For me, reconnecting is an informal process. I attended one high school reunion and felt disconnected from my classmates, most of whom still lived in the suburbs of Detroit. The University of Michigan is so big that when my husband and I attended our 50th reunion, we only saw one person I knew, both from high school and college. Efforts to track down college friends, even with Facebook and the Internet, yielded no results or, even worse, a couple of obituaries. So, my reconnecting stories begin with ways to rekindle old ties that have fallen away over the years.
My reconnecting stories begin with ways to rekindle old ties that have fallen away over the years.
I wrote about the communities that meant so much to me in A Lifetime of Tribes. I have to credit Zoom for rekindling the connection of our Chavurah (from the Hebrew root word for comrades), a Jewish friendship group we joined in 1974 to celebrate holidays and to provide religious education for our children in our homes. Our favorite activity, aside from eating, was constructing and decorating a sukkah. We did for 40 years until our children declared it was no longer safe for us to climb ladders. After that, we kept in casual contact. Two of us moved to condos, our beloved Henry died, some became snowbirds and were not around as much. Then, the pandemic hit.
Margaret decided the women, who were the main glue holding the group together, should have a weekly zoom session. At first, I wondered what we would talk about. We had drifted apart and I kept in closer contact with some than others. And yet, this weekly meeting became a way for us to keep in touch and recapture the ties that connected us when our group was more active and met several times a year. Not to be undone, Margaret’s husband, Paul, started a group for the men. There were just four of them able to participate and my husband was skeptical that they would find much to discuss. Amazingly, they not only reconnected but also got to know one another on a much deeper level.
Zoom has also helped my friends who have retired from Cherry Preschool to stay in touch. In 2016, the founding staff of the school gathered at my house in advance of the 25th anniversary celebration. There was so much affection and close connection between us that, even as most retired, we tried to meet occasionally for lunch. A few of us had been zooming, and recently most of the larger group of retirees met virtually. It was pure delight to catch up on the lives of these women who meant so much to me as we worked together at Cherry Preschool.
At the same time that the founding staff met, I hosted another gathering for the founding board of the preschool. Some of us had stayed connected because they joined the staff of the preschool. Others had moved on after their children graduated. But coming together after 25 years, it felt like no time had passed. We were forever bonded by the experience of creating a school from scratch in just nine months. Ironically, three of them now live in the condo we moved to in May, and we were able to get together (masked and socially distanced) in the summer and fall on the building’s sun deck. I am looking forward to more connection once we are vaccinated and the weather warms up.
This week’s prompt asks us, “who have you reconnected with? How did you find them?” My last connection illustrates the strange role fate plays in reconnecting. Once I retired and started blogging, I was feeling lost. I don’t remember how I happened upon a cartoon drawn by someone I casually knew when our kids were growing up. Probably Facebook. We belonged to the same synagogue many years ago but our children went to different schools until high school. Ironically, my daughter went to a formal dance with her son. I reached out to her to ask if I could use her cartoon for one of my posts. We met for coffee and talked endlessly about retirement. Marcia became my guide, collaborator, and good friend. We wondered how we had managed to miss making this connection earlier in our lives. But what really matters is that we are not too old to reconnect now.
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.