Monday, September 15, 2008

Class Reunion

In August of 2008 I attended my 50th High School class reunion in Greene, NY. Greene is a little town midway between Binghamton, and Norwich on the Chenango River. Its in the Southern Tier, which means its along the southern edge of the state where it borders Pennsylvania. Greene, when I lived there, was a village of about 1500 people the incorporated size 1 mile square.

My graduating class had a total of 66members and 33 of us started Kindergarten together. In the 50 years since our graduation, 11 members of the class have died. About half of the class still lives in Greene, or within about 30 - 40 miles of it. Most of those that stayed in the area married other Greene Central graduates. Those that left are living all over the country from the west coast to the Pacific Northwest. From Florida to Maine, and about everywhere in between.

Most of my classmates never went to college, or attended for only a short time. In spite of the fact that Greene is a farming community, very few are farming. Most of the women did not work outside the home; or if they did, it was in low skilled and often part time jobs. Ours was the last generation in which the girls were raised to become someones wife and someones mother. We were programmed to marry and stay home to take care of our home and our children. If we went to college, it was so there would be something we could fall back on if something happened to our husbands. The 'professional' jobs open to women at that time were nurse, teacher, secretary, etc. The Business courses in high school were Typing and Shorthand.

I decided to go to the reunion because I had been unable to attend any of the earlier ones. My husband chose not to come with me, so I made the trip by myself. I had no expectations going in. I was not particularly popular in school, and dated very little. Many of those still living in the area were the most popular ones when in school, so I thought I might encounter a cliqueiness left over from the past, and enhanced by the fact that they'd been friends for the past 50 years too. What I found there was a welcome that was warm and genuine. There were only a few who did not voluntarily come up to greet me. There were hugs, and real interest in who I'd turned out to be. The women were more friendly than the men, but that didn't surprise me at all.

My sister and Brother-in-law also came up. The school is small enough that the reunions are for all years. Ours was highlighted because it was our 50th, but the banquet was open to all.

When I arrived at my hotel in Binghamton, after checking in, I started to go find some dinner. When I got into my car, I found a message on my cell phone from my sister saying they were near Binghamton. I called, and they were just pulling into the Applebees which I could see from my hotel. So we had dinner together. Saturday I met one of my friends from school for lunch. The banquet was Saturday night. On Sunday morning I met my classmates fro breakfast at 8:00, then I went to church at Zion Episcopal where I had grown up. Afterwards, I met Judy & Herm for brunch. There was a picnic in the afternoon, so I was able to visit with my classmates again. I carried my camera faithfully every place I went, and never took a picture. But I bought the class pictures, so when I receive them, I'll post them here.

Monday was Labor Day. I drove north to Hamilton, NY to visit the cemetery where my parents are buried. I stopped in Norwich and bought a purple hardy mum and a trowel; and planted it on the grave. Judy has planted a number of things there over the years. There are peonies behind the stone, and goldenrod in bloom there. Lillies have been planted on the left side, and petunias and geraniums have reseeded themselves in front. I cleaned up dead leaves and debris, and poured my water bottle on the mum. It all looked very pretty when I left.

My goal for Monday night was Canastota, NY, and Graziano's Inn. Canastota is further north in the Finger Lakes Region. I drove through pretty country and little towns. Stopped at a couple of antique shops along the way. I arrived at the Inn and checked in around 4:30. At about 5:30, I called Denise, and she and her fiance came over and treated me to dinner. Nice evening. I knew Denise only through Elizabeth Stewart Clark's Sewing Academy Forum, but we had arranged to meet ahead of time. We'll be meeting a couple of othr forum members in the next couple of days.

I'll continue this another day.

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