(September 8, 2011) Hello my friend. I have been thinking about our 40th reunion since I left Columbia. It was a huge success and such a ‘feel good’ weekend. The rekindling of friendship…both old and new had such a refreshing feeling. I appreciate all of the efforts of the Reunion Planning Committee…all of you went above and beyond the call of duty and everyone’s attention to detail was so apparent. A huge Thank you!!
I have been thinking about an email I received from Wayne Smith in March 2011. I have thought of that email many times. I wrote to Wayne to let him know how important his email was to me, personally. I really feel he wrote from his heart in a way that you would understand. Wayne gave his permission to post his email here.
Letter from Glenda to Wayne Smith
Wayne at the Banquet
(September 7, 2011) Wayne, It was sooo good to see you at our 40th reunion. You did such a great job at MC-ing at the banquet. You are such a gracious gentleman with a loving, caring and genuine spirit. I remember an email or letter you wrote back in March (I think) stating what you hoped the reunion would be. I loved what you wrote. Your thoughts came from your heart and I believe from my memory of your letter...you nailed it. I wish you would post it again. I appreciate your thoughts, your vision, your friendship and how you make others feel in your presence. Thank you so much for making the reunion so special....
Your HHS friend....glenda
Letter from Wayne Smith to Classmates
(March 10, 2011 at 11:23:00 PM) I had a 40 minute Skype conversation with one of my best friends from high school tonight. High School was 40 years ago! In fact, our 40 year high school reunion is coming up this summer. As always we told our stories about our families, our work, our faith and our friends. And the reunion was on our minds.
Dave and I can go months without speaking and just pick back up where we left off. We go back to elementary school. Until age 18 our stories were shaped by same schools, teachers, friends, parties, girls, etc. Then I headed south, he headed north. His story is framed by Minnesota, mine by Texas. His family is just now experiencing kids off to college, I have grandchildren. He loves hockey, I love football. He is in the world of education, I am in the world of ministry. We both travel, we both care deeply about our families and our faith. And we love each other and listen to each other's stories. I treasure our friendship. It helps keep me grounded. There are 5 or 6 other long term friendships that do the same thing in my life.
Both of us are pretty social, so we look forward to being with lots of folks we have not seen in a long time. Should be fun seeing people after a full generation has passed and hear their stories. Fascinating. We had 600+ in our graduating class and just about 10% of those are deceased and we know where about 200 or so are, but something north of half of the class is off the grid somewhere. Amazing how that can happen. Even in this time of facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc, there are still lots of folks who would just as soon not be found. I guess because I am somewhat extroverted, I really enjoy reconnecting with folks and I find it sad when someone does not want to do that.
There is something that is very comforting about old friends who I have known since high school, some all the way back to elementary school. And certainly we have all grown and changed, but there is some sense of belonging that comes with 40+ years of friendship. For me, it is because the early days of my life story is bound up with some of these folks. They shaped me. Those days were important days in my story and I think they were for most everyone else.
We were all trying to figure out who we were, what we believed, what story we would write for ourselves. Some of us found a larger story and our place in it, others are still writing their stories. We have experienced success and failure, love and loss of love, and all of us have lost friends and family who we loved deeply. Our lives are rich with story. All of us and our attendant stories will come together in August in Boone County. I am hoping and praying that we will listen well to each other. What a celebration of life it will be! I am really looking forward to it!
Letter from Glenda to Wayne
Glenda and Judy
(September 10, 2011) Hello Wayne, Thank you so much for resending your beautifully written letter again today. When I first read this during the summer, I thought to myself "I love this letter. It is exactly what I felt/feel in my heart for my years growing up in Columbia and being a member of the class of 1971." I am so very proud to be a Hickman Kewpie.
Judy Bass and I have maintained a very close friendship since 1st grade. We have been best friends for 52 years. We have been in each other’s lives helping one another through thick and thin. We have watched each other’s children grow into beautiful adults. We have not lived in the same city since we were both 20 years old, but our friendship is stronger than ever. I too am very fortunate to have many friends that have helped shape my life. I thank God for that!!
The words you shared on March 10th have come to fruition. Our 40th reunion was a huge success, a culmination of sharing of lives with one another. Exchanging of life stories, sharing the ups and down and knowing we all have so much in common...just different circumstances. What a gift we all have to hold us until the next reunion. What a time we had!!
My only regret from this reunion was ... it went too fast. I did not get to talk to everyone the way I wanted to. I look forward to the 45th reunion. May God continue to bless you and your family and keep you out of harm’s way.
Kewpie hugs for you..... ♥ glenda
Mr. Emerson: Karen Blumer Piest
Wow! What a fun weekend! You guys did an excellent job pulling together the gang for some fun activities. Can't wait to see how the group picture turned out.
Have to tell you a funny story. We had picked our spot at a table for the banquet when Mr. Emerson (my old World History teacher) and his wife walked in. He STILL strikes a little bit of fear in my heart so I was shocked when he walked up to Steve and me and asked if he could sit at our table. It was all I could do to keep from saluting him and saying "Yes, SIR"! We had some wonderful conversations with them during the evening. And to my great relief, he did not quiz me on any history facts. It was a very enjoyable evening.
Please pass our thanks on to the planning committee for all your hard work.
Steve and Karen (Piest) Blumer
Standing: Sister Sandy Stone MorningStar
Dear Bill [Moyes],i know you must be receiving hundreds of thank yous but I want you to know and feel how grateful I am, she who lives in the woods near a creek with difficult access to the web world, for all the extra effort it took for you to keep me informed and contacted and so graciously. I am so glad I made the choice and effort and had the privilege of joining with amazing folks with who I share an amazing past. Blessings on all you do and who you are and please pass my gratitude on to the whole organizing committee. I had a thought, as the years unfold, of a way to acknowledge the pain of loss not only of those who have walked on before us but of the strength and greatness of those still with us....a moment to say, "All who have buried a spouse, please stand; all who have buried a child, please stand, etc." until the moment where acknowledging that we who are still standing have lived through great loss together and can feel the love and support of how beautiful it is to rise up, rise above, walk forward...not alone...together. Not all those words but the image I was trying to share is different than having death leave the living so heart broken or heart weary. Just a thought....and laughter shared and talking shared and vision shared....so grateful. Blessings and may your days be bright and bountiful...warmly, sister morningstar Dear, Dear Diane~ Take heart! I am so grateful for the organizing committee!!! You each are awesome and did a marvelous job with contacting us, connecting us, providing structure and location and space and time to talk and share and move beyond years and distance to a place of union and caring in greater depth born of a past shared during the most vulnerable and passionate years of our lives. You all must rest. It is a big work you have done. Receiving feedback is so important, of course, and new suggestions to always make gatherings better. I know because I direct a spiritual retreat center and one works so lovingly to provide the best and sometimes it falls short here and there or for certain someones but it cannot fall very short because great love is at the heart of the matter of selfless service and that is what lingers and shines in peoples souls. So, we listen and learn and perhaps some of the concerns shared that you mentioned were things you all too wish were different. We can't always know how each thing will go. So we learn and adjust. But please know that you may share my little suggestion with anyone and everyone but I do not mean it in any way as a criticism, not at all. I am given, by my nature, to bring sacredness to the happy and hard experiences of life and it was just a suggestion that I thought might allow folks to face, acknowledge and yet transcend the realities that can be so difficult to speak and yet often are shared. If we live long enough we see it all and I think the living do well to be acknowledged for their greatness to bring life to the next moment...the next generation. The dead can be remembered only by the living.
I so enjoy the time we shared and marvel at the loving sacrifice and wealth of information you shared. Please rest and increase your self care and if you share my message, please share that message first and last. A special kiss to each of your hearts....warmly, sister morningstar.... Blessings, sms
Looking to 2016: Keith Cary
I didn’t find a place on the website that would allow me to address all of the members of the reunion committee at the same time, so I’m send this note to you with the hope that you will share it with everyone. I want to express my profound thanks for a great and memorable reunion weekend. Your hard work – and I’m sure there was a lot of it – paid off. Mark Twain’s description was accurate. I had a great time and will look forward to 2016. Be well until then. Keith Cary
Memorials: Scott Vroegindewey
I noticed during the powerpoint presentation of the photographs and timelines of deceased classmates that a classmate seated at the banquet table next to mine was crying. I admit I was misty-eyed myself. I went over to her, and we embraced, held hands, and cried together, mourning the losses of our departed friends. It was a tender moment between both of us.
A Walk Home: Randall Davidson
One memory I will take from our reunion happened Saturday morning. A group of classmates who had attended Grant School back in the early 60's got together at 8.30am to walk "home" to the places they had lived while attending Grant. The new principal of the school gave us an exhaustive tour (including a look at Mr. Easley's janitor room in the basement). We then began the trot through the neighborhood. We walked down Garth and then over to East Parkway where we crossed the creek. In front of us on West Parkway was a house I had visited a hundred times over the years. Cliff and Mary Thompson have lived there before 1960 and they are still there after all these years. The car was in the driveway and so we walked up the sidewalk and rang the bell. To our great surprise and delight, Mary answered the door. Rather than the summary "hello" that we might have expected, both Mary and Cliff welcomed us into their home where we sat on the same sofa and chairs. We regaled each other for a few minutes and then we had to get moving to visit our former homes. Cliff said, "What? You're only going to give us 50 seconds after 50 years!?" It makes me tear up just a little bit thinking about his words. Fifty years. It stuns me still that I'm that old and it stuns me that much more that they were home on that Saturday morning to greet us as we trundled up the front walk. The deep connections that draw a community together can sometimes feel a little snug. Over the years however, that close fit becomes more like a warm embrace. And that's what we did. Big hugs all around and then we all headed "home."
Sooooo good: Sheryl Nienaber Blackburn
It was sooooo good to see everyone that was there that night. Wish I could've attended the rest of the weekend. The same thing happened with the 35 year, we had a family reunion that same weekend. I've heard about most of it from Pat Flood, sounds like I missed some good times. Everyone involved are to be commended for your work on this, sounds like it went pretty smoothly. I've planned a few weddings over the years for nieces and nephews and I know how time consuming it is to bring large groups of people together as seamlessly as possible.
I'm still blessed (after 36 years) to have the same husband, Bob (Robert Dale) Blackburn, class of 1972. Thanks for all your hard work on this [reunion] and be safe.