EUHS Class of 1971 Planning Meeting
May 28, 2019
Linda Gill’s House, 6:00 pm
Agenda for meeting: (with my post-meeting comments in blue)
As always, Linda was a superb hostess, providing a wonderful location, food and drinks for all. She designed her home for socializing and it worked. Thanks Linda!.
Paula Brown Rindal MT
Gary Shrum TN
Richard Boles AR
Lori Brown Andrews OK
Ronnie Rhodes. Lathrop, Ca
It was pretty noisy with everyone visiting but the four little faces on my phone got a chance to see everyone else and say hi. After a while, I had to hide out in the laundry room just to hear them but it was all good. Everybody looked great!
In the future, we might try a different video chat program that is not Apple dependent and would work off any computer. The audio would be better in that scenario too. And we could get almost an unlimited number connected.
Important to establish some norms:
At the risk of being accused of being too structured but with respect for the time that everyone is giving to be here, I prepared some thoughts to generate ideas and to keep us on track.
These are politics-free zones. Let’s keep dialog focused on our classmates and positive shared time and experiences. We all share a common birth year (within about 18 months) and geography.
The focus is on human to human connection. The goal is to do everything possible that everyone feels included and welcome and that their story matters just as much as anyone else’s story.
From Lord Tyrion Lannister- Game of Thrones- the last episode when discussing the choice for a new ruler:
“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There is nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.” (Cheesy, I know but it seemed to fit and my main reason for watching was for the popular cultural references. Sorry.)
What about our stories? We have a few hundred in our group. Let’s go collect them. I shared with the group my recent experiences visiting with people from my past either through email or phone:
Robert Rodriguez, retired engineer living in Galesburg, IL and committed to his next life as a lay minister with the church.
Susan Anderson, living on a lake in Lynchburg Virginia, who’s had a fascinating story of her life there since the ‘70s. She will be visiting Calif in late July this year.
Julie Martinez Humphries in Manassas VA, retired from civilian career with the Dept of the Navy and a second career in a local hospital admin dept. And enjoying crazy life in the Washington DC orbit
Kent Stone driving Country Music stars on tour,
Julie Noel Oroz retired on the Oregon coast,
Jim Freeburn still in charge of Sustainable Ag with the USDA for all of the western US and the Pacific while living in Southeastern Wyoming with a lot of stories of family and the outdoors.
Gary Shrum living the pastoral life with family in NE Tennessee after an Army and business career.
Cathy Shackleford Rowlett, owner of Antiques by the Water Tower in Exeter and considered a “Rock Star of antique store owners” and
Ed Parraz, retired from School Superintendent career and living in Modesto- immersed in family life.
I’ve also been blessed to visit recently with Class of ‘70, Steve Hoffman (via skype in Tokyo with wife, Kayoko,) where he teaches English to Japanese businessmen after his retirement from Sony, I was thinking about going to the Olympics there next year.
Basketball coach, Les Reese, running an RV parts store for the snowbirds in Yuma, AZ, His memory of our basketball season was impressive. “We should have beat East Bakersfield! Remember when…..”. And I did remember.
Principal Bob Heath, battling leukemia back in his hometown of Modesto, He loves reminiscing about his time in Exeter.
Art teacher and coach John Boydstun, fighting prostate cancer in Los Osos,
Baseball coach and SS teacher Manny Kouklis, still flirting with girls everywhere and enjoying all his grandkids.
Joe and Marian Faria in Fresno, wrestling coach and PE teacher- all family, all the time, and
Class of ‘72 member, Rhonna Schelling retired and enjoying grand parenthood with family in Sandpoint, ID. Rhonna is the one still connected to Chela Andrade now in Rome, Italy. It would be awesome to see both of them in ‘21.
My life has been enriched by all these visits and it makes me motivated to have more. And encourage others to have similar conversations. Everybody has a story that is worth hearing.
Purpose of meeting:
To identify people who have contact information on other classmates. To find everyone and begin process of reaching out.
To engage as many as possible about the plan for the Reunion weekend in 2021
Agenda for night:
Call remote attendees via FaceTime and intro to all present
Review agenda for evening, establishing the tone for the journey
Present possible list of reunion weekend activities for 2021 (below)
Invite Classes of 72 and 70 or not? Invite faculty or not?
The consensus of the group was to include both classes but not spend an inordinate amount of time/effort trying to find them all. Some of them can take on that task. There was also a consensus to invite faculty. This means that we also have to ensure that we are mindful of the venue and its capacity.
Review spreadsheet together, go down each name on the list and assign a person to contact that person and confirm info prior to the next meeting
Discuss idea for preliminary interactions among classmates prior to ‘21
Next steps/meeting? September ‘19? After we’ve had a chance to fill in a few more blanks?
Reunion Weekend Possible Ideas
We have a LOT of time but I thought it would be good to start
Date: Consider Homecoming weekend, Fall 2021 (Probably in late September or early October. Chances of good weather are high. Another option is to align date with the Exeter Fall Festival, always the second Saturday in October. One benefit- the “Exeter Old Timers,” a group currently run by George and Linda McEwen, always serves a lunch to whatever EUHS class is celebrating their 50th Class reunion. So……… they’d feed us on that Saturday. It’s usually a very small group, so we could overwhelm them.
Part of the thinking behind such an early start for planning is that people who are located far away need more time to plan for such events. A 28 month planning window gives us plenty of time to get on people’s calendars.
Meet at School for a guided tour by the Principal or other staff members. EUHS is a completely different campus than the one we attended. New buildings, upgrades, new stadium, etc Would be cool to get a sense of those changes. The current Principal, Bob Mayo, said he’d love to make that happen,.
Meet at new EUHS Alumni Park, north end of old hospital: (photos attached)
To see the bricks with names and possible presentation by EUHS Alumni Association rep, possible light supper on site.
Have short Memorial presentation for all those who have passed. Include information about each person. (We know of 17 thus far) Moment of silence for all. Will need help getting info for each.
Option to attend the Home Football game with seating in a reserved section for the class. Principal Mayo already says he can make that happen,
Meet downtown Exeter for a Guided Mural Tour of the 31 murals near downtown. There is a small group of trained guides who could break us up into small groups and make the rounds. Need to discuss ideas about start of dinner and how to time the tour to so that one could segue into the other. Or plan for a break.
Consider using a blocked off E Street in front of Mixter Park to set up tables as the venue after the tour. Using this location got a pretty nice response. It’s plenty big. The little park is one of the nicest spots in Exeter. It will take an insurance policy and support from City of Exeter. All very doable given enough lead time.
Other option would be to schedule the Memorial Building
Consider preparation of a program with short paragraph on each person summarizing positive aspects of family, occupation, recreational activity and other significant aspects of our last 49 year journeys. Our stories.
Consider additional gatherings by feeder schools at Saturday event: Farmersville, Outside Creek, Sequoia Union and Wilson. And others? Some classes have found this fun.
Ideas for awards or recognitions at dinner event i.e. most grandkids, farthest distance traveled, etc.
We didn’t get very far with any of these ideas because it is too early. The purpose was to throw them out there for consideration with decisions to be made later..
Ideas? (Some at the meeting suggested that we have a church service option. This would take some thinking and planning but again, by starting early, we have time to figure things out. One idea suggested by Linda- have a morning non-denominational service up at the cross on her property. That would be an even better time to have a memorial service for all those who’ve passed.)