Several years ago I helped coordinate my 40th high school reunion. I grew up in in a smallish community outside of Detroit, and pretty much everyone knew everybody in their neighborhoods. Neighborhoods were defined by streets, and the kids who lived within these streets eventually all went to the same junior high and high school. A lot of the kids in my old neighborhood I've known since kindergarten! We all had relationships that go far and beyond the kind of tenuous relationships we have today. We all literally grew up together. So for some, the reunion was a gathering of people who had deep roots.
|Part of the Lowrey Class of 1968|
Such was the case for a few of us who attended the reunion. Carol and Sue and I went to a parochial grade school together and so we had a whole range of experiences about being Catholic and being educated by the ruler across the knuckles slap-happy Catholic nuns of the 1950's! When I look at this picture I don't know whether to laugh or cry!
While standing at the hotel check-in at the reunion, I met up with a former classmate named Irene and although I didn't "hang out" with Irene in school, we both showed up wearing similar cotton sundresses and had the same hair styles! By the end of the reunion, a bond was built with all us girls, Sue, Carol and Irene, and even included three guys from our class and one wife, who had graduated the year after us! We have stayed in touch ever since and try and get together at least once or twice a year.
|The whole reunion gang Christmas 2009! Me, Sue, Greg and Irene (behind me).|
Carol (behind Irene), Nan and Jerry (to the left), Frank to the right and then Carol's husband, Mark!
One other girl that we all knew joined the Class of 1968 in our senior year, Linda Geluck (Vermulen). She was a really darling perfectly perfect 60's Mod kind of gal, with long blond hair and blue eyes, a great smile...and she was CANADIAN! She was unable to attend the 40th reunion but she was still best friends with Sue, and so we all embraced her into our little clique via emails, Facebook and an occassional cell phone conversation. Linda even visited with us all two years ago from her home in Manitoba! We had so much fun!
|Michele, Linda and Sue 2010|
I remembered Linda to be such a positive and happy girl. She was an artist and we all shared a love of our art teacher, Mr. Jones. Linda went on to marry a Canadian guy who is a record producer and she became a glass artist/jeweler and a world-class travel photographer. A few weeks ago, while on their yearly vacation to somewhere warm and sunny, Linda got a phone call from the Winnepeg, Manitoba police...or whatever they are called in Canada! Some horrible creature had assaulted her frail 88 year-old mother in her own apartment building and had nearly killed her! I've included one story about the incedent here.
LINDA'S MOM HOME INVASION!
We have since all rallied around Linda and her family and we are still as one, even though over forty years have passed. The good news is that Linda's mother is recovering and they have CAUGHT the monster that nearly killed her! The even better news is that Linda's beautiful photography was accepted into a juried exhibit at a major local art museum here in Detroit (CAID) and she is flying in for a week! We are all so excited and planning to attend the opening gala and give Linda the accolades she deserves.
Contemporary Art Institute Detroit CAID
My point is, life is too short and precious and we all have history. As Valentine's Day approaches, here is some food for thought. When we are given opportunities to show and receive love, from family and friends, past and present, embrace it. Keep your positive attituded and let your hearts be flooded with gratitude. Linda has endured a really terrible couple of weeks, but her mom is recovering and so she is coming to Detroit to see us! If not for a dumb high school reunion, we would not be as close friends as we are now and none of this would have been possible.