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Reunions with co-workers

Along with all kinds of groups, co-workers are also a growing kind of reunions. Stands to reason, after all, if you worked together for years (usually a lot longer than four years you shared in high school), you miss ‘em when you don’t see them every day any longer. These even include workers at companies that no longer exist. Universally, people say it’s great to catch up and find out what everyone’s doing. Did you plan your co-worker reunion? If so, we’d love to learn more abut it. Send to editor@reunionsmag.com.

Calling all fruits

All “fruits” were called to return to Brundidge, Alabama. Fruits? What “fruits?” The 900-plus former employees of the Brundidge Fruit of the Loom Shirt Factory and Reigel Gloves were invited to gather for a “talk down memory lane.”

In the late 1960s, the shirt factory employed nearly 700 workers, the largest employer in the county. Of the 700 employees, only about 100 were men. The number of employees fluctuated from time to time, but the plant gave a continuous boost to the local economy and put many meals on tables. The relationship between the town and the textile plant was a win-win situation.

Erma and Joe Green organized the reunion  (Erma organized retirement and holiday parties for 21 years). No invitations were sent because the reunion committee used radio, newspapers and banners strung across Main Street in Brundidge. They were depending on word of mouth. They planned refreshments, photos to look at and a short program with lots of surprises.

Laughter and chatter characterized the first-ever, but not last, Fruit of the Loom employees reunion with 350-plus in attendance. “Fruits” shared memories, caught up on news and even told secrets on each other.

Patsy Goodson said employees and management were a close-knit group. “Older employees really looked after us and were like part of our family,” she said. “We spent every day together and soon learned to talk and work at the same time and make production doing it. So, we knew all about and cared about each other.”
From articles in the Troy Messenger, Troy, Alabama, by Jaine Treadwell.

Number crunchers reunited

People who worked for the accounting firm Rawlinsons in the 1950s and ’60s gathered in Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, England. Many had not seen each other for decades – but the group chatted as if they had never been apart, and shared many fond memories. People were delighted to be able to look through documents and remember the old days.

The company was started in 1941 by Denis Rawlinson, who retired in 1986, died in August 1999 at age 84 and is still fondly remembered by those who worked for him.
From the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Peterborough, England.

Loyalty remembered

This reunion is not about Lincoln National Bank, it’s about people who worked there. More than a decade after the bank ceased to exist, its former employees decided to get together to talk about the good old days. Nearly 200 attended.

Carl Gunkler started as a messenger boy in 1939 and rose to president and CEO. Except for a break for military service during World War II, Gunkler spent his entire 42-year work life at Lincoln.

Gunkler said, “People move around so much because there’s no loyalty from company to employee. That goes the other way too.” Little things, like picnics and Christmas parties Lincoln gave for its employees, made them feel valued.

In the world before television, local sports leagues were a major source of entertainment. A basketball team was formed at Lincoln, and they needed a few more players. Gunkler was hired because he could play basketball. One person remembered employees were hired right out of high school because they were good pitchers or hockey players.
From a story by Linda Lipp in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Children’s Hospital reunion

Artifacts, photographs and memories were shared during a reunion for about 600 patients and staff members of the former Newington Hospital for Crippled Children, in Hartford, Connecticut. Once the region’s premier medical institution for treating children with chronic and crippling ailments, the hospital became Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in 1996. Children were treated for a wide range of illnesses and ailments, including some, such as tuberculosis and polio, that have been all but eradicated.

Publication of The Home for Incurables by Barbara Donahue, a 98-year history of the Newington hospital, triggered an outpouring of memories from thousands who worked or were treated there.

One person said living at the hospital was difficult for young children separated from their families. Siblings weren’t allowed to visit and parents could come only on weekends, which sometimes left kids lonely and afraid. The only pleasure was looking forward to weekend visits. Over the years, the hospital reflected advances in medical technology and care and changing attitudes toward treatment of the disabled and children.
From a story by John M. Moran in the Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut.

Reunion brings plant coworkers together

To former employees of Ozark’s Fasco plant, it had the telltale signs of a large, long-awaited family reunion. Roy Morisset, the driving force behind the reunion, said it made him smile. When he came up with the idea, news spread mostly by word of mouth.

Morisset, who today owns his own business, misses the camaraderie built during 26 years at Fasco. “You work in a factory with hundreds and hundreds of people for that long, and they know you,” he said.

Conversation and reminiscing continued until late afternoon. Resting under a shady pavilion, Roy Morisset was all grins. He and a good friend swapped stories and jokes, happy to be in the company of one another and old friends.

And even as it was winding down, Morisset was already thinking about the next reunion.
From a story by Matt Lemmon in the Harrison Daily Times, Harrison, Arkansas.

Calef’s Country Store reunion

Calef’s Country Store in Barrington, New Hampshire, welcomed former employees and their families to a reunion as part of the store’s year-long 135th anniversary.

The gathering afforded Calef’s management the chance to thank everyone who brought life to the old store. “We may be able to keep the building open,” said owner Cleve Horton, “but it is the employees who lend their spirit to the store.”

Calef’s Country Store opened in 1869 and four subsequent generations of Calefs operated it until the Hortons took over in 1996.
From a story in the Dover Community News, Dover, New Hampshire.

Three-wheeled reunion in Burnsville

Twenty-five years ago, Dave Edmonson, Apple Valley, Minnesota, launched the Freeway, a car that got upwards of 100 miles per gallon, making it much more gas-efficient than the other cars of that era. He designed the car as a project for his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. “The Freeway took off when we had lines for gas in 1979,” Edmonson said. “Everyone else was doing the same thing, so I did a design project on a one-person car.”

Edmonson’s son Chris and Freeway-enthusiast Jim Rostis planned a reunion for car owners and former employees to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the car’s production.

“I’ve done research for more than 15 years trying to track down all 700 [cars].”

The plan was to meet in mid-afternoon after lunch, followed by a road rally through Burnsville followed by a group that will head back to dinner in the park.

In 1982, Dave Edmonson said the shop closed when the economy went sour and gas prices dropped, causing orders for the car to dwindle. The car’s body is fiberglass with a frame of tubular steel. The gas efficiency came from the car’s aerodynamics and light weight – 600-650 pounds without a passenger. The 16-horsepower engine helped produce speeds of up 65 miles per hour.

The car’s two wheels in front were responsible for steering, while the one in back drove the car. There are no gears, just stop and go.
From a story by Lonny Goldsmith in the Brooklyn Center Sun Post, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Bethlehem Steel escorts reminisce

From the 1940s to the 1980s, Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, employed more than 200 escorts, known as elevator girls, who greeted guests visiting Bethlehem Steel.

Fifty former Bethlehem Steel escorts, ages about 40 to 80, gathered at a reunion to reminisce about working for the industrial giant. According to the escorts’ handbook they were 18 years or older, attractive, smart and personable. They were required to look and act uniformly and received detailed instructions about how to wear their clothes, hair, makeup, shoes and accessories. A “well-proportioned figure” was a job requirement and weight was monitored. Waist measurements had to be 10 inches smaller than bust and hip measurements.

Escorts welcomed people into company offices and escorted guests from the lobby to the office they were to visit. They started a conversation to get information about guests to make appropriate introductions.

Once the escort arrived at an office, she was responsible for introducing the guest to the Bethlehem Steel employee. Then she excused herself, went back to the lobby and waited for the next guest.
From a story by Michael P. Buffer in The Express Times, Easton, Pennsylvania.

Diamond Tool reunion

The Diamond Horseshoe and Tool Company of Duluth, Minnesota, opened its doors in 1924 and was shut down by competition almost 70 years later. Former employees say company environment was one-of-a-kind.  The work was hard, 200 degrees. But no matter how strenuous, everybody helped everybody.
From a story by Natasha Hassan on KDLH, Duluth, Minnesota.

Former worker pulls out big guns for plant reunion

The former Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems Plant 2, called “The Gun Plant,” met with the wrecking ball in 2002, after closing in July 2001.

This year, along with sharing memories, organizer, retiree Ferd Hausbeck wanted participants to have the chance to view what helped build the plant’s reputation — its guns. Robert L. Main, a factory retiree, brought his collection of several machine guns and carbines that workers produced at the plant.

The plant manufactured machine guns and carbines for the Allied effort in World War II. Workers supplied thousands of guns to American soldiers. The plant stopped producing munitions in 1945 and workers began making manual steering gears and later power steering gears.

It’s the plant’s guns that bring out the nostalgia. People remembered making those parts. Many who attend reunions are into their late 80s and from the plant’s gun-making days. Contact Ferd Hausbeck at 989-642-5039.
From a story by Jean Spenner in The Saginaw News, Saginaw, Michigan.

Armstrong Tire employees have first reunion

Their memories were locked behind closed, abandoned factory doors in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1987, but a few former Armstrong Tire employees brought them all back to life.

Until ’87, the only “reunions” had been unplanned and unwanted meetings at co-workers’ funerals. “We just simply want to bring everyone together,” organizer Mike Harrell said. “I've heard this many, many times, but it isn't going to happen unless someone puts out an effort.”

The Natchez plant produced its first tire on May 1, 1939 and its 50 millionth tire on Aug. 1, 1968. Both tires were on display at the reunion.

In 1939 there were 400 people on the payroll, which grew to 1,350 by 1968 and went above 1,400. The payroll reached $12,800,000 and in 1968 an average of 18,000 tires a day were produced. Armstrong made a vital contribution to the economy of Natchez.

Employee photos from the building were on display at the reunion and family members of deceased employees were encouraged to attend and bring photos of their relative who worked at Armstrong.

A potluck dinner was served and a $5 per person donation covered expenses.
From a story by Julie Finley in the Natchez Democrat, Natchez, Mississippi.

Crane retirees come back to base

It was a day full of handshakes, pats on the back and a fun time to renew old acquaintances. It was a day for friendly recollection about the “good old days” at what is now known as Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Indiana.

The Burns City Naval Ammunition Depot, as it was first known, has contributed to every major American defensive military initiative since World War II. Peak employment during the Korean War and Vietnam conflicts was about 10,000 workers. Production lines worked three shifts a day, seven days a week.

To most of the more than 300 retirees attending the 39th Homecoming Day, the military base has changed much since its founding in 1941. Returning retirees are forever members of a long-standing family of proud Hoosier workers who helped put this military establishment on the map and made it an important link in the nation’s defense.

Workers said it was “the people” that made the job enjoyable, and seeing their old buddies, friends and former co-workers again made the homecoming event a worthwhile experience. Those who came back were given the opportunity to visit their old work stations and visit with the current workers.
From a story by Nick Schneider in the Linton Daily Citizen, Linton, Indiana.

Trailways Retirees Club Reunion

45 million safe driving miles in one room!
by Beth Gay

Each year on the first Saturday in April, some very special drivers make their way to Lake City, Florida. If you are a passenger in any of their vehicles, you can nap and rest easy along the way, for these are among the safest drivers on Earth. They are active and retired bus drivers going to The Trailways Retirees Club Reunion.

In 2005, about forty drivers, bus company employees and wives and friends attended. Martin Lavin of Davy, Florida, the president of the group said, “Giving an estimate, I’d say there were about 45 million miles of safe driving represented in that room last weekend!”

L.H. “Pat” Patterson of Jacksonville, Florida, drove from April 1953 until June 1987. While driving Trailways buses, he logged two million five hundred thousand safe driving miles – by himself!

Drivers logging a million miles or more during their careers include Milton Alcorn, Keith Skiles and Allen Shiflett, all now of Tallahassee, Florida; Bill Spear of Dawson, Georgia; John Hightower of Bonifay, Florida; and Jim Corn of Jacksonville, Florida.

Acknowledged as the person with the most knowledge of the history of the Trailways Bus Company is Jon Hobijin of Orlando, Florida. Hobijin says, “The story of Tamiami Trailways starts not with buses, nor with potential passengers, but in land development in Florida and centers around Barron G. Collier. Later, as the bus line [took] form, it became the story of three companies until the mid-1970s when it was eventually sold.” For a detailed history of the company, visit Jon’s Trailways History Corner at http://cw42.tripod.com/Jon-4.html.

Trailways has been in existence for almost 70 years. Today it’s a regionally based ground transportation system comprised of privately owned and operated companies (franchises). Primarily serving passengers up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and in the Southeast and Midwest, Trailways offers locally based scheduled services west of the Mississippi in Texas, Montana, California, Washington, Oregon and in British Columbia, Canada.

The Trailways Retirees Club began in 1976 with meetings held in homes at first, then, as the membership grew, in hotels and motels in Tallahassee, Tampa and other cities – changing locations each year.

There are about 100 members of the group. Marty Lavin, who drove for 20 years and has 1,300,000 safe miles in his own logbooks, is president.

Otis Sanders, Tallahassee, Florida, is vice president, and Keith Cruce, Cullman, Alabama, secretary. Cruce was a ticket agent for about ten years, then served as a dispatcher for the remainder of his career. Barbara Lavin, Davy, Florida, is treasurer.

All bus drivers and bus company employees, active or retired, are welcome to join. Contact Marty or Barbara Lavin for information, 954-452-1131 or mlavin80@bellsouth.net

Barbara Lavin said, “As far as we know, there is no other active retirees club for bus employees.” In addition to the annual reunion, regional members meet monthly at breakfast. Members keep loosely in touch via email.

About the author

Beth Gay is the editor of The Family Tree, now the online publication of The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library in Moultrie, Georgia (www.electricscotland.com and then click on Beth's Family Tree). She contributes columns to several Georgia and Florida newspapers. She is Cow Milking Champion of Ocala, Florida, and Elephant Racing Champion of Marion County, Florida.

Life was the stage
by Lee Elliott
 
When I was ready to retire from teaching drama after 30 years, I decided to celebrate the end of my career by holding a reunion for the 500+ students who performed with me. High school drama teachers are accustomed to doing everything themselves. I don’t recommend that for a large reunion. My plan was to renew old friendships the first night and hold a performance the second. We met in the Cafetorium (where our productions were held) which cost nothing because I was still employed there.
  I contacted several students with whom I had stayed in touch, then went to Classmates.com to find others. Invitations were by word-of-mouth and e-mail. A paper invitation would have been helpful, but it’s difficult finding addresses of students who graduated 30 years ago.
  The first night 350 people attended. Students brought their children and parents who worked on productions also came. I put out the old production photo albums with a sign that said “Help Yourself.” Everyone had a great time looking through the albums and choosing favorites to take. We watched production videos and read e-mails from students around the world who were unable to attend. Food donated by local grocery stores included snacks, sodas and cake. Apparently, every time someone had asked how they could help, I said, “Could you please take care of the cake?” We ended up with eight sheet cakes - enough to feed all of Sacramento.
  The second night, 30 former students, now professionals actively earning their living in the theatre, performed. I hired an accompanist and we used an open-mike format. What a wonderful experience it was for my current students to watch mature performers. It was absolutely magical. Everyone agreed this was the kind of reunion they wanted to attend — where they knew and loved the people they had worked with, rather than a class reunion where they knew only a few people. The neatest thing was that I was the only person in the room who knew everyone. We had so much fun, we’re going to do it again in five years. Only next time, I am going to have a reunion committee.
About the author
  Lee Elliott is a free-lance writer who recently retired from teaching drama and creative writing at El Camino High School in Sacramento, California.

Legends of Baseball reunion
by Jeff Wallman
  A special reunion occurs each year in Cooperstown, New York: The Legends of Baseball Reunion. Baseball greats from the past gather in the shadow of the Baseball Hall of Fame. All living Hall-of-Famers are invited; many attend.
  “It’s our own little fraternity,” says Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson. The highlight of the three-day reunion is the induction ceremony, where current members welcome new inductees into “the fraternity.”
For Robinson, the reunion is a chance to see his baseball contemporaries and idols. “It allows us to see players in a different light,” he says. “They joke around and have a great time.” Robinson’s only regret is that he never got autographs from fellow Hall-of-Famers. “Unfortunately, about 30 players have died in recent years.”
  Fittingly, the ceremony is conducted in the sun. First, a handful of visiting dignitaries are introduced, among them the Commissioner of Baseball and the governor of New York. Each crosses the stage to polite applause from thousands of fans.
  Each Hall-of-Famer present is introduced. The announcer notes career highlights of each former player. Fans applaud enthusiastically. Slowly, the stage fills as, one by one, former players are introduced. The great ones mingle quietly with one another while introductions continue. Just like any reunion--any reunion with 10,000 spectators, that is.
  Harmon Killebrew is introduced. He still has a gleam in his eye, and looks much like he did when he played. Now, however, his hair is grey, his pate bald. Yet, he looks like he could hit 573 more home runs. Like many of the Hall-of-Famers, Killebrew has the look of corporate success. During his introduction, Killebrew’s smile grows. He is enjoying himself. “It’s the ultimate experience that can happen to a former ballplayer.”
  When notified of his election to the Hall of Fame, Killebrew was told that his life would change. “It was hard to believe,” the former slugger notes. The event’s magnitude didn’t become apparent until the weekend of his induction, when it finally hit him, “I knew it was significant when I saw the letters H.O.F. after my name.”
  Warren Spahn is introduced. He’s as thin as when he played. He walks a little slower. The screwballer returns to Cooperstown for as many Hall of Fame reunions as possible. For Spahn, reunions are important. “It would be a shame if no one showed up for the new inductees,” he notes. Like many Hall of Famers, Spahn enjoys renewing old acquaintances with his contemporaries. The setting and golf course are two things he enjoys about the event. Plus, Spahn comments wryly, “It’s a good getaway from the August heat in Oklahoma.”
  Spahn waves to the crowd, crosses the stage and sits next to Willie Mays. Mays flashes that famous child-like grin. After a few minutes, Spahn begins to look tired. A few minutes of Mays could always do that to a pitcher.
  Bob Feller stands out. He looks like everyone’s grandfather. He is happy, a little stout, and always smiling. Feller receives a warmer greeting from his peers than other players. Perhaps it is because Feller is unique. Feller is both baseball hero and war hero. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Feller was the top pitcher in the game. Incredibly, in 1941 he led the league in wins, games, games started, innings pitched, strikeouts and shutouts. More incredibly, Feller enlisted immediately and missed all or parts of the next four seasons. Feller earned numerous citations serving aboard the battleship Alabama. To this day he speaks proudly about his ship and shipmates. Feller and his wife also regularly attend his military reunions. Ever the Iowa farm boy, Feller mentions the farmers market. The Hall of Fame ceremony occurs just in time for the blackberry, blueberry and peach harvest. Apparently Cooperstown has to offer than just the Hall of Fame.
  The word that best describes Sandy Koufax is “dignified,” yet even that description is inadequate. Koufax walks perfectly erect and is perfectly dressed, with a strong gaze, both brow and jaw set. He quietly takes his seat. He reminds everyone--all 10,000 of us--not to diminish the event’s integrity.
  Koufax is the man who refused to pitch on Yom Kippur. Nor did he apologize. He also retired early rather than take the pain killers needed to prolong his career. After leaving the game, Koufax didn’t cash in on his celebrity as many others did. The lesson is that you can’t buy class. You either have it or you don’t. Sandy Koufax has it.
  Robert Pinsky, the nation’s poet laureate, idolized Koufax in prose. He still speaks fondly of the occasion when Koufax gave him an autographed baseball. Pinsky’s poem is a timeless tribute to the idea that a hero such as Koufax could even exist, particularly for a young Jewish kid in the1960s. Yet, true to form, Koufax assumes nothing. Rather than just send Pinsky a ball, Koufax asked first. “Yes,” Pinsky emphasizes, “Sandy Koufax actually asked me whether I’d like an autographed baseball.”
  Koufax is no less a hero than Feller. But he is a hero of a different conflict. He fought prejudice, self-medication and over-commercialization--modern conflicts challenging human beings to maintain their dignity in a sea of troubles. Like Feller, Koufax is accorded a special place among baseball’s elite. If Sandy Koufax didn’t exist, we would have made him up, just for inspiration.
  After the visiting Hall of Famers are introduced, new inductees are presented for the first time: Puckett, Winfield, Smith and Mazeroski, all dressed to the nines, families sitting in the first row. This is the moment they’ve all waited for, their first Legends Reunion.
  William Stanley Mazeroski takes the podium. Simply Maz. Second Base. His face and figure are a little rounder than in his playing days, his hair completely white. But then he smiles and everyone sees the Mazeroski of old: the dimpled cheeks, the smiling eyes. Maz is the owner of modest offensive statistics, but his defensive toughness got him to Cooperstown. Some criticized Maz’s election. None, however, are openly critical today. He is welcome.
  The master of the lightning-quick pivot, Maz opens his acceptance speech with “Defense belongs in the Hall of Fame.” The crowd claps wildly. The new inductee pauses, then lifts a hand to his face to brush away a tear. Then the unthinkable happens: Maz breaks down. He is not merely emotional; he is overwhelmed. He cannot continue. Mays says, “I could never knock him off of second base.” The shortest Hall of Fame speech ever. Didn’t even get to the part where he thanks his wife and family.
The moment is the stuff of baseball legend. Thousands of fans erupt simultaneously, wildly, in one loud ovation. Mazeroski cries like a baby. The applause continues. Somebody near me shouts, “Maz, we love you.”
  Maz is another hero. The crowd loves him. His acceptance into baseball’s elite fraternity is a symbol of hope for all the average Joes in the crowd--Joes like you and me who couldn’t fit into a baseball uniform, much less gain admission into the Hall of Fame.
  Maz was not born into the Hall of Fame. He worked his way in. That’s the only way the average Joe could get a ticket to the Legends Reunion. I swallow hard and look around. Everywhere, tears abound, even in the press section. An unbelievable sight. Reporters forget about their jobs for one moment and slip into the role of fans--clapping, shouting, crying fans.
The Legends Reunion. One of my favorite reunion stories.
The Legends Reunion is unique. It shows how we look to the behavior of those who play a game and openly seek out heroes not only in sport, but in life. The Legends Reunion revolves around heroes on the field. Yet, it’s the heroes off the field that make it a memorable occasion.
About the author
Jeff Wallman is publisher of Reunions Magazine and an avid baseball fan.
Adam Rose, editorial assistant, assisted with this story.

Home sweet home
  Each year we hear more about reunions of whole towns and villages, everyone making the effort to go home knowing that everyone they want to see will be there. Lorraine Evert, Executive Vice President of the Parsons (Kansas) Chamber of Commerce, recently reported that the “Black Homecoming” held every three years is right on schedule for July 2-7, 2002. It is a popular opportunity for former Parsons residents of African-American descent to return home and know that their friends and family will make an effort to be there too. Activities from past homecomings include dances, banquets, a talent show, a fashion show and a gospel jamboree. It is evident that distance and time are not obstacles, as people come from all coasts and everywhere in between. Contact Lorraine Evert, 620-421-6500, chamber2@par1.net.
  Then, August 17th-18th the population of Barton, Ohio, will welcome a village reunion of people whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents emigrated to the US from Osturna in present-day Slovakia. About 80% of the folks in Barton (about an hour from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) have Osturna roots; these are a combination of Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn, a fairly small ethnic group from Eastern Europe. This reunion will feature discussions about a DNA genealogy project underway, a master village database being developed and records already transcribed. There also will be horse and wagon tours of Barton. The total community of “Osturna in America” is roughly 1,000. They’ve had a newsletter for over eight years and maintain an extensive website.
  They’re expecting quite a few children of immigrants — in fact, the reunion is close to where most of them still live to encourage attendance. These people are now the “elder circle.” They also hope to have a few Slovaks direct from Osturna, including the priest and mayor. Most of the people who attend will be from all over the US and Canada. For information contact Megan Smolenyak at smolenyak@att.net.

Buffalo bash
A special reunion was held to express the meaningful life-long experiences of employees of National Gypsum Company. National Gypsum was formed in Buffalo, New York, over 75 years ago. Some years ago many employees transferred to a new plant in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Weather in Buffalo in August is traditionally at its best. August dates were chosen to coincide with the Erie County Fair in Fort Erie, Canada, horse racing and the 100th anniversary celebration of the Pan American Exposition. Those in North Carolina who had once resided in Buffalo visited frequently and were more likely to rearrange summer visits to coincide with the BASH. Another consideration was that many Charlotte members are somewhat younger and probably have greater expendable income. Buffalo members stayed home while Charlotte members stayed with relatives and friends.
The get-acquainted event was a picnic with traditional Buffalo offerings. To attendees’ surprise and joy the current President of National Gypsum, a Vice President and a retired Comptroller, flew in from Charlotte; "tangible evidence of the spirit we were celebrating."
The second day’s highlight was a four-hour Lake Erie dinner cruise on Miss Buffalo. A smaller boat was chosen so they could have it all to themselves. The boat was filled to capacity. The third day’s activities were golf and lunch at South Shore Country Club, the scene of many memorable employee golf tournaments.
The last day was a most memorable capstone of the Buffalo Bash, a joint luncheon meeting of the Buffalo and Charlotte clubs, attended by 170 members and guests — well beyond the most optimistic expectations. The mood was joyous, exciting and vibrant for a group of retirees. They read letters from folks who were unable to attend but wanted to send greetings.


These are tips for a company reunion from Buffalo Bash planners.
1. Planners should be computer literate. Without the ability to communicate via email and maintain records, write letters and flyers, we would have been at a loss to manage a gathering this size.
2. Have all charges paid in advance and keep accurate records of who reserved what, with accurate names and addresses for each, including guests.
3. All funds should be directed to one person who accounts for all income and disbursements.
4. At the last possible minute, mail a roster of attendees to everyone registered; include names, address and events registered for. Our attendees overwhelmingly expressed their thanks for letting them know who would be at what events.
5. Name tags are a must. Have them sorted and available at the first event. Place one person in charge of keeping tags in order and distributing them.
6. Give the event lots of publicity. We did constant hype at our meetings and in our newsletters. Talk it up among friends.
7. Select a locale, keeping in mind any memorable significance it may have to the group. Allow time for guests to visit local attractions.
Reported by Don Kent, Matthews NC, president of National Gypsum Trailblazers


Mayberry reunion

Nashville’s Opryland Hotel hosted a special reunion this summer. A Mayberry Cast Reunion Show was a highlight as was Aunt Bee’s Blue Ribbon Dinner hosted by Goober (George Lindsey) for a Q&A and reception where fans could meet the actors.
Thanks to syndication the show, which debuted in 1960, continues to be popular. Asked why Mayberry enjoys such popularity, Howard Morris (who played Ernest T. Bass) responded, "It kinda tells the truth. Where are you going to find two guys in a rocking chair on the porch just talking? There’s a lot of honesty there, and you get down to basic things which we need to do."

Retired Men of the Railway Mail Service
Like the Pony Express and Overland Mail before it, the Railway Mail Service is a remnant of a rapidly changing postal system. Described by Roy L. Weedman as a "calling" rather than a job, many members of the US Postal Inspection Service (the G-men of the mail service) were recruited from Railway Mail Service ranks. Established in 1864 at the close of the Civil War with service from Chicago to Clinton, Iowa and later the same year added service from New York to Washington. These "Marines of the mail service" sorted mail in thousands of careening, swaying, speeding rail cars criss-crossing the US. They packed 38 caliber revolvers and were expected to protect the mail in case of train robberies.

There is a regular reunion in Paducah, Kentucky, where an intrepid group gathers to catch up and rehash their interesting experiences in those exciting days of the Railway Mail Service. Contact Lois Orr Winston, 4587 Clarksville Pike, Nashville TN 37218.

reported by Lois Orr Winston and Roy L. Weedman, Nashville TN

All that jazz
Some things are worth waiting for. Just ask the musicians who make up the Independence Jazz Reunion. Once school buddies, they waited 40 years to realize their dream of reuniting and playing jazz together. Now all in their 60's, they've played with everyone from Glenn Miller and Woody Herman to Duke Ellington and James Taylor. They've toured Europe and performed at Carnegie Hall. And now they've released Rekindling the Dream, their first album together in almost four decades.

"Every time we get together, it's a renewal," said trumpeter and band leader Rick Lundquist. "There's a certain magic in recapturing youthful dreams. It becomes a hand holding with the past and the future , all at once."

"In a way this all seems impossible," said trombonist Bill Harman, who kept his day job as an aeronautical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other band members are Danny D'Imperio, drums, Jeff Haskell, piano, Jay Leonart, bass, and Bob Kindred, saxophone and clarinet.

Independence Jazz Reunion is available for booking and would like to join your reunion. Contact Marilyn Gilbert Artists Management, PO Box 622, Dunkirk NY 14048; 800-788-3441; http://www.ijr.net.

Sisters reunion by the sea
Sisters by the Sea: The Second Annual Sisters International Celebration of Friendship and Family honors the bond between sisters, September 24-26, 1999 in Newport on the Oregon coast.

Researchers call sisters the glue that holds extended families together, sharers of a special language and the most competitive and strongest family relationship. Informally, sisters declare regular phone calls cost-effective psychotherapy.

Refresh and strengthen your sister bond at this weekend event. Activities and speakers will focus on lessons in building better relationships, whether "natural" sisters related by family or "chosen" sisters are best friends, capturing and preserving family history and fostering closer ties between generations. Here's also a chance to whale watch in Yaquina Bay. Attendees can participate in a community service project as a way to model the spirit of sisterhood uniting toward a common cause and making a difference.

Contact Sisters International, Inc at 503-645-8326; corp@sisters-international.org; http://www.sisters-international.org; or PO Box 2188, Portland, Oregon 97208-2188.

Marshall Island memories
They called themselves the Micro-8s in 1969 when they were the eighth group of Peace Corps volunteers to go to Micnonesia, in the western Pacific, of which the Marshall Islands are a part. Now they meet regularly to recall the significant time in their lives from the bond they formed in training to their two years helping change a small one-square mile of the world. They taught English and helped with the islands' main cash crop, coconuts. Organizers of the recent reunion, Steve and Diane Kavalauskas were one of five married couples in the group. Their daughter is on an internship in the Marshall Islands where the whole group hopes to meet for their 40th reunion.

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