Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day

Our half anniversary falls on Valentine's Day which makes it noteworthy despite its origins.  I'm sure he was saintly, and setting aside a special day for a special person has its merit too.  Card, some candy, nice dinner.  We have togetherness regularly but don't take note of it regularly.  Worth a day for that purpose alone.

Happy Valentine's Day to my special lady.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Finding Them

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As notes for preparation of the Fiftieth Reunion of my high school class appear from time to time, my initial enthusiasm has largely petered out.  The most recent note shows about two dozen confirmations, a couple I was reasonably close to then, about the same number that I've grown closer to now as electronic media has made distance largely irrelevant.  Instead of sharing classes, we share cyberspace.  While the organizers worked hard with attention to detail on making attendance memorable, I think they made a grievous error in their insistence on capturing everyone via world of mouth and email address, each far less reliable a means of contact than other opportunities that our electronic advances have brought upon us and the reasoning skills that our alma mater should have imprinted upon us.  From time to time a list arrives with missing people.  When I suggested that they look the people up and mail them, I got a rather snide reply from one of the principal committee members asking me to defer for ten years.  While I still considered attending until more recently, the Respect Meter deflected negatively, and the fairly schvok response that they have gotten probably reflects that in another form.

But while the Committee did not want to be bothered with a tedious but likely fruitful task, I recently challenged myself to see what this would actually entail.  Setting a timer for 55 minutes, which is what our library allows for each session in cyberspace, I divided the list by letters, starting with B/C then M/N.  I figured men would be easier to find than women, common names shared by thousands largely beyond my skill.   It turned out not to be that way.  Since whitepages gives address and telephone number, and I knew everyone's age within a year, and that they had once lived in our school district, that seemed like a good starting point.  It wasn't, especially for the women.  What worked a lot better was simply to type the name on Google with a comma and 67 as the age.  I got Facebook references, LinkedIn Profiles, a lot of whitepages and spokeo with a less useful mylife list.  Maiden names were largely crossed referenced or still shared by fathers and brothers.  I got a fair number of parent obituaries in the local paper or from Florida which would give me the daughter's current name as a survivor living in an identified place, which largely confirmed the identification and allowed me to search separately.  Some became licensed professionals, MD's, dentists, or attorneys with at least office address and phone numbers as well as biographies.  One fellow of very common name that I did not expect to find, had a military career that took him hither and yon, with our high school name and class among his educational achievements.  And that is all from a list that the committee which I would reasonably expect to do this didn't want to be bothered with the effort, which turned out less than I had anticipated.

Moreover, I think it changed my perspective of what is likely our final gathering.  Why reassemble?  Our preparation for adulthood came from there but our destinies did not.  We should be taking a measure of delight in everyone's achievements, the many places our otherwise obscure military classmate got to live, how somebody with a very common African-American name could migrate to Alabama, the businesses people started as the highlight of their LinkedIn Profile,  We had some 400 graduates which would make for 400 stories.  Getting those present and those from afar to donate $50 each to offer a meaningful remembrance of our class to those who maintain our school now in more difficult times than when we attended.  That's the output of 50 years of personal achievements multiplied and a single class achievement unified.  It doesn't seem to be the product being presented to me.

The communications seem devoid of this glory.  We seem to have more of a reception, a Bar Mitzvah perhaps with people you were once closer to than you are now, celebrating the schools 50th birthday, as we were the first class, with an elaborate catered affair and some post-Beatles era music replacing the hora.  For those nearby, be a sport and say hello.  For those not nearby, the cost seems to exceed a value that slipped away.  If  they want to give a gift to the school, I'm in.

I still have all those other alphebetized letters of unlocated people.  They have stories too.  Since I'm the only one interested in them, I'll see what cyberspace has to tell me about their destinies.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Back to School

Classes at the Osher Institute of the University of Delaware begin tomorrow.  All four requested courses came through.

  1. Christian Roots of Anti-Semitism
  2. Basic Woodcarving
  3. Advanced Writers Workshop
  4. Spin on events from a male mind
Three have contacted me, requiring a notebook, writing samples, safety equipment, wood carving tools, and a ruler.  I put a small first aid kit in the bag as well.  Tuesday courses take me through lunch.  I've not packed a lunch in a long time but think I'm up to the task.   And try to appear stylishly retired too.