Monday, June 10, 2013

Connecting the Dots

For the past couple of weeks I haven't posted a new blog. This is for several reasons, but a major one has occupied most of my time.

I am working on a committee planning my 50th high school reunion, coming up next year. I've made it my personal goal to account for everyone in the class of over 600. (Okay, I know it's never been done, but who's to say it can't be?)

We were at the vanguard of the Baby Boom. We had the largest class to graduate from Alhambra High School in Alhambra, California up to that date. As of last Wednesday, we had verified 248 of the 606 names on the list. In addition, we've identified 72 of our classmates who have died.

We have addresses for all but 17 of the others, and phone numbers for most of those.

I started putting together a spreadsheet to track all the data on April 5. We began with nothing.

The lady at the high school who had kept all the records apparently died a couple of years ago, and no one there knows where the information might be. I had the reunion books from the ten-year (1974) and twenty-year (1984) reunions, which I attended, as well as the thirty-year one (1994) which I did not. In addition, in 1995, the high school put out a master list of all graduates from all classes. (Not everyone was included.) That helped with the last names of some of the women.

So I started with the most recent of these records and worked backwards. Unfortunately, my brother had borrowed all my annuals a few years ago for a project he was working on. Inside my senior one was the graduation program with everyone's full name. About a month after I began the spreadsheet, I visited him and retrieved those. The middle names were a huge help.

Another offer of assistance came from one of our classmates. She'd been part of the committee which had planned a three-class (1963, 1964, 1965) reunion held in 2005. (I also did not attend that one). She'd retained the contact information they used for that event, so about the same time as I recovered my annuals, we received those records in the mail. Unfortunately, quite a large percentage of the information on this list was incorrect.

Larry says I collect people the way others collect stamps. This is true, and I do not let them go easily. I have maintained friendships with many of the 'kids' I grew up with, high school friends, people from every job I've ever held, neighbors from places we've lived, my daughter's friends… You get the picture.

I also have many contacts on Facebook, including quite a few who were in my high school class.

As you may have gathered, I haven't attended many of the reunions of my class, for various reasons. However, a couple of years ago, a high school friend invited me to attend a luncheon at the home of another friend. I went, and had a great time renewing friendships with about eight other gals, several of whom I hadn't seen since graduation.

We had such a good time we decided to hold another mini-reunion last year at our house. This time, several from the first group attended as well as a couple of others. And we all vowed we'd go to the 50th reunion.

Once we started the process, several volunteers came forward to help. A couple of gals have been nothing short of amazing at locating people. They have discovered children, siblings and other relatives who have ultimately led to the person we sought.

Another group has taken the contact information we've recorded and made phone calls personally inviting each class member to attend. They report back what they've learned, and we add that information to the spreadsheet.

Our ace-in-the-hole, however, is a class member who is a private detective. He has found a couple of people who defeated the rest of us. We save our hardest cases for him! And another former Secret Service agent will join us in August to tackle the most difficult cases.

One of the best parts for me personally is getting to know a gal who wasn’t' a friend in school. She was extremely shy and tried to fade into the background. In my case, she succeeded. However when she was contacted, she mentioned she had a lot of database experience. We have shared a major geekathon! She built an Access database from the data on my spreadsheet. She can now run reports so our work is very focused. What a HUGE gift! She will also become our webmaster as soon as we get our website up and operational. But most important to me is the terrific friendship we've formed. I can't wait to see her in person next year!

We also recruited a terrific treasurer and an assistant. They opened an account for the event, and reservations we've received so far have allowed us to secure a wonderful venue at this year's rates! (Since they are currently remodeling, we were informed the prices will be considerably higher next year—but not for us!)

We also have volunteers to make the nametags, prepare the biographical information, and coordinate the memorabilia.

I must admit, I've most enjoyed making phone calls and reconnecting with people I haven't spoken to in years. I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone next year, and the time away from my blog has been more than worth it!


  1. What a big, big job! Wow! And you had surgery in that time period too. Wonder Woman, Lorna!

  2. Talking to old friends has been a BLAST! Oh and the edit from h*** came back, too...

  3. I'm heading home for number 40! But I didn't have to plan it, thank goodness!

  4. i didn't want to plan it, just find everyone. And we're making enormous progress!

  5. My class is also talking about a 50th reunion. We have a Facebook page for our class, and there's another one from the high school alumni association.

    I worked on the 20yr reunion and spent days in the file room. I begged and pleaded and finally got free access. Our Class of '65 has 1200 grads. I think there might be 50 on the facebook page, or they have no interest in a reunion.. Good luck with yours and I hope you have a fantastic turnout.

    1. We also have a FB page and are working on a website.

  6. This sounds like a lot of fun, and it's great that you've decided to organize it. Good luck and have a great time!

  7. Kudos to you, Lorna! You took on a huge job and it sounds like you're enjoying it. I hope you have a great turnout and a grand time at your reunion.
    Marja McGraw (Northview High School, Covina, Class of '64) : )