Friday, July 26, 2013

The Non-reunion Reunion

I can't remember how much I've written on this blog about my school days. I know I made a post after our high school class' 40th reunion in 2010, the first of the reunions I went to. And either in that post, or perhaps in another one, I talked about how my wife's class of 61 people had so much more of a bond than our class of 725. And I think I explained that this was because a class that small had many more shared experiences to relive than our larger class did. We went to two different junior high schools and about eight different elementary schools before coming together at Cranston High School East.

So I decided to do something about it. After consulting with a couple of classmates to see if they had a Facebook page for our class, and if not if they thought it would be a good idea. They said no and yes, go for it. Not being sure what to do, I looked into it and discovered that you don't actually create a page: you create a group on Facebook. And it is laughably easy to do it. An icon on the main page allows you to click and create a group. Then you enter a description, choose a favicon, do a very few other things, and presto, the group is created.

So I did that about three weeks ago. I had to add a few people to begin the group. Then I informed them and asked them to find class members. They did so, shouting from the rafters, and our group grew. Those that they invited then invited others. We are now up to 96 members. One is a duplicate, and one is a "friend" of the class, a girl I went to elementary school with who would have graduated with us if she hadn't moved away.

So that's 94 unique members of the class. That's almost 13% of those shown in the yearbook and 14% of those who are listed as graduating with us. That's not too bad for three weeks. It's probably close to everyone who is on Facebook. I know of two other people from the class who are Facebook members. I've invited them to the group but they appear not to be active on FB.

Last Sunday we had our first "event"—an oldies party, where we played a game with the lyrics of the songs we grew up with. Not too many attended, but we had fun. I have a couple of ideas for other events. After that I'll be out of ideas and it will be up to others to think of something.

A few days into the group's existence it was like a free-for-all one evening. A number of people were posting, threads were moving fast, things were posted in the wrong place. I received a concern that the group was drowning in all the posts. And at that point we had less than 50 members. But I've seen this kind of thing before, where a new group becomes overly exuberant but then settles down. And that's exactly what has happened. Every day we have people making a few posts and comments. We have memories being shared. More than that, our current lives are being shared. Slowly but surely we are learning something about each other. Of the 94 members in the group, I personally knew only 27, and about five of those I barely knew. A couple of others say they remember me.

So, to mangle the lyrics of that old Bee Gees song:

I started the group
that started the whole class talking.

Okay, an exaggeration on "whole class," but that's basically it. And it feels good.