We’re Finally SENIORS!

Last night was one of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Our 50 + 1 Reunion was a big success thanks to the committee of ladies who worked so hard to pull it off. They actually planned an event for last summer. Upon the lockdown for COVID, we couldn’t hold the event. This was definitely worth waiting for!

So that explains it!

The stately neighborhood surrounding the Field Club Country Club was the home of many of our classmates. It was like going home. That’s critical for us. They deprived us of seeing the building we all spent so many hours learning, loving, and how to get along in life. It’s shocking to see the hills of dirt now leveled out to street level. The city is building a new public high school, and it’s going to be beautiful. Trouble is, we’re kind of out there, drifting.

What great swag we received!

Until last night. We were hugging, squealing, and just so glad to be together. I loved the feeling the room had. I’m still smiling today. Facebook is where the after party will continue for quite a while. We’re joking back and forth, commenting on funny things like, “No one is arrested,” “We had a retired police sergeant with us, so we were good,” and many others, too many to note.

We were a class who faced some adversity. We were the first class in the United States to graduate with four years of modular scheduling. Many of us graduated early, six months to a year sooner than the formal ceremony. I could have, I had enough credits, but I didn’t know what I was going to do. Some did and were married, some did and started college early.

Another slight was our yearbook was more like a cheap calendar. Rather than include the school newspaper copies as in prior years, we had a small comic book-like yearbook. It was a travesty! Our Principal gathered us as juniors and informed us we would not be “seniors,” but our generic title would be “upper classmen.” We never got to be seniors. Joke is on the Principal; here we are, Seniors at last!! Cannot take that away from us! Finally, we have arrived!

It was the 60s, and we organized a protest. We had lapel buttons made, with the initials “FRS;” which stood for “Future Ryan Senior.” We’ll show them! It made not a bit of difference. We were never seniors until now, but we did express our discontent. I say we resurrect the pin, only it should now mean “Finally. A Ryan Senior!”

Who could have thought in 1970 we’d be who and what we are today? Who could have thought we would feel deeply for long ago friends who have met their God since last we were together? And who would have thought the fun times could come back so quickly, by suggestion.

Until The Next Time, My Friends, We’ll Be Close To Each Other In Our Hearts

“I’ll See You At the Reunion!”

Later today is the big night for the Class of 1970 from Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha, Nebraska. It is our 50 + 1 Reunion. I haven’t attended since 1995, our 25th. I am so looking forward to this one. Through the magic of Facebook, we’ve reconnected with people across the world (we have one person, Anna Merola, who lives in Italy!). It’s been fun building that friend’s list over the past few years.

My besties from that era and I are texting back and forth like teenage girls, setting up a Happy Hour meeting on some unsuspecting bar/restaurant. Jan, Kris, Mary, Georgene, and I will get reacquainted before we meet with other classmates. One memory I have of these gals is Mom would drive us all to Friday night dances. She always said, “You need to all wear the same perfume. I’m getting 8 distinct scents here, it gives me a headache!”

Tabu, Ambush, and I forget the other popular scents of the times. Yardley was big. Twiggy ruined self esteem of many of us (at least me). And the Pepsi generation ruled, and they quoted Mick Jagger as saying, “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” We listened. We hated the war (that was a hard one for me; my relatives all served in the wars and conflicts before Vietnam), rejected the establishment, and probably were all Democrats. Bobby Kennedy visited Omaha, at a small baseball park called Christie Heights, before his ill-fated trip to California. Kent State happened; we had race riots in Omaha, Martin Luther King, Jr assassinated, too. Chaos. There were riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago that year.

And now, 50 + 1 years later, many of us are now Republicans or Independents, we’ve had divorces, breast cancer, illnesses that are hard to believe, divorces, miscarriages, near-death-experiences, births and deaths, loss of parents, retirements, disabilities, and the smartest, most beautiful grandchildren ever born. We’ve done so much; and much more is left to experience. I pray we are still reuniting for many years to come.

Here’s a Bon Jovi song about Reunions. I have a recording of one by Rick Tiger, but can’t seem to find it now on YouTube. Rick visited Omaha in July and we hosted him at the VFW Post. We talked about writing and song writing. He told me next time he comes into town, we will write a song together, on our deck overlooking the wetlands. I’d be crazy to turn that invite down! Stay tuned, kids, there is a lot more to do! Writing is writing, eh? Life is nothing but exciting ahead.

To everyone having reunions this summer, have fun. Share your life, share you! We’ll be at the Field Club this evening. Looking forward to it! We will definitely see each other tomorrow! Take care.

Thankful Tuesday

It’s a pretty day here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Someone tuckered the dogs out (thanks, Babe!), and I slept in until 7, so I’m feeling rested. An old high school friend just contacted me. She is coming in from Wisconsin and staying in Gretna with her sister for our 50 + 1 HS Reunion. Of COURSE I’ll pick you up on my way past your sister’s to get to I-80. Outstanding!

Friends getting together will be very important this year. I haven’t attended a reunion since the 25th one – right before I had a mobility threatening issue with my spine, spinal cord, and all that. It was before I met the Babe. It was after another of my successive bad breakups, given my history of poor decisions about male friends. Then, in 1996, it all changed. Thanks again, Babe!

If I recall correctly, our class was intact for five years. We lost one classmate to cancer early, in the 5 – 10-year span, and I believe one to a car accident. Nothing too close. 25 years later, many have succumbed to cancer, accidents, heart attacks, and other things that people pass away from. We are all in the 69 – 71 age categories. Many have chronic illnesses. Many have life altering sicknesses. We are getting old. Our group has lost some very kind people; some spouses have died, and one woman who was a great volleyball player and friend of many, nurse to hundreds of people. Some will have canes, walkers, and electric scooters. But our hearts will still be young. The key to a happy life.

I believe we will all chat with each other. I believe we will all wish each other well. I believe we will all include each other by the end of the evening. What we won’t do is still have a “cool kid” group; a “band nerd” group; and a group of people who just don’t belong anywhere. I am positive I was the last group. It may have been self inflicted, as I had no self esteem and thought a girl’s goal in life was simply to marry and have kids. If you would have told me where these last 50 + 1 years would take me, I’d consider you a liar or a tall taleteller. If I were to select my high school category at this age, looking back, I’d be a late bloomer. It explains these vast opportunities I learned to create, and the risks I’m taking now that I’ve never done before. (Thank you, Billy McGuigan. You have taught me well). I’ve become the Queen of “Why NOT?” before my very eyes. Who is that woman, looking back at me from the mirror? It’s the real me. Living my own truth. Oh the places we’ve gone. What we’ve learned!

The trials and tribulations of growing up are now in their proper place; I’m looking forward to August 6, at the Field Club in Omaha, for our 50 + 1 class reunion. I’m looking to rekindling friendships, and acquaintences, too. We’re going to have a great time. Our faces will hurt from smiling. It’ll be a good hurt. The kind we should all have at this age. Ghosts of the past are buried, we can all be genuine and honest with each other. Let’s have a great time, classmates!

I’ll see you tomorrow, and we’ll do some more studying about kidlit. My illustrator Cartney and I have a schedule to follow with our work, and August 2, after our VFW Post 2503 Car Show, I’m resurrecting my novel, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” The studio/office needs some serious straightening up. All things in good time!

Thankful Thursday

My writing staff and I are having a meeting of the minds this morning. Goldie (front) and Lexie (back) got the Babe up at 4 a.m. again. He was kind and let me sleep until 8 a.m. What a great guy. Typically he wakes up earlier than I do, but also goes to sleep much earlier too. It all evens out, I suppose. While the Babe is off again on VFW business, I’m here, creating with the animals.

My creative staff and I are meeting this morning.

Goldie is six months old already, and nearly the size of Lexie. Being a purebreed, she has more outstanding features than a pound puppy, but that doesn’t mean she’s superior. No, not at all. You can tell the difference, however. She is a very smart dog, and needs stimulation. They all do. Kind of like people, really. All ages of living beings need outward stimulation for a balanced life.

Last night at the VFW, we had a reunion of sorts. A good friend moved away a couple years ago after losing his wife, and came to visit for the first time since then. Although we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and texting, this was the first time we had seen him. It was a beautiful reunion. I am so overwhelmed by the men of the Post and the hugs, slaps on the back, the closely held conversations of a few words that say so much, and the checking to make sure they have current phone numbers to contact later on. This is what a band of brothers is. Each of them welcomed him with open arms. They truly love and care for each other. You have to when you depended on each other for your lives. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing to be a part of. If you can witness it as I did last night, you are truly lucky. This is why our Armed Services helps make this the greatest nation in the world. These everyday men from all walks of life, came together as youngsters to do a job they were called upon to do. They did. They are all better for having performed their duties.

Some guys made the service a career, some did not. They all remember their duty, although don’t talk about it a lot, if at all. It’s better kept in their hearts. They show such kindness towards the older guys, and it is returned a hundred fold. Yes, there are disagreements. Yes, there are differences of opinions. There is one thing that holds them tightly together. America and their love for it. Money could never buy this if it were a commodity. You can measure it, however, since all have taken an oath to serve to the death. And they still would if asked. It’s an honor to know them and call them my friends.

I’m glad to have from today until next Tuesday morning to myself (and the Babe), to regroup and plan how the next couple weeks will go. Mom needs some additional therapy for her back, and I’m all for that, so it will be more appointments twice a week. They add up, but should help build her up to have a more enjoyable time in her flower gardens this spring and summer. Right now, the plan is to rejoin the balance and strength training in September through next winter to keep her as strong as possible. Every older person needs extra conditioning to keep living a good independent life.

This is a sunny, bright, beautiful day today. It is cold, we know it’s still winter, and it won’t last too much longer. It’s a great day to create something. I’m going to try my hand at some more water coloring for the 30 Day Art Challenge. I also need to cut more fabric squares for my Snowfall quilt. And I need to write more on the novel. The words have been coming out at a good pace the last several days, so I need to capitalize on that. Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then!