycle on the screen! Thanks to Steve Derman for putting that together for us. It worked out great!
While we were figuring that out, classmates were filtering in and conversations began buzzing all around me. I admittedly took a bit of time out from fiddling with the computer to greet some old friends and to welcome new ones.
My daughters, bless them, took on the responsibilities of checking people in and providing name tags. They also took in the money for the raffle, handed out the t-shirts that had been ordered and were, just generally, the initial welcoming committee. I understand the check-ins went relatively smoothly, with only a few people showing a bit of irritation that the line moved slowly. Several people apparently recognized that the younger looking of the two girls was my daughter and some thought the older looking girl was Lori’s daughter. Jenni (the older looking one) thought this was funny for the most part and by the end of the night, she and Lori had adopted each other. Megan (the younger looking one) simply, and good-naturedly, has long since accepted the fact that she is my “mini-me,” so she just acknowledged the relationship and conversed with people as they came through the line. For those of you who don’t know my girls, they are twins – fraternal, obviously – and for all their claims to the contrary, they were there voluntarily. There was no coercion involved.
As the crowd grew, there were many greetings and hugs exchanged. Laughter could be heard from all around as people caught up with their friends. Drinks were imbibed. Food was eaten.
Fred and Cliff spoke about The Distant Echo and the Rincon Foundation. Our class gave generously to the 50/50 raffle that was held to benefit the Rincon Foundation, an organization of alumni whose goal is to provide financial assistance to the school so that today’s students have a chance to succeed. The winner of the raffle was Sharon Dunn Allen (’77), who gladly took home the $150 that was her share. Cliff accepted $150 for the Rincon Foundation and thanked us all.
It was so wonderful to see everybody there and I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to some of you. One moment that really stands in my memory was when, coincidentally, all the Millers in the room (Fred and his wife Janet; Ted, Jeff and his wife Brenda, and I) were standing in the same area and when it was pointed out by someone chatting with us, we all introduced ourselves to each other. I think the only one missing at that moment was Marty. Funny, that… through all our years at Rincon, I’m pretty sure that Marty was the only other Miller I had in any of my classes. We were lab partners in biology and I remember Mr. Ledesma asking Marty at one point why his grades weren’t as good as mine. Marty’s reply, straight faced and serious, was “I try, but she won’t move her arm during the tests!” I think Mr. Ledesma was slightly taken aback, but he laughed. We also had English together that year, and on the first day of school, Ms. Aboud called roll, looked at Marty (a ginger) and then at me (a brunette) and asked if we were twins. Both of us vehemently denied any kind of relationship at all. Over the year, Marty informed me of all the good boonie parties…. *after* they happened, but I’d like to think we became friends. Missed him at the reunion. At any rate, it was a pleasure to meet the rest of the Millers from ’76 on Friday night! I’m so glad all of you were there.
(Another amusing moment came when my daughters informed me that they could see me actually dating one of the gentlemen in attendance… mind you, they have no real knowledge of who is or isn’t married, so it could have been any of you! And I’ll leave it at that! Hahahahahahah!!!!!!!!)
After the main party ended, several of us ended up seated at the tables outside Wilbur’s, in the lobby, chatting until about 2:30 or so. At the same time, there was a party going on in at least one hotel room that I understand was quite the good time. I know that one of my roomies didn’t return from that until something like 4:30 in the morning while I’d gone to bed by 3:00. LOL What happened in that room, stayed in that room! But I’m presuming there was much alcohol and much laughter and good memories were made – that is if anybody could remember anything at all! Just teasing! Sort of. Hahahaha!
Saturday morning at breakfast, several of us met in the Atrium of the hotel to eat and chat. It was a relaxing moment, probably the last of the day. My daughters had returned at Lori’s invitation and, after breakfast, they spent the day with me as I tried to figure out things for the Saturday night shindig. I also tried to get in a nap, but that didn’t happen either. LOL
Again, the girls handled the check in and took in the payments of those who had decided on Friday night to attend on Saturday. There may have been a glitch or two, but all in all, it went smoothly.
I thought the dinner, a Mexican buffet with mini chimis and fajitas, was yummy. It was, in fact, much better than I’d anticipated and I was glad of that. The décor of the area where the buffet was set up, as well as the memorial table inside the ballroom, was really well done.
During dinner, Fred Hurtado again talked to the guests about the Distant Echo and possibly the Rincon Foundation. I’m not really sure as I had to leave the room for a few minutes. I was told afterwards, however, that he gave a good speech and I’m sorry I missed it.
After dinner, Dorrie Anthony Bastiampillai read a letter she had received from Phil Varney. And then the “awards,” based only on the responses to the questions sent out in the weeks prior to the event, were handed out. Furthest distance traveled – Third place mention went to Phil Connolly who came from Yonkers, NY. Second place mention went to Sonia Lewin, attending from Boston, MA. The winner was David Hall, who travelled over 5000 miles from Germany to be there with us. David also won the award for the most countries visited (55). Mary Bayly Nebe won the award for most grandchildren (5) and tied for the most states visited (50). Diana Leonard has also visited 50 states. John Fleming won the award for most times back to Rincon based on his response that he used to “jog the track there about 3 times a week for years.” Jay Jones is the “most popular” classmate on Facebook with 560 friends. Mary, Diana, John and Jay were not there on Saturday night and so their certificates will be mailed to them soon.
Award certificates were also awarded for the “Best Lesson Learned at School” and “Best Autograph.”
After much debate on Saturday morning at breakfast, and noting that many people had learned excellent lessons at school, we eventually went with the response that made us all laugh – “Never call your PE teacher a fag.” Congratulations, Ken Barnes! Some of the other excellent lessons learned:
Brenda Fieldman Moench – “Never give up on your dreams, always keep trying no matter what!”
Diana Leonard – “School is what you make it. Make it fun.”
Linda Kasik Hayden – “We all share a bond that time and distance cannot break, that’s why it’s never goodbye, just see ya.”
Lori Ecord Schroeder – “Values, friendships, hard work pays off.”
Susan Hammerstein Batt – “Eegee’s is awesome! First time I bought it was off the back of a pickup at Rincon.”
Jay Jones – “Pursue excellence.”
Jonathan Reich – “I learned who I am.” (Honestly, does it get much better than this? )
Lori Leon Adukeh – “Surround yourself with friends from all backgrounds and cultures.”
Mary Bayly Nebe – “Be true to yourself and your beliefs, instead of following the crowd.”
Amongst the best autographs submitted were the following:
John Fleming – “John, Knowing you has been an experience I’ll never recover from. The very best. Jack Boswell”
Ken Barnes – “Thanks for the diamond – Hope to meet up with you some night…. Love Sue” (Ken informed us that he has no recollection of who Sue is).
Lori Ecord Schroeder – “Reach for the stars and never look back”
Linda Kasik Hayden – “Together Forever – John Hayden” (And look, they’re still together!!!! How cool is that?)
And the winner?
Larry Matthew – “The next time you shoot a teacher, use a camera – Bruce Farrell”
When we gave Larry his certificate, he noted a couple of suggestions for the next reunion, one of which was a request for larger print on the name tags (I agree!). The other, that a board be set up with the names of those in attendance so that people could try to find exactly who they were looking for, led to an impromptu introduction around the room as Lori stood and introduced herself. Trying to make things easier and more audible, I went around the room with the microphone so that each classmate in attendance could introduce him or herself.
After that, I announced the favorite teachers: Dana Smith (English), Rudy Thompson (choir), and Paul Grimes (band) with honorable mentions going to Mary Robbins (Latin), Don Rule (math/geometry), Evelyn McMurtray (home ec), Lyle Wilcox (orchestra/choir), Lou Tassi (printing) and Paula Walter (English/Shakespeare).
One thing I forgot to announce was the choice for favorite song. The hands down winner of that was “Stairway to Heaven”.
When all that was finished, the DJ cranked up the tunes. Ken and Rochelle Barnes won the prize as the first couple onto the dance floor and the dancing commenced. Eventually, there was a conga line and some “Soul Train” like moments. Jenni led a our attempt at The Cupid Shuffle. The dance floor was seldom empty, although the few times it was, there was usually someone back out there for the next song. Throughout the night, we held raffle drawings for door prizes. Man, we had a hard time getting rid of the Gold’s Gym certificates.
At the end of the evening, a small group of people ended up in Lori’s and Dorrie’s room, hanging out, talking, and just generally enjoying good feelings. I left before that get together ended, but I’m sure that the conviviality continued.
Sunday morning breakfast, for me, was kind of bittersweet. It was the end of this fabulous weekend. Linda, Liz, Ken, Rochelle, Jackie, Gina, Lori, Dorrie, Holly, Steve and I relaxed, chatting… we were joined by David and I’m not really sure how much any of us really wanted to say goodbye, but it had to be done. No… not goodbye… “See ya!”
“See ya in five!” was heard at the end of each night from all around. Five years from now, hopefully, we’ll gather again… to renew our friendships… to reminisce… to laugh and talk and have a good time… To relive our childhood, our youth…. And to remind ourselves that “We all share a bond that time and distance cannot break, that’s why it’s never goodbye, just see ya.”
Pictures available soon.