Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grammar School Reunions - A Trend?

It's been a year since our Glen School reunion - an elementary school reunion - and suddenly I have found it wasn't an idea exclusive to us!

Students from schools around the country have emailed me over the course of the year asking how we managed to find the teachers and former classmates that made up our special reunion last year. They read how great we thought it was, saw the photos, saw that many of us really wrapped our arms around it. Margaret Silvers-Myatt (Glen Class of 1969) even shared an article with some of us recently from the Wall Street titled "The Last Reunion" which nostalgically recalls a grammar school reunion held by a group of former students and how when they had their 64th reunion - they declared it would be their last. Please check out this short but wonderful article by Byron Wien that appeared in the Wall Street Journal in October at:

I've realized happily that we are not the only ones who share such pleasant memories. Many people harbor the same affection for places and people they knew growing up.

I love the fact I'm leading a busy life and take the time to reflect on the past and try and preserve it. I am a hopeless romantic - a sentimental person and I blame my Irish roots for it!

As we gear up for the BF reunion in the Fall of 2011 - I constantly think about our good friend Artie Brierley - how he would have loved this 2nd chapter leading up to our killer 40th reunion. Artie always looked upon his past fondly. He loved life even when life dealt him some tough hands.

Above photo of what is now known as Ben Franklin Middle School - courtesy of

We still all lead very busy lives - we're sending or about to send our kids to college - yet we have managed to catch up with each other - it's great! We haven't intruded on one another yet we have reconnected in various ways - some have re-established friendships, others check in from time to time and all seemingly can't wait for the next party!

I find myself in this forum called a blog - telling a history but also at times confessing and confiding that yes I looked up to some of these classmates, had crushes on them and really thought the world of them - you certainly don't go around telling people this - surely at that young age you're not even really thinking too much about that - its just there and when you get into your 40's you wonder how people like Greg Rehe are and Penny Ward - where has life taken them - you hope life has been good to them. Its pleasing that - among others - both of them have been in touch and hope to come to future reunions.

I remember a time when I tried to be indifferent - you know, have the kind of attitude where nothing phases you one way or another - I mean there was a time when I tried to look at everything that way - but I finally asked myself - who was I being that way for? It certainly wasn't me but it was a defense mechanism to be sure - defense against the letdown.

It's like at the very first RHS reunion I went to - 20th in 1993. I wasn't sure about going - afterall who's gonna remember me after all these years? Will I sit there and wonder why I came? I decided to go - Caryn went with me - and I was determined to be indifferent - ya know, not have a care one way or the other. Then when we arrived in Mahwah, NJ, walking across the parking lot - someone yelled out "Rick Flannery - how are you?" - and you think, hey wait a minute, I'm trying to be indifferent here but also you think "Hey somebody remembers me!" Well when we got inside - Karen Eide was the next one I saw and when she said "Ricky!" well, I was done in - I was happy I came! The night flew - Artie got the Glen crowd together for photos - others started follwoing suit with their own grade schools - it was such a blast! Indifference be damned!

When John Wescott arranged a mini reunion of some of our varsity football players and coaches and - ME?!, it was an honor to be included - though I didn't pretend that I should have been. Showing up at RHS that Saturday morning and meeting up with everybody was so cool! As we awaited Roger Sweeney's arrival from upstate New York, Dave Burdick's mom pulled up to drop off Dave - she wanted to see some of the "boys" - wow talk about a cool moment and one that made you suddenly feel younger - we all called out "Hi Mrs. Burdick!" Dave Vanderbush gave us the VIP tour of the school (how could you possibly be anything but excited about it!) "Wow that's my homeroom!" (see the details of that day at - the 2010 varisty football sqaud paying tribute to a very surprised and an obviously appreciative Coach Sweeney one by one and then lunch in town - it was special! Indifferent?! No way!

When Cara recently had her article on Iraq recently published - I was thrilled for her - how do you explain that? Cara and I didn't hang out together growing up yet to learn what she's been up to - to share in special moments like that is special to me.

To see what Karen Eide has accomplished in a field she so loves is so great! You must check out her website and blog at

To see Ann Rimmer's inability to age like the rest of us - it's just downright frustrating!

We do have a unique alumni - all so different, all so perfect in being different.

Looking back on my awkwardness in 6th grade - I recall how painful it was for me at times - trying so hard to suddenly fit in with these people that I liked so much. The weight of that at 10 and 11. I remember with a laugh that I thought at the time "I'm not supposed to be awkward at this age!!" (though you're not using that word then - you don't even know the word, you just act it!) - you feel the frustration and lack of confidence. But we all had our own struggles growing up and therein lies the joy of all of this - we got through and it all comes around - so I'm psyched to be sitting here in 2010 writing about it and helping to plan what I hope will be another awesome reunion in 2011!

We'll have a date early next year so you'll have plenty of time to plan - life is too short - make sure you come to the BF reunion!

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