Afterthoughts

 

After the Party:

Here are some e-mail messages received since the reunion:


Peggy Ahlgren:

The party is over but the music plays on........

What a terrific party. Sunday at the picnic one of the fellows came over to talk about the reunion weekend. His words seemed to sum up the event for many of us. He said "Friday night I walked into the room and felt the love. It made my whole body shiver."
He was right, the room was filled with cries of joy – people hugging, talking, short conversations – in-depth conversations and sharing....and it didn’t stop all weekend!!!!!
Barriers of cliques, neighborhoods – whatever – seemed to breakdown and everyone appeared genuinely pleased to see each other. The 150-175 people at Jingles blended into an ocean of noise and ever changing patterns.

Contributing factors probably included Bob Buran’s terrific web site, where we could re-introduce ourselves after 40 years and show current photos and learn "guess who’s coming to dinner." The information allowed the anticipation to build and encouraged people to net-work with old friends. Possibly an equal and even more subtle change was within ourselves. Forty years after individually walking across the stage to the strains of Pomp and Circumstances, we are finally becoming somewhat more comfortable in our own skins and have acknowledged that we are OK and thus can come together as a group.

Originally Karen Hult Scheele gave me a list of 170 "lost" people out of our class of 500. It seemed like way too many, so I really stretched and searched to locate as many of those "lost" as possible. Most were delighted to have been discovered again. Many had never heard about any of the reunions as they had moved and lost contact. I’m delighted to report that many attended the reunion and many others sent in bios. In talking with the lost and found, a common thread appeared. Many people felt that their high school years were uncomfortable. They felt that they weren’t OK, didn’t fit in and felt high school was a difficult experience, best left forgotten. Later, people in the "in crowd" started to admit similar feelings. West offered a great setting for teenagers, probably less threatening and demeaning than many schools, but we were teens and unable to acknowledge that internal secret, that normal teenage twinge of discomfort, the feeling of not quite fitting in, the feeling of being a dork, misfit, geek, black sheep or the other nouns that each normal self-absorbed teen felt in not being adequate. These were feelings never shared with friends but hidden under layers of seeming confidence and Rah Rah. I heard from a "former immature dork" that the weekend was special. Now a confident adult (and outwardly a successful teen) she really enjoyed the reunion for the first time. She was able to visit with terrific and interesting people with whom she shared common roots. We are so fortunate to be old enough to enjoy everyone.

This weekend Sue Huiscamp Wyman provided the 117th new address. That for Dorle Gesenius our exchange student from Germany. Klaus Helms, another German student had also just found her!!!

Well over 125 classmates gathered this weekend. What a great crowd! Perfect reunion sites and terrific weather. We may have permanently "lost" 30 classmates, but we truly have found each other. Call, e-mail, write, visit. Hold those ties and reach out to the others who did not share the magic and encourage them to attend the next reunion.

Remember: Friendship is a golden knot tied by angel’s hands.

In Scouts we always sang: Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. Maize and blue – we have always had the gold .

If you have thoughts -great ones – memorable ones -- or just plain thoughts --send them to bobburan@juno.com Perhaps he will post them. Also send him a few of your best/favorite reunion photos. Bob Buran, 8175 S. Virginia Ste 850-359, Reno, NV 89511. Check out the site. Many photos are already posted.

We all truly belong to a unique group. And each one of us in our own way contributes to what we were – and what we have become.
Go in peace. Feel the great mantle of love emanating from the weekend reunion.


Don Mowry:

Bob,
Just wanted to again thank you for all you did to make the reunion truly
successful. Peggy Ahlgren's post reunion note really put everything in
perspective. What a great weekend for all who were fortunate to attend
and "feel the love."


Mike Harris:

Bob - At Peggy's request, I interviewed the teachers who attended the reunion party on Saturday night. Here are a few tidbits on each of them. As you can tell, I didn't get into too much depth in my interviews - just touched the surface:

Mr. Antonie:
Has been retired for 23 years but still lives in Madison in the same home, across from Midvale School. His passions remains gardening ``and napping in the afternoon.'' He also loves to travel to Canada and other remote areas for fishing trips.

Mr. McCloskey:
Retired in 1987 and remains in Madison. He always was interested in politics, but has become a self-proclaimed ``political activist'' since retirement, working with a retirement organization that gets into lobbying and addressing major issues. He also has remained active in his church as a volunteer and is enjoying life after West High.

Mr. and Mrs. Stevens:
Both have been retired since 1989. Mr. Stevens and the then-Miss Schuete married in 1974 and split their time between a home on the west side of Madison and a time share on Captiva Island in Florida, where they go, strangely enough, every June ``because it's not as crowded.''  Both are avid bridge players and love doing ``everything we couldn't do when we were teaching.''  Mr. Stevens, who you all remember as West's basketball coach, has since been inducted into both the State Basketball Hall of Fame and the Madison Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Hable:
Our former football coach has been traveling as much as possible and recently took all his children and grandchildren - about 25 people in all - to the Bahamas. He's still a Madison resident and an avid Cubs fan (Sorry, Burt!).

Again, Bob, congratulations on a wonderful website that made the whole reunion experience even better than it would have been otherwise. It was nice seeing you again and meeting your family.
Best wishes - Mike Harris


Nancy Raymond:

Hi Bob!
I just wanted to thank you for such a fantastic job with this web site. I think the huge success of the reunion can be attributed greatly to this site!
I had supper Thurs. eve with Linda Billington Grant, Sandy Colvin Wittmayer, Bev Frankenstein Maddrell & Elaine Jacobson Beckman(who did not come to reunion)---all of us who attended agreed that your website was wonderful &
helped so much in getting classmates moving to attend the reunion. We can also credit the site for enabling us to "find" some very dear friends that we had "lost"---namely Mona Stein Hafner, who was unable to attend, & Sue Jackson/Alex Engman, who did come. It was after Sandy found Sue's email
address on site & emailed her that Sue made her decision to come to the reunion. When I found Mona's email address on site, I emailed her &
discovered that tho' she wasn't able to come to the reunion itself, she & her husband were visiting the Madison area early in Aug. & we were able to organize a luncheon get together with Mona, including Linda, who came down
from Oshkosh using a vacation day, Sandy, Lois Joyce Montague, who just by chance was in Wi. rather than Colorado, & myself. It was awesome!!! We all
left with such good feelings after such a truly fantastic reunion---the time had flown but will remain unforgettable!! As a result of all this, we have a vacation trip to Phoenix to visit Mona, with the bunch of us planned in February. We're also planning to visit Sue/Alex in San Francisco in 2003. You wouldn't believe the excitement!!

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to visit with you & your very pretty wife & adorable little boy. I could see you have much joy in your life!

Again, thank you so much for all your efforts! The benefits from it will go on for a long time to come!
Take care & best wishes,
Nancy Raymond Cappel


Chet Rideout:

Bob:
Frank Millet just sent me a photo I had lost long ago of the two of us skate sailing along the Lake Monona shore.  This was in the winter of 1960-61, and we are approaching the current position of the Monona Terrace.



Great reunion, and so great to meet you and others!  Lots of great memories were brought back.


Letters from Frank Eaves to Peggy Ahlgren regarding Jim Loder (written in May 2003):

Hi,
I certainly never meant to make you cry.  The news of Loder hit me very hard, he was a dear friend of ours and that he died so long ago is a real tragedy. I've never been to a reunion, even though my wife and I live in suburban Madison.  It just always seemed that there would be plenty of time to see everyone.  Loder's death proves that there isn't always time. I haven't called Bruce, it seems such an intrusion. Tentatively my wife and I are coming, we had plans to attend a wedding in France. We have canceled those plans. The reality is you can always travel somewhere else, but you cannot always see old friends.
Thank you for your kind words.

Keep hope alive,
Frank

Hi Peggy,
It seem seems so strange to reach back forty years to the point of our last contact. I am writing to you with copies going to Meryl Aronin, Mike Harris and Jim Frank. We were all part of a large group of friends in high school. Jim Loder was an important part of this group, though contact with Loder had not been made in many years. It was great sadness that we learned of his death. Do you possibly know any of the details of his life, perhaps even the location of his two sons? I know that this is only a remote possibility, but we would like very much to tell the sons that we knew their father well and that we loved him.

The four remaining of us remain very close and perhaps some of us will attend the reunion.

Thank you very much for any information that you may have.
Keep hope alive,
Frank Eaves


Libby Barnard Farmer:

Bob and Peggy
This was on our computer when we got home from the reunion ... seemed appropriate after such a wonderful weekend.  I've been drenched in so many emotions the past 4 days .... hard to put into words ... joy, happiness, sadness, nostalgia, wistfulness, contentment ... and on and on.

Thank you for all your hard work.  I wish we/d known each other better in high school, but on the other hand, I feel as though I've known you my whole life..........guess I have! 
Love, Libby

Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 
1. Free your heart from hatred..... 
2. Free your mind from worries..... (easier said than done!)
3. Live simply. 
4. Give more. 
5. Expect less. 

No one can go back and make a brand new start. 

Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. 

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. 

Disappointments are like road bumps, they slow you down a bit but you enjoy the smooth road afterwards. 

Don't stay on the bumps too long. Move on! 

When you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy, because God has thought of something better to give you. 

When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There's a purpose to life's events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard. 

You can't make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth. 

It's better to lose your pride to the one you love, than to lose the one you love because of pride. 

We spend too much time looking for the right person to love or finding fault with those we already love, when instead we should be perfecting the love we give. 

Never abandon an old friend. You will never find one who can take his place. 
Friendship is like wine, it gets better as it grows older.


Ed Gulesserian:

The best part was meeting "old friends" who are now "new friends", somehow the same, yet totally different, all in one. A wonderful collection of good people.

Ed Gulesserian
Senior Managing Director
CB Richard Ellis
(404) 923-1303
egulesserian@cbre.com