I went to a reunion Saturday evening. It wasn't high school or college or even seminary (though this year is my 35th Seminary reunion). It was a reunion of some of the people who worked together 20 years or more ago at the Regional Council on Education for Employment (acronym RCEE).
I worked there as an English Teacher and then Center Manager from late 1985 until I went to St. John's, Waterbury in June 1989.
RCEE was jointly sponsored by Yale, IBM, Aetna and a couple of other corporations. IBM was the prime player--imagine me, an IBMer! We recuited and enrolled people with high school diplomas and some office skills and in 16 weeks they were ready for entry level word processing jobs in major corporations. Our placement rate was higher than anyone. It was a great program, but it only lasted 10 years because the laws about such training changed.
There seven of us there--one I didn't know because she came after I left--plus Bern and one of the employees teenage foster daughter (who must have thought we were all ancient and senile and silly. The oldest was 83 and Suzette, who organized it, was the youngest, in her 50's. It was an odd crew--4 Black, 3 white.
The great thing was how comfortable and fun it was to be with them though I haven't seen most of them since 1989. Something in the vision and mission we shared, something in the difference we made in people's lives, something about how we always liked each other greatly. How wondrous to find you can slip back into the same kind of relationship with people after so many years if only for 3 hours in a steak house in West Haven.
I've never been great at "keeping up" with people. I don't have a single friend from high school--except Bern and her cousin Tony--and only one from college (and we haven't seen each other for 5 years or so). I know where several of my seminary classmates ARE and what they're doing...but 'keeping in touch'...nah....
Sat. night convinced me I need to hone my 'keeping up' skills since it was a shame to lose these dear people for two decades. (One of them does live in Cheshire and I see her in Stop and Shop or Everybodies from time to time.)
Besides, it shouldn't be hard since there is, after all, a finite time I will have to 'keep up' with people now....Memento mori. One of the ones who should have been there was Willie Bradley, but he died back in the 90's. His funeral was one of the last times this group of people were in the same place at the same time....until Saturday.
Ponder getting in touch with someone from 20 years ago you really liked and enjoyed--if only for a meal together....it was a good thing....
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