Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Reunion In Columbia Has Me Thinking....

5 years ago some old college friends of Lee's decided to try to get together and hold a reunion in Columbia, Missouri, where they all went to college back in the 60's and 70's. A few people took charge and started searching for everyone, using email, google, and of course, Facebook. Eventually over 50 people were found and contacted, friends, spouses, friends of friends. Over 40 people attended the actual reunion.

This first reunion was wildly successful, so much so that the organizers decided that a repeat was in order. Again many people were contacted and a surprising number showed up. It was a smaller group than last time, which made it a bit more intimate, with more time to visit with individual friends.

For Lee this was a chance to renew friendships that had been neglected for many years. He is now back in contact with people with which he was once very close. Despite all the years and the changes they have brought, they have found that they are still have things in common and enjoy each other's company.

For me of course, these reunions have been a different experience. Only a very few of the people that have attended are actually someone that I used to be friends with too. By the time I met Lee we were out of college and getting ready to leave Columbia so many of his old friends had already left.

It has been fun meeting people that I had only heard about in stories, or met only briefly. For me most of them are actually new friends that I have only started to get to know. The ones that I knew in that past I actually knew in a different context even if I initially met them through Lee.

This time especially it has made me think about my old college friends, the group of hippies that lived on Wilkes Boulevard, and later on a "commune" east of town. Although I have found a few of them on Facebook in the past couple of years, many of them are lost to me.

I am mainly curious about them and what they ended up doing with their lives. Are they still the artists, writers, builders, growers, dreamers and adventurers that they once were? Do they have children? Grandchildren? Partners? Are they happy? Are they alive? Would we still be friends, or was that long ago friendship built on circumstances instead of personal bonds? I just don't know.

The funny thing is that if I really wanted to find them I bet I could. Probably some of the friends I still know in that group would know the whereabouts of the ones I've lost. I could ask them, but I don't. I think I'm a little afraid to find out that I no longer have anything in common with them except our pasts. Maybe I'd rather remember them the way they once were instead of finding out who they have become.

Maybe, I'm not sure if that is really true. If one of those old friends decided to organize a Wilkes Boulevard or Stoneybrook Farm reunion would I attend? Of course I would!

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