Tuesday, October 11, 2016


On a beautiful weekend in September, something magical happened in my life.  I had the privilege and the JOY of co-chairing the 45th reunion (with my bestie, Karen) of my 8th grade Class of 1971.  The weekend was over three years in the making as classmates who went to elementary school together from 1963-1971 were located all over the country.  

It’s safe to say we all left that weekend changed and longing for days gone by when we all lived our youth in the bubble of our tiny town.   

 As one classmate put it, “Our elementary school years were totally innocent.   Adult life and its responsibilities had not yet come calling.  Back then our world consisted of cub scouts, pee wee football, little league, school dances, riding bikes, 3  channel TV, bell bottoms, koolaid, dickies, church fairs, caring teachers and inseparable friends...all tucked into this little town.”  This sentiment is what roared back in this weekend - like traveling back in time - magical.

A local Inn (The Chatfield Hollow Bed and Breakfast located in Killingworth, CT) situated on a 26 acre farm was our headquarters for the weekend.  Coincidentally (or not!) the farm is located right next to the elementary school we all graduated from.  The venue gave us the perfect opportunity to re-connect, share stories, laugh so hard we cried, and truly appreciate the little town we grew up in.  

My co-chair and I were lucky enough to literally live in the Inn with 5 other classmates - we were 3 guys and 4 women - for 3 days.  Holing up with such great people those 3 days added another dimension to the weekend that was both unexpected and a great JOY.  Belly laughing dominated much of the weekend and my housemates were quite instrumental in that arena!  My co-chair and I agreed that 3 days was the longest time we had each stayed in the present moment.  Words can not describe that experience so i will carry on as best I can.  But can you say J-O-Y??

Under a harvest moon, we gathered around a fire on Friday night after a “meet & greet” evening at our local pub.  Friends gathered again at the farm Saturday morning for a 5 mile hike into a beautiful state park located here in our town, as we reminisced childhood times spent in this area's treasure.   

Old friends gathered one last time Saturday evening for cocktails on the patio of the farm's inn, a walk down memory lane to the elementary school, and an amazing farm to table meal planned, prepared and served by the incredible farm staff.  We dined under twinkling lights at candlelit tables dressed with beautiful local flowers. The night ended around the fire pit with gourmet s’mores.  

As the weekend wound to a close, all agreed how lucky we were to have grown up here in a simpler time yet still gather 45 years later to find a common bond and touch our childhood once again. I think we all left wanting a little bit more rather than just wanting to get back to our lives – beyond memorable.

Check out some pix from a weekend that made it to my top 10 list along side marrying my love, meeting my children, running a marathon and climbing Mt. Washington (but not descending - lol!  Descending may have gone on my top 10 WORST list) - to name a few.

Here we are in 1971 and below it, some of us 45 years later!

Best co-chairs EVER!!!!!  If I do say so myself!

Housemates anyone?  The bookends are twins and our housemates and the guy in the middle was our elementary school GYM teacher!  He's a proud guy because these two played football for Brown and Boston College.  

Here, I am with housemate Jimmy who played for the Detroit Tigers AND our Rowing GOLD medalist Jeanne Flanagan from the 1984 Olympics!  Pretty talented bunch, huh????  (not me...THEM.  lol!!!  I don't have a talent...)

Below are housemates, Karen and Jimmy.  (with our very own Cindy Freaking Ella who is obviously having fun!) 

And who else is having fun?

Bookends below are housemates Megan and Carla!  Did I tell you best 7 housemates EVER?  Did I mention top 10 weekend of all time?

Cousins Leanne and Ricky with Megan

Greg and Jeanne our medalist!

Walter, Megan and Walt's wife Cindy!

The boys re-uniting in the first minute!

All the boys!  Greg, Mark, Luke, John, Peter & Clint.  (John is now an official member of the class of 1971 even though he was 1970!)

Oopsy - having too much fun - are we?  Ha!  Hell NO!  Maybe catching too much JOY is more like it!

Us co-chairs toasting to the success of this amazing weekend!!

A taste of our gorgeous flowers - compliments of Karen's brother Craig - only an incredible florist!

Such a beautiful patio!

So, what is Day 20 JOY?  Well definitely writing this blog post, but also reminiscing about not only the amazing weekend but holding on to all the memories we get to keep forever.  Yea - Day 20 JOY is a good one.  And one other thing?

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