Archives for posts with tag: Friends

I was amused, and slightly annoyed, listening to someone bash Facebook, calling it a complete waste of time. I understand that not everybody likes everything in the modern world, including television, movies, email, computers, smart phones, etc., but there are those of us of all ages who embrace every bit of it. So, this is my rebuttal on Facebook, in no particular order of importance.

1. The photos. It has replaced the brag book for parents and grandparents. When I first became a grandmother, we all carried books of photos in our purses, which quickly became obsolete as the babies grew up so fast. Now, we all see everything in our friends’ family lives. If you don’t want to see it, don’t look, but the rest of us are delighted to share the greatest of happiness with you. And, use the privacy settings if you don’t want everyone in the world to see them.

2. More photos. I love the travel photos, which give me new places to dream about, and the everyday photos, which take me with you. I love the weather photos, the food and coffee photos, and any photo you share! Again, if this isn’t your thing, don’t look. Scroll down for something else.

3. The videos. I love seeing what videos amused you or moved you, or seeing videos of your baby’s first steps. It saves me going to YouTube to search for them myself and I get an inkling of your sense of humor or your compassion or your life.

4. My own group of friends all in one place, sharing together. I am happy to have friends of all ages, from my grandchildren to elderly friends on Facebook. There are friends from various places I have been, friends from previous jobs, friends from school, which was a long time ago, old friends and new friends, friends of my children, and mere acquaintances. I get to choose which ones are there. And, I like that I can sort them out into groups and see only the posts of my family or a certain group or my close friends without having to search the site each time.

5. Private messages. Facebook messages have replaced emails in many cases and I’m for any way we can reach each other.

6. Businesses or groups I “Like.” I’m cautious with this because I don’t want this to end up like my email which is now 90% business ads. I do like to check on a restaurant or store to see what is going on there and Facebook is an easy way to do that.

7. Links to articles. It seems I find more information than ever on very interesting and timely issues due to the links my friends post. Once I read that one, I find more and keep reading on. Sometimes, these articles are linked to sites I have never heard of, so it’s a shortcut for me. If a friend posts it, I am likely to check it out.

8. Sharing important moments. When my son died, I was so touched by the tributes to him on Facebook and the messages to his family from people all over the country. We still keep his page so that his friends can post photos they run across or send a message when they are thinking about him. Facebook also lets people share when their friends are sick or going through rough periods in their life or having a happy moment, such as a wedding or graduation. We are all a community at those times particularly.

9. Deepening friendships. Through Facebook, I have learned so much more about people I knew at work or through my children or hadn’t seen in awhile or just met, or have known my whole life. Through their sharing, I feel much more involved in their lives and understand them much better. Sometimes, I admit, I don’t like what I see so much, but that helps me understand them better.

10. Sharing the news. When something happens in our world, I’m sure to find political comments, quotes, articles, and observations, whether we are discussing gay rights, elections, religion, entertainment news, commentary on television programs or movies or art or sports. I learn so much about you this way. Sometimes we don’t think alike and the discussions get lively, but we are discussing some serious issues and it’s always great to look at all sides of everything.

I understand that younger Facebook users are turned off because their parents and grandparents have taken it over and they want their own space with their own friends. Boy, do I remember that feeling well and I respect it. They have turned to Instagram, which is fun and makes us all art photographers, but is limited in scope as they don’t have to use words very much. They like Twitter, which has its limits also. And there are other sites. I hope that they come back along the way because, until something new comes along, Facebook seems to be the best community for those of us who value relationships and want to stay in touch. If I could be with all these people in person every day. . .well that’s not possible. This is my thank you to Mark Zuckerberg for his enterprise.

Nobody has to join Facebook, but it’s sure fun.

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We make friends throughout our lives, friends from childhood, school, sports, work, volunteer work, church, through our children, through other friends, while traveling, wherever we find them. They are there to share our joys, our triumphs, our ups and our downs. We build our friendships through conversations and shared memories. Some are casual, some are deep. All have a place in our lives and in our hearts.

I keep hearing Dionne Warwick singing in my head, the lyrics repeating themselves over and over. . .

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for

In a week full of personal memories, I think of all the friends who were there for me when I faced the hardest challenges in my life, for all the friends who did things I never would have thought I needed but did, and I’m grateful, feeling blessed. I was thinking that it’s sometimes easier to help strangers, to give a contribution to someone you will never see, than really deal with the heartbreak of someone, family or friend, close to you, known to you.

Earlier this week, I asked my young friend who is facing brain cancer with strength beyond my capability what I could do for her or for her mother. She has moved out of her mother’s apartment into the home of friends, a couple with a young child, who are taking care of her in ways her mother cannot. They are sitting with her 24 hours a day, giving her medicine every two hours for seizures, heart medicines, the husband pounding on her back as the doctors showed him when her breathing is difficult, helping her stay alive until the day she may need hospice. They write songs and sing together, which helps her lungs. I took her some things they needed and watched in awe the gentleness and love in that home. Her mother is helping care for her five year old during the times she is not strong enough to deal with being a mother as she fights for every day, knowing that helps her mother, too. It was total unselfishness on every level.

There are friends in our lives who are sometimes more like family, or like family should be. We can’t all do everything every time because there are other things in our lives, other circumstances, and that doesn’t make us less of a friend. But, let’s hope we all rise to the need of our friends, even when it’s not fun or we don’t have time or it’s not economically practical or makes us way too sad or is frightening to deal with, as often as we can. Because that’s what friends are for.

Here is my friend surrounded by her angels. . .

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Yesterday, I had lunch with some old friends and one of them made the following comment when asked how her husband was…”He’s more himself than ever.” I love that. She said that she thinks we all become more ourselves as we get older.

Think about it. At 67, I certainly know myself better than I did when I was younger, know my strengths and weaknesses, have fewer doubts, have learned from life, have accepted more, and find more joy in everything.

I am definitely more myself than ever these days.

And I take that to mean that there are still a whole lot of experiences out there…and I’m ready.

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Confetti Thoughts is a year old today…that means I figured out how to set this up and started writing a year ago. Some random thoughts…

1. I chose a good name, Confetti Thoughts, because I have been able to write about whatever was on my mind. Some people blog about a single topic, but I didn’t want to be limited.

2. I haven’t messed with the look since I started. Other blogs are much fancier, but that isn’t what this is about and I can just see me doing something crazy and not being able to get out of it. I don’t even remember how I did this look, to tell the truth. I may experiment this year or I may not. I did get an app to transfer photos from my camera to my iPad while traveling so I could post from the road, which was handy.

3. The blogs that I may love the most may never get read, which is interesting. I have one post that has gone around the world and I find that pretty funny. There are others which would fascinate me way more, but it is what it is.

4. I have readers everywhere on the globe. I have no idea how that works, if their computers translate it or they all speak English or what, but it’s pretty amazing to think someone in Korea or Africa or Australia has ever read something I wrote.

5. Most of the comments I get are from friends or on Facebook, but occasionally I hear from a stranger and it’s nice. I also get a little spam from people promising me that I can make money from my blog with their help or things like that.

6. There are billions of bloggers out there and some of them write beautifully, some write from their heart, some are boring, some have pretty strange topics, some have beautiful pictures. I’m just impressed that writers of all ages, from all countries are doing this. I love that people like to write.

7. I love having a place to post some fun photos, which I love to take, and to write about things. I do it for myself because it would be pretty vain of me to think I’m improving the world or something important like that.

8. I avoid politics pretty much because that brings out the craziness in people and I hate finding out that people I have liked so much can get so rabid and full of hate over issues. It’s hard to have a decent discussion these days with people so polarized.

9. I’ve made it a year without writing about my 3 dogs and 2 cats very much and just a little about my 8 grandchildren and my 4 children. Not that they aren’t the most interesting things in my world, but enough is enough.

10. This has been a discipline in that I try to write at least a few times a week. Every day would be too much for people reading unless you’re as entertaining as The Pioneer Woman. Sometimes, while traveling I took a break. Or when I had surgery. I always thought I could write about anything and I seem to find something. This is my 156th post, which seems pretty good, I guess.

Anyway, thanks to my friends who tickle me with their compliments. That’s what friends are for. Thanks to strangers who share the writing and send it around the world. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this out of all there is to read in books, newspapers, internet, whatever media is coming round the bend.

Cheers to year two!

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My family always played games…card games like Gin Rummy, Battle, I Doubt It, Go Fish, and a bunch of others along with any kind of solitaire we could find. We played board games when I was growing up…Clue, Monopoly, checkers, Chinese checkers, and all the other classics. Daddy played with us, but he and his friends played Gin Rummy. And they bet real dollars. My mother played Mah Jongg with four of her friends for 25 years. They met weekly for lunch, Mah Jongg, and whatever they talked about. We all knew the names of the tiles and had a little knowledge of how to play.

When I was a young mother, a bunch of us played. My mother got us started and we played regularly for several years until our kids’ activities and our own got too complicated. I hadn’t thought about it at all until one of my friends said she wanted to play again…it would be good for our brains. So four of us are playing…three from the old group and a novice.

It’s a funny game because so few people know what you’re even talking about. Although it’s actually like rummy, it has its own language, rules and great equipment. We get a kick out of it. We like the sound of the tiles clicking when you “shuffle” them by moving them around the table with both hands. We like the pretty tiles and the names of the suits…Bams, Cracks, Dots, Flowers, Winds, Dragons and Jokers. One of our group said, “I just like to say I’m going to play Mah Jongg.” How exotic.

There is a lot of history in games, whether card or board. Mah Jongg goes back to the ancient Chinese and came to America in the 1920s. It’s identified with Jewish women, who created some of the current rules we play by. Wherever it comes from, it’s fun and it really does make you concentrate and think hard. We haven’t gotten to the point where we play for actually money, as my sister-in-law does in Texas, where her group plays for a nickel a point. Right now we’re just having fun and feeling very proud when we say “Mah Jongg” for a winning hand.

Not much better than spending time with friends, having fun, and feeling a strange link with people who played the game oh so long ago. Makes you smile!

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Living in Oklahoma is not for sissies. True to the song, that wind does come sweepin’ and sometimes it’s a little strong. The beautiful plains probably handle it better than the cities. In Tulsa, we are in the corner of the state called “Green Country” by the tourist bureau. For those who think this state is flat and dry, you haven’t seen all of Oklahoma. We have gorgeous trees and hills in our lovely city.

This week, we had a blast of 70-80 mph winds that swept over our area, swirling and blowing until a large portion of the city was without power and nature had pruned our urban forest. It would break my heart to see the huge trees upended in yards all over the place, but I’ve been through it before and know that when all is cleaned up, we’ll look much the same around here with a few gaps in the sky. We have an abundance of trees. After our major ice storm a few years ago, the city looked like a war zone, but nature picks up and goes again. I’ve also learned from the National Parks, where they let nature take its course.

Getting around town has been slow as you dodge limbs in the streets and wait to go through intersections one at at time while the street lights are out. Poles are broken and leaning and crews are arriving from other states to help! I saw some poles propped up with a smaller pole bound to it.

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If there is anything good about storms like this, it’s the human spirit that shines through. Days without power make us more grateful for what we do have. After writing about Keeping Cool earlier this week, many had to live it in the humid heat following the storm. At least there are places to go with air conditioning and ice. Neighbors and families with power provide meals and cool places to sleep. We know not to open our refrigerators to keep them cold or put perishables in coolers with ice until the stores run out. Most people should have lanterns and flashlights around. Some have generators left over from ice storms.

One of the newest problems is charging all our devices. One of my daughters without power took all of her family’s electronics to her sister who had power to recharge…iPhones, iPads, iPods. We’re kind of an Apple family and need our gadgets to stay in touch.

On the other side, my brother doesn’t have power after three days and needs to be connected for health reasons. I check on him and make sure his phone works so he can get help if needed. I’m sure there are many like him. I have to wind through the back streets to get to him because he’s on a main street blocked by electric company workers trying to get everything going.

Power outages bring out our pioneer spirit, 21st century style. We’re not exactly without resources these days. Neighbors help neighbors move limbs until the hoards of trucks and men with chain saws flood the city. There’s money to be made following a storm.

I’ve been grateful to have power, although I lost my internet and cable for a couple of long periods. Hard to complain. In fact, it makes me laugh to think how deprived we can feel without things that are really luxuries. Reading books is back in style, by lanterns or on tablets, in a storm.

Here’s a sample of some of Tulsa’s damage this week. Multiply this times a bunch and you’ll see what we’re seeing…

Here are two trees uprooted onto the owner’s house…

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A tree broken across a fence…

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A multi-trunked tree uprooted onto the house and new car…

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and debris piled on the curbs for pick up…

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One of the major problems is our glorious oaks that die from the inside and look fine on the outside but are vulnerable to the winds…

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So, we’re picking up and going again. We survive wind, tornadoes (big wind), ice, heat and cold and floods here in Oklahoma. We’re OK.

Reunions of any kind stay with you…at least they should. You’ve just been with people, whether it’s family or classmates or just a couple of friends, who played some part in your past. Memories have been triggered that may have been buried for years. You start remembering the faces of those who didn’t come and those who are gone forever. It’s a fast moving slide show of images in your mind…good, bad, blurred. Some come sharply into focus and you go back in time.

Time moves so fast and everyone is so busy that it’s a jolt to our system to go backwards, to see how we were then vs how we are now. Everyone has a journey, a story that has earned us those lines in our faces, those gray or lost hairs, those limps and afflictions. I say that anyone who reaches my age without some baggage hasn’t had much of a trip.

A reunion has been an upheaval of your ordinary routine. All of a sudden you want to hang on to the faces, the conversations, the warm afterglow of the event. You exchange email addresses, phone numbers, and promise to keep in touch. You exchange photos to keep as memories. And then you go back to whatever you were doing before. The reunion becomes such a sweet memory, one that will fade like all the others into the background of the everyday.

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The difference today after my 50th high school reunion is that we realize our time is shorter and we have more life behind us than ahead of us. Relationships are more precious as we lose more and more of our past ones each year. The good news is that we can hang on to them more easily these days. There are emails, website, SKYPE, Facebook, and phones that are with us at all times. We’ve never been able to stay so connected. We’re retiring and, hopefully, have some time to visit friends or travel together…at least for awhile. I’m connected to my 92 year old Latin teacher by email so there’s hope we can all be functioning that well when/if we reach that age.

The truth is that we are facing a future that really doesn’t look so fun. Our parts are wearing out, all of them. No matter how well we maintain them, there is a built-in obsolescence factor in us. That makes it even more critical to not put off the things we promise ourselves we are going to do. Our bucket list should include staying in contact with our past and our present friends and family as much as we can. No excuses with all the technology we have now and with what promises to come. Even as we lose our abilities, there are means being developed to help us adjust to our new state of life.

We shouldn’t have to be alone as we age. I’m sure we’ve all found that the people we connect to most deeply, the ones who are the greatest comfort, are usually the ones who are our age, who have shared the same years on this planet. We have friends and family who are older or younger, but their experience is not the same as those who lived the same life span as we did. Truthfully, connections are what keep us alive. Healthy people have healthy relationships they value and they connect with everything around them…nature, people, their inner spirit.

You see…reunions of any kind make me wax philosophical (what does that mean anyway?). I’m hoping for the connections to continue, for the party spirit to live on. It’s a damn shame to lose all the vitality of those connections when we don’t have to. No excuses…stay connected.

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In the aftermath of a fun 50th high school reunion weekend, there are lessons to be learned and shared for those who love reunions, those dread them, those who never go to them. The 50th is a unique milestone, one that always seemed, to me at least, an event way off in the distance. Now it’s behind us and I think we all were surprised and warmed by the reality of it. Here are my top 10 thoughts:

One. There is a little sharing of what’s going on with the kids, sharing pictures of the grandkids, but it’s not the main thing people talked about. In fact, it was the least thing talked about. Sorry kids. We are much more interesting people as ourselves than you think. Our peers know this.

Two. There were people who attended that I was afraid would feel alone in the crowd, didn’t know if their friends were attending because I didn’t know them that well in high school. I never saw anyone who stayed alone. Maybe it’s because we all look so different now, but classmates introduced themselves to everyone. They were genuinely interested in meeting them and hearing their stories.

Three. The conversations were on a deeper level. In bars and restaurants after the events, at breakfast, lunch, casual conversations, people were discussing the important things in life. Nothing was judgmental, just sharing stories and understanding what life throws at you. Everyone has a story, an interesting one.

Four. There was no division of groups, cliques. Sure, people sat with their closest friends when they could, but people rarely sat still. Everyone was looking for someone they wanted to see or meet. Everybody was interested in the stories of their classmates.

Five. Nobody cared how you looked then or now. Of course it was sometimes amusing or sad or surprising to see how different or how much the same some were, but everybody understands that it’s a combination of life style, genetics and pure luck that we are here at all. There were a lot of classmates with minor to major disabilities, but that was part of their story. We were celebrating that we’re still standing, we’re still here.

Six. You never know what life is going to bring. At the 50th, many were retiring and diving into new interests or careers. We had lots of authors, photographers, travelers in this new stage. People were moving after lifetimes in one place, leaving their homes and friends, to start new adventures closer to their children and grandchildren or just moving to new places. It’s an ever changing time of life being 67-68 years old.

Seven. People commented that they made new friends. Not because they didn’t like the other in high school, but because they didn’t know them then. They met and found common interests and a common past.

Eight. There are a lot of things buried in our memories that just need a trigger to recover. Our 92 year old Latin teacher came from 4 hours away to inspire us once again. She called all her former students to the front with her and then told us to sing. After 50 or more years, the words, most of them, to Gaudeamus Igitur came from our mouths like we sang them yesterday. Who knew that was in there? In fact, I looked it up today and am really touched by what the song says.

Gaudeamus igitur
Iuvenes dum sumus.
Post iucundam iuventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.

The translation is:
Let us rejoice, therefore,
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troubling old age
The earth will have us.

What a wise teacher and what a gift to us to sing something we learned in our youth that means so much more today.

Also, when the band played the songs of our youth, we knew all the words and our bodies moved the same to the music. Talk about muscle memory! We can still party like it’s 1963. Maybe not as long, but the spirit of our teen years lives on.

Nine. Hugs are universally healing. A weekend of hugs and kisses from those who shared your youth does wonders for your health and attitude. There were lots and lots of hugs.

Ten. A classmate wrote afterwards that he realized how much we all need “love, belonging and connection.” That was what it was all about in the end.

The nicest thing is that we are so connected in this place in time when there is no excuse to lose the glow of the weekend. Our class has a website, a Facebook page, and addresses. There were more people adding contacts to their phones, sharing pictures, writing down information than ever before. Those connections mean even more now because we understand that our time is precious and we want to enrich it with the best people we have encountered in our lives.

If you never attend a reunion, I’m sorry. They only get better with time…

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I graduated from high school 50 years ago. 50 YEARS AGO!!! That’s hard to say, hard to imagine. Really? Where did all that time go? How did it pass so quickly? I was in a great class, a class of about 650 that produced 26 National Merit semi-finalists, had excellent teachers and a whole lot of fun. This week is our reunion, which makes me think about all of our reunions…I’ve been on every committee.

The 10th reunion was in 1973. The committee had to have calling sessions to find everyone, using our high school directory to call parents’ homes, phone directories, information. We sent out newsletters, printed with a fun logo drawn by one of our artist classmates, using the name of the student paper when we were in school. We worked hard to find everyone we could. The excuses for not coming that year were mostly due to lack of funds or having babies, we were in our childbearing years. Actaully, I had just had my third child a few months before – there were many of us with new babies on the committee. We ended up with about 200 attending, including spouses. We had lost some classmates and found out that some of the people we knew really hated high school and never wanted to remember anything. Many came home to see family while they were at the reunion.

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Friday night was the night where you broke the ice, greeted everyone, met their spouses, and caught up on what was going on in their lives. We rocked out to records at the studio where we first took dance lessons. We still knew all the moves.

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We had an Assembly at the school on Saturday. Some of our former teachers attended and we pretty much did a traditional assembly, as I feebly recall.

Saturday night, we dressed to impress and went to the fanciest country club in town. Hairstyles ranged from shags to intricate, high updos. The men had longer hair than when we graduated and mustaches were in. The clothes were loud, the times were fast. We gave awards for who had been married the longest, which went to a classmate who married while we were still in school, most children, most unusual profession (jockey), who traveled the farthest to get there, and best preserved male and female bodies (last time we ever gave that award). We were pretty groovy, dancing to a popular local band, dressed in the latest styles.

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We published a directory after the reunion with all the updated addresses and phone numbers we had found so people could stay in touch.

By our twentieth reunion, we were kind of in a groove. We went through the same steps to find everyone, using printed labels for our mailings. The committee worked long hours, finding we had lost more classmates and couldn’t find others who had moved in the past decade. We were still using our old class directory and the phone to locate everyone. We’d lost more people along the way. The excuses for not coming were jobs, money, small children. We still got about 200 to show up.

The schedule for the 20th was about the same. We were noticing that the girls were becoming women and the guys looked like they were starting to lose their looks, or so we whispered. There were a few new spouses, divorce already beginning to take its toll. The list of deceased was growing. We had an elaborate slide show at our assembly, set to the song “Memories.” Teachers still came to the events and we realized they weren’t as old as they had seemed in high school. We were getting older, heading for middle age. There were those who timidly showed up on Friday, wondering how they’d be received, wondering if they’d know anyone, and left on Saturday feeling part of the group. We started to care less about what had happened in high school, the cliques were beginning to loosen.

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We had a directory and a t-shirt to remember. This time the directory was copies of forms people had sent in with bios and pictures. We were a little more sophisticated these days. Our design was created by one of our classmates who was always an artist, now a professional one.

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By 1993, we were ready for our 30th reunion. We had lost the heart of the reunions, our inspiring leader, and others stepped up to fill his place. The committee meetings were still the most fun, catching up with each other, helping to make the calls to locate classmates. We could still find some through the old class directory, some through calling their friends. We’d lost more in the decade, our list was growing smaller. The excuses for not coming as we approached our 40s were money, children now graduating from school or in school activities, jobs. There were still about 200 there, not even the same 200. We went through the casual evening, the class assembly, the dressy dinner dance. Now people showed up on Friday hoping they’d recognize our rapidly changing faces. We had picture nametags that year. You could see how we looked in high school and look up to see how we looked right then. The women still seemed to be getting better. The men were balding, going gray, more mature, still cute!

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It was fun to see if those class prophecies had come true in any way. Our beauty queens were still beautiful, our jocks were still looking pretty fit, the smartest ones were still smart. But, not everything stays the same, thank goodness. Some of those who had lived too hard were beginning to show it. The guy who got the award at our 10th reunion for cutting the most days of classes our senior year was now president of a bank. One of the smart ones who went to Rice and got an engineering degree had married, divorced, quit big business and gone to Colorado. He was Mayor of Winter Park & loving the mountain life. Never would have dreamed it, but he was happier than ever. And we’d lost more of our favorite classmates along the way. Two of our classmates met for the first time at the reunion and married a year later.

We did another t-shirt and directory, much like the last one. We were beginning to celebrate each other as much as the memories. We were an interesting bunch.

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By the time the 40th reunion rolled around, we were different, the world was much different in 2003 than in 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993. We’d been through Viet Nam, The Beatles, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the changing of the century, and 9/11. We’d battled divorce, moves, heart attacks, cancer, raising children and becoming grandparents. Some of us were caring for our parents. In fact, the excuses for not coming this time were the most varied yet. There were those with young children because they’d started late or were on a second or more marriage. There were college graduations, jobs, kids, illnesses and parents. We had classmates with AIDS. We were in the Sandwich era of our lives, between our children and our parents. Would there ever be a time that was just about us? We still managed to get about 200 to attend.

Technology was changing faster than we could have imagined and we had the internet. We purchased a website and got it up and running. This would be our last time to do the hours of phone calling. Once we got the information on the site, classmates could keep updating it as we went along, adding bios and pictures, doing the work for us. We didn’t have to do a directory and we didn’t do t-shirts. We were moving with the times.

We hadn’t cut away from the tradition of the casual night, the assembly and the dressy night yet. People still came Friday night, worrying if they would recognize or remember anyone. The pictures were on the name tags again. The Assembly was replaced by a tour of the old school, walks down the halls where some of our classmates could still find their pictures celebrating their athletic achievements. People toured the city to see the changes. We had golf for those who wanted it.

On Saturday night, we were still rocking to the band. The songs were the same, oldies now. Classic oldies…just like us. We made new friends with old classmates we hadn’t known then. Two more classmates married after the reunion. We were valuing these people who had shared our youth with us, who they had been and who they had become.

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This time, we produced a DVD that incorporated all the slides and photos from the past with current interviews. We were changing with the times and shaking our heads at the things that had gone by the wayside.

We had so much fun at the 40th and realized how many people we were losing at a faster rate that we decided to have a mini-reunion – a 45th. We did one casual night, thinking it would be mostly for classmates who lived close by. The band was guys our age, playing our music. Amazingly, 75-80 came from all over the country. It was easy and fun. We were still rocking, still here and breathing! Some could still jump, we looked older and wiser.

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The 50th! Good grief! We have lost so many people over the years, close to 100 that we know about, probably more. The 50th is here. We used the website, mail and email to contact people. We’ve added a Facebook page. This reunion is about celebrating us, celebrating that we are still here. We’ll have 175-200 for this one, some who have never been before. We’ll have larger type on the name tags, but no pictures. Everyone wonders if they’ll recognize anyone or remember anyone. We have two teachers who can come…one is 92 and will speak to our group. The other is not that much older than we are – we were her first pupils out of school.

The excuses this time are children and grandchildren, surgeries, illnesses, money, busy retirement schedules, work schedules and even Japanese Parliament not getting out in time. A former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia is coming in from Dubai. The President of our Student Council and our class Vice-President both have Alzheimer’s. One classmate just had back surgery, several with knee and hip surgeries. Some are hobbling to the reunion however they can. Our will is strong, our bodies starting to need replacement parts. We are distinguished, fun-loving, casual, full of life and representing everything that happens to us in a lifetime.

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This time there is nothing to impress anyone. We’re going to be in the heart of all the happening things in Tulsa right now, right in the middle of the Arts District. We’ll meet early at a bar with a patio and then everyone can do the Art Walk, watch fireworks from the baseball stadium, get a fancy meal, enjoy their special group of friends, or tuck in early. Anyway you want it. Saturday night we meet at historic Cain’s Ballroom for barbecue, wearing comfortable shoes and casual clothes. We have t-shirts again and the band is back from the 45th, classmates of ours, to bring back the oldies. Everyone is excited to see whoever comes. We laugh that we’ll have a whole new group of friends by the end of the weekend. Our Facebook page has 70 members now and is lighting up with excitement and memories. We’ll be there with our cell phones and iPads, today’s brag books of pictures of our beloved children and grandchildren. We’ll share experiences, travel stories, memories. We’ll have our cameras! Our aging Eagles are flying in to celebrate!

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I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, Rock On Class of 1963!

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First there were letters, then the telephone to keep us connected to the family and friends we couldn’t see every day. Amazing how many years those worked for us, isn’t it? It’s astonishing to think about what a short time it’s been. Fifteen years ago, I had a mobile phone – I think it was a bag phone that I kept in the car for special use. I had a computer that was mainly for word processing. I had an answering machine. In my grandchildren’s lifetimes, look what has happened…

I can judge the dates by my life, by what i was using when my husband died fifteen years ago. Since that time, we all began using the internet and email. Bag phones became mobile phones became cell phones became smart phones. Chat rooms became My Space and then Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…it goes on and on. Computers morphed into PCs, Macs and then laptops and iPads/tablets. Texting & messaging. All in such a short time.

Technology changes all the time, faster, faster. Who can keep up with the latest. Look at the 3-D copiers that will change medicine and other things in our lives, especially great for us old people who need replacement parts.

Life is all about change. Some of us do it with more ease, but we all have to deal with it. There are those of all ages who escape to the wilderness or into their own world, trying to ignore all that is happening, but it keeps coming.

At my age, or at any age, there are those who embrace it and those who are perplexed by it. I have 90 year old friends on Facebook and young friends who avoid it. I’m one who loves the new technology. I sometimes find it funny that I spend so little time on the phone when I used to spend hours talking with my friends. Actually, I do spend time on the phone. We don’t talk, but we text, read our Facebook pages, look at photos. When I first had grandchildren, we had brag books. Now we keep our photos on our phones & tablets. Always with us.

Traveling with an iPhone and iPad, or whatever you use, is the best. I love the maps, the camera, having the internet at my fingertips, being able to connect with family and friends from wherever I am. So easy to use that my 3 year old granddaughter and a 90 year old friend use them with ease.

Email, the internet, Facebook – all ways that we find and connect with those from our present and our past. Facebook keeps me in touch with friends and relatives from throughout my life. We share jokes, photos, memories. I keep in touch with my children and grandchildren and their friends and know what they are doing in this fast paced world. I don’t have to use SKYPE or FaceTime since all of my family is near, but it’s a treasure for my friends with family spread out. I don’t have to wait for Christmas letters or even daily letters to see what everyone looks like, how their families are growing, what is happening in their lives.

I look back and remember ways that we kept in touch fondly and regret the things that we no longer have or do, but I rejoice in the things we have now. We can bring our phones with us in remote areas and take pictures that can be instantly shared (if we have coverage). We can take pictures and videos on the spot without lugging lots of equipment with us all the time…it’s important to me to capture moments in time to jog my memory later. I know my family and friends in a different way as we share posts, photos, videos, thoughts. Even my fancier camera connects to all the other gadgets I use to communicate.

There’s always nostalgia for simpler times, but there is also joy in embracing the new and what it can bring us. One of my daughters recently got a message on her phone that mystifies and amuses us. We don’t know how it got there, but it appears to be a message from her brother, my son, from the great whereafter. We choose to just embrace the mystery and smile at the thought that maybe he reached across to her, to us. Who knows what the future will bring? Wouldn’t it be interesting if that bridge to the unknown was crossed?

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Technology is moving fast. It’s fun to try to keep up and even more fun to share each others lives. Time is moving fast…too fast. I’m grateful to be able to share each day with family and friends, old and new. I’m grateful for all the technology that makes it so instant. I’m mostly grateful that I have so many to share with.