In less than 24 hours we’ll be on the road headed for the Bay Area and face time with a serious number of dear friends and former colleagues. This is our first trip together outside Oregon in a couple of years, so it’s a bigger deal than it sounds. It seems like such an adventurous thing to do, which is not a word I would use to describe our circumscribed life of recent months.
I was inspired last fall to suggest to Ellen that it would be cool to organize a reunion of the 20- and 30-somethings who composed the singles group at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley back in the 80s. Ah, yes, those glorious Reagan years. I floated the idea with a few folks by email who, to my delight, responded positively. So on Saturday, about 65 of us mostly 50-somethings will gather at a big home in Piedmont to reconnoiter, reconnect and reminisce about our lives 25 years ago. This was a special group of people with whom we played, prayed, backpacked, skied, worshiped and just hung out together. I have whole albums filled with photos of these friends and our many exploits.
Biographical detail: It was on my 30th birthday that a small group of these friends took me out for a little dinner celebration at the Berkeley Marriott. Working there that evening was this cute cocktail waitress named Ellen Frey, who also attended First Pres (a large congregation). We merely exchanged casual greetings, but somewhere deep in the recesses of my cerebellum, I logged the critical piece of data that this woman was worth a second look. This photo was taken at our wedding reception, so you know how that story turned out.
I’m backing up the First Pres gig with a second, much smaller reunion of editors I worked with at Diagnostic Imaging magazine on Sunday night in San Francisco. This too was a remarkable group of talented people that helped to pioneer a popular form of medical journalism that hadn’t previously existed in specialty medicine. I haven’t seen most of them since I left corporate publishing in ’01.
I’m not usually one for chatty get-togethers, but having been largely deprived of normal, casual conversation for most of last year, I welcome the chance to be around people with whom I share a deep and meaningful, if somewhat time-removed connection. Small talk is big talk when it’s with people about whom you care.