Posts Tagged ‘Lansing’

In the Groove

Oh what fun it is to ride“………….wait a minute. I have to save that for Christmas. What I want to do today is talk about our Resurrection High School, Class of ’61 Reunion.

The Reunion Muse was talkin’ away to me all the way back to Kalamazoo. But since I was the driver, I just got a small bit of it down on a napkin (when we were filling up with gas). I was “road challenged” this weekend trip, so I could not afford to write on napkins while driving. It’s probably a higher fine than texting too. And I’d hate for the State of Michigan to have to write a new law.

We all have a life. We are all living our life. But every once in awhile, you can stop and have a get-together with a group of people you once had “another” life with during “another” time of your life. That is what a 50 year reunion is like. Not just a time-warp, but almost time stretching out on a rubber band from the years of the ’50s and ’60s until now.

There is spontaneous laughter, gentle reminicing, information downloads from the time then to the time now. There’s talk about what we were, what we weren’t, what we have left to do that we want to do, memories of those who aren’t here to celebrate with us.

And celebration and genuine happiness to be with one another for anything from a passing word and hug to an occasional in-depth conversation of passions and pursuits that still interest us made our in-the-moment weekend party a great vitality.

I was not the usual shutterbug I often am capturing a picture story, but I did see plenty of flash cameras going off so I know many have carried home with them a “Kodak moment” of the Reunion. When I did take photos, I think my equipment is a bit on the frizz because most are either fuzzy or the flash didn’t go off.

Friday night, after an interesting back-up detour to Lansing, Tom and I arrived at Tripper’s, the local bar shrine to MSU, where the gathering was in full steam ahead mode. A packed room, with chatter, drinks and food being served, I could speak with a few, maneuver into spots to get near my old friends, and ask names of some I didn’t recognize.

I was warmly greeted by Mike Fitzgerald, Margie Blasen, and several others who knew me also as Napkinwriter, which felt really good to me. When I was a little girl, and my grandparents, great aunts and generally the “older generation” spoke of their schoolgirl women they knew by their married names, I was always agitated when they referred to them by their maiden names. But I am going to shamelessly refer to my girlfriends by their maiden names because a reunion kind of evokes that in you.

Agnes Spitzley and Judy Hartsuff, two regular attendees of the monthly luncheon group, that we hadn’t been to for awhile due to Tom’s surgery, greeted us to catch up on his recovery and Tom held his own as we played through the weekend, including the travel.

Several guys checked with me too and it was special to us that so many followed the recovery, showing care and concern. They were happy to see him doing as well as he is and so am I.

I got to the back of the room, where the husbands of two of my high school BFFs were standing, Dick Jackson and Len Ignatowski. Catching up a little about life on the lake with Dick, and Len’s travels to Vietnam.

Barb Czubak, Dick’s wife, and Diane DeRose, Len’s wife were my first two friends I met at RHS, when I went into that class as the “new kid on the block”, having moved to Lansing from Sycamore, Illinois in the summer of 1957. It turned out they didn’t live far from my LaSalle Blvd. home and we went through the rest of our high school and college days as best buds. An example I’ve been known to have held high as an example to my own daughters on occasion when bringing up the value of friendship. Another special friend in this group was Marsha Pricco, who I didn’t see until Saturday night at the dinner dance.

Kathy Gaybrick was in the room and we only got a brief time together, would have liked more. She and Mary Ellen Tomlanovich were my first summer Michigan friends before going into the 9th grade at RHS in September. I caught up with Mary Ellen and husband Garth Barrett (our senior class president) briefly at our Saturday night too.

I won’t be able to mention everyone, and there is this vague, but certain knowing that there were classmates there I didn’t even get to meet and speak to. There is a general group who held a steady course and made sure this reunion happened, and I probably can’t even name all of those.

There is Gil Glick, who is our general Father Duck of the class, sentimentally and tearfully joyous anytime we are together as a group, and so encouraging to gather once again. And some of the others who put this on the calendar for us and willingly worked over the year were: John Lynch, Diane DeRose, Judy Magee (I think she’s Mama Duck), Mike Ridge (who always has a joke ready), Judy Hartsuff, Rosie Pung, and probably others I’m not thinking of and don’t know about, but I can tell everyone, WE ARE ALL GRATEFUL to you for the opportunity to come together and treasure what we had and have.

Some of us know by now that somehow, “it” all fits together. What we experience in life is our human being….”being human”. There’s a wide disparency amoung people about WHAT their high school years were all about….”either the best years of our lives”, or the”I can’t wait to get out” years of our lives. 

But as we live our life some more, we find out it is not about where you are, it is about who you are. And we were all having a great time this weekend being who we are. Is it possible we were teenagers who thought we had the answers then and actually later on began to ask the right questions?

I heard a lot of personal expressions of personal gratitude for living the life they lived, all ingredients poured in and counted. I heard a knowledge of the internal benefits of forgiveness. I saw WomanSpirit on the dance floor and joined in the dance. And I saw the evidence of joy in just being who you are. I’d say that’s a pretty good education!

Ok, so we lived in Kentucky for twelve years, and I know they don’t know the words to My Old Kentucky Home, except for “weep, no more my lady”….so in my mind it is perfectly right that we have the printed words to our Senior Class Song, so we could all sing along properly.

Well, properly we did, but loud enough, we did not! Diane DeRose had us sing it again, this time to raise the roof at the Saturday Night Dinner and Dance.

Mike and Betty pick up the volume for a second time around. I gave Mike a geography lesson and an invite to a Kalamazoo reunion, since I-94 runs right through here on the way to Lansing from Illinois. He and Tom can play golf and Betty and I can go to a movie! Happy 46th anniversary today to Mike and Betty. I had a way-too-short time with dear friend Marsha Pricco, basketball partner and good all-around-long-lasting friend, and her husband, Duane, “Duke”. But I did see he had his cool shoes on.

At our dinner table, I had the most beautiful picture painted for me. Carol Vincent did it for me when she described her day and her two-way travel across a bridge — in the morning, going east, she crossed the bridge going to work and saw a sunrise each morning. On her return home, westbound, she saw the sun setting each day. I hope that doesn’t mean twelve hour days but she described a long, satisfying career in making sure software programs worked before they got in computers. I wondered where she was when I needed her.

I enjoyed our dinner table time with Leon Wendell, who has had a lengthy career in health care and heart and lung speciality work with the famous Dr. DeBakey when both open heart surgery and transplant science was on the horizon of new procedures.

I was so happy to sit with Ellen Dawson, who I remember as the music person in high school, leading the band, still working professionally, though not in music. Pat Halpin, a true treasure to me, was one who made me, the serious student” laugh and she still can. We have lots of unfinished conversation to go.

I think Judy Magee did relax and have some fun after pulling many of the strings, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, after she got that last name tag made. She sat next to me and we enjoyed the food and conversations around the table. We also got one hot dance together when the music bumped it up and we were near the dance floor — so why not?

Diane DeRose Ignatowski, not only had a major part in forming this reunion, she had a fitting and touching recognition ceremony, “No Vet Left Behind”, for the veterans in our class. She had each class member who had served our country in any branch of the US Armed Forces or Reserves come forward to accept a pin for recognition. And we welcomed them home, just in case we forgot to do it when they returned. Thanks, guys and gals!

It was good to hear them all tell of their service to our country, the protections of freedom we all enjoy. A memorable moment was when Goulding recalled some of his memories from the First World War and a brief stint in the War of 1812.

Carol described her Naval career. I wish we could have had a few bars of music from each of the Armed Forces Branches. I know we would have sang along. As it was, though, I think Mike Ives topped the show with his enthusiastic retort about his Marine service, “I loved every minute of it!”

Judy Hartsuff and Mike Ridge had something up their sleeves for the night too. Which was extremely hard for Mike because he had short sleeves. Details are a bit fuzzy, like this picture, but they managed to surprise John Lynch with an official certification of membership in our RHS class of 1961 and we are certainly grateful for that!  John’s been the glue behind this group, that once it got rolling downhill picked up more speed and more “group-ness” for the past couple of years. John, we all love you!

Then we all turned into the old time Rock ‘n Rollers that we know we are. Judy Muenchen and her husband danced the night away! Denise Downing, Joyce Pierce, Pat, great-grandmother rocked the circle. Diane Fillion and Dom skirted the dance floor to an oldie but goodie love song. Cathy Behl celebrated with us all.

Nine o’clock breakfast time rolled around quickly on Sunday, it seemed. I was happy to share a breakfast table with Diane & Bert Chandler, Rosie, and for a brief time Barb again. 

A fair group of us who marched the aisles of the Church of Resurrection as 1961 graduates, and some who were married there (Tom and me, June 19, 1965) gathered together at the 11:00 Sunday Mass before parting and going on with our lives in all different parts of the country.

To God goes the glory….and a last rah rah. From the past leader of the zany  RHS Shamrock Pep Club….

Shamrocks are really great, boom, boom boom,
Shamrocks are really great, boom, boom, boom,
Shamrocks are great and they really rate,
Shamrocks are really great,
oh yah, raddi dah,
ha cha
click, click.

Hey, this song is easier to sing than it is to write! 



Read Full Post »