FB Reunion #1: My friend from my 2nd high school Jason G. I found him quickly on fb because I'd been looking for him on and off for years. I moved to this high school the middle of my Jr. year (I didn't speak to my parents for a good three months) and Jason was one of the first friends I made. My favorite memory of him at that time is that we went to see " Sign o' the Times " together and were both so giddy with anticipation we acted like foolishly tried to keep ourselves from dancing in our seats (HouseQuake!). So, he was just about to have his 40th b-day party--for which he rented out a skating rink and made it an 80's party. He invited me and the family. So we went and had a fantabulous time (even though I discovered that breaking both ankles does not bode well for pivoting around the rink. Here is the roller rink pic:
Facebook Reunion #2: One of my bestest buds in college was a magnificent woman named Laura SW. She is an Army brat and we shared many classes together, Model UN and lots and lots of dancing out at all kinds of joints in Knoxville. I was one of her bridesmaids when she married...I think around 1994 or so...but, I lost her after that. Since then, she and her husband have four children and are currently stationed outside of Louisiana. Last summer, she came to visit some family up my way, so our families met at Centennial Park. It was a brief reunion, but the kids got to play and the women got to hug. We are hoping to visit them this year. At the park:
(from Back in the Day, when we had to sneak off campus to dance...otherwise we had to settle for "Foot Functions"--this is part of what you have to endure when you attend a Southern Baptist College).
Facebook Reunion #3: This one is a doozy. I have two favorite uncles and one of them (Dick E.) is a facebooker in the best way. He also blogs at http://jrellenburg.blogspot.com/. Anywho...I was regularly posting comments on things he would post and I noticed another regular poster named Fred E. He and I began to communicate in Dick's comments section and eventually became fb friends. I had no real idea who he was or how he knew my uncle...I just liked they way he expressed himself and he seemed to have good sense and a good sense of humor. Every June, my family gets together in the Upstate of South Carolina for a family reunion. It is one of my most treasured times of the year. I get to see cousins, grandparents ( I still have 3 living), aunts, uncles, second cousins--lots and lots of people I love and don't get to see enough. Well, this past year we had a new guest. A man named Fred. At the point of being introduced to him, I still had not made the connection. He rarely posts photos of himself on fb and I had no idea of his age. Then, my Uncle explains that this is Fred E. and that he and my grandfather shared the same Great-Grandfather. I was stunned! It was my fb friend Fred and he is in his eighties. It was a complete joy to meet him and his family. This is the whole crazy bunch. I am SO unbelievably fortunate to still have such an intimate relationship with my extended family--such a rarity in these times...
Facebook Reunion #4: This next reunion happened because I lost a dear friend many years ago through my own neglect and life intervening to let me find her again. I first met Melanie S. when I was in college...we went to different colleges, but through a mutual friend (the incomparable John Mosier) met at a party at the "Grey House." It was there I also met my friend "B." B and I have remained in contact--so he doesn't get counted in the reunion stories...but, I can't talk about Mel without mentioning B. So, we were friends almost instantaneously due to our love for Joni Mitchell. We joyfully endured the Blizzard of '93 together (that is a whole 'nother story that may need to remain between the lucky ones that were there--Leo W., Justin S., etc). We remained close even as I moved to New Jersey and Drew University for Grad School. My final year there, I became obsessed with how to live differently--sustainably and with an emphasis on open communication, consensus and honest problem-solving. I visited several intentional communities (both urban and rural) and spent many days at Twin Oaks in VA (http://www.twinoaks.org/). Then, I asked four of my best female friends from around the country if they'd be interested in trying it out in a large house in Knoxville, TN. We moved into the Peachtree house in 1995. This is also a story for another time...but, during the two years we all shared weekly meetings, compost duty and hosted many excellent parties. It didn't end as I had imagined it...I chalk it mostly up to the fact that I was too idealistic (as were we all probably) and had not yet dealt with enough of my baggage from the past, but during that time, Mel began dating B. B and I became life long buds, even after they broke up. I, along with a mid-wife and dula helped give birth to her daughter in a birthing center. It was magical. I lost touch with her shortly after her daughter was born. Me and the kids went to see her and her daughter in Chattanooga for a weekend last summer. We also got to see B, as she and he are back together after many years apart. It was if we had never been apart and I value her friendship today more than ever. Don't have any recent pics...but, this is from her fantastic New Year's Eve party in 1999.
Facebook Reunion #5 and #6: I met Chandra and Johnny in Maryville, TN while they were attending college and I was running a Dismas House (http://www.dismashouse.org/). As with many of my friends...the connection was quick and deep. They married and had a child during that time and then later had more. I lost touch with them when either they moved to NY or I moved to Asheville (timeline is a bit sketchy). Chan is an environmental & community activist and Johnny is a stained glass artist. I found them again on fb and met them both for lunch last fall. As they always were..they are still beautiful people that I'm proud to know. (I don't have a pic to share...forget the camera that day--sometimes I am a spacecase).
Facebook Reunion #7: I first met Judith when she came to the Open Mike I hosted in Knoxville called Women Out Loud. My friend Kari and I did it for over five years almost every week. Some of the nationally known talent to grace our stage was Mindy Smith (http://www.mindysmith.net/index_3.html) and Jodi Manross (both amazingly talented)
Some of our friends are still doing it in Atlanta and Johnson City, TN( http://www.womenoutloudatlanta.com/) . We went through many different venues over the years, Bullfrogs, Bird's Eye View, Patrick Sullivan's, etc), but this one night we were at some place on The Strip in K-town--can't recall the name of the place. However, Judith signed in on the sign-in sheet as #17. This endeared me to her instantly. She is an amazing poet and an even more amazing artist. I lost her around 2001 when I moved to NC. She drove up this past October for my 40th b-day celebration and again--it was as if no time had passed. She is still one of my favorite freaks in the world ( and she knows I mean it in the best possible way...)
Here she is with the gang at my favorite bar (that just closed recently :( Mulligan's Pub on 2nd Ave in Nashvegas). Cheers my love!
Facebook Reunion #8: I met Dianne MA. in college. She was a full-fledge hippie and we shared a distaste for what she called the "Christian Cheerleaders" that would mob you and try to witness to you by encircling you as you were walking to class to ask about your relationship with Jesus. We also loved the same music and both had a heart for those less fortunate than ourselves. I've shared with you before, dear readers, that the last two years I attended college, I lived and managed (as a House Manager) the homeless shelter for families that was run by my college (http://web.cn.edu/ao/SamHouse/SamHouse.htm). Dianne volunteered and hung out with me at the shelter...not as some "mission" to "save" our residents, but simply to get to know them and be a part of our community. We found each other again on fb and discovered that we still love EXACTLY the same music and interests (our main difference: she is a veg and I'm a carnivore). So, last night my oldest son and I went to meet she and her family for dinner at Mimi's Cafe. It was lovely and the boys got on like old pals.
It has been really gratifying to see these old friends again and see how little has changed between us. There are two more people (who have a relatively short drive) that I'd love to see in the coming months to meet my goal of 10 face to face reunions a year...Lynn E and Christi S--I'm lookin' at you ladies...St.Paddy's Day????