Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
4:45PM Friday June 28, 2019- The long-anticipated Fremont High School 50th Reunion for the Class of 1969 is set to begin in an hour or so. A couple of friends from back in the day are coming by the house and we will go downtown together.
The committee has worked for the better part of the past year to organize and make this a fun weekend for all wishing to come back home and reconnect with friends from the past. There are classmates who have remained close and continue to share their grownup lives with their childhood friends. Others simply have gone their separate ways and haven’t had the opportunity or perhaps the desire to keep in touch.
I have one friend who I see rarely but whenever we get together, it’s like we haven’t been apart. We pick right back up where we left off - talking for hours about anything and about nothing. We have had similar life experiences but our lives have also led us on such divergent paths. We are a comfortable old familiar. That old familiar, that I know I can count on. I’m glad she will be there.
10:00 PM Friday June 28, 2019– The first night of the reunion was fun. Seriously I had a good time. I’m a little hoarse from yelling over the other voices yelling over the other voices… it was loud. It was good to see my classmates. I was pleasantly surprised to recognize quite a few while some of these older folks took me several minutes of squinting and thinking to finally make the connection.
(Monday – July 1, 2019) Addendum: Organizers attempted to herd the class members for a picture. As we smooshed together, we had the chance to visit with those most near. Not all classmates could be convinced to join our little mass of humanity, so eventually pictures were taken with those willing to pose. The group photos were shared by Mike Heuring – thank you!
Around 9:00 PM on Friday my two friends and I were ready to call it a night. We said our good-byes to the lingering crowd and went for a quick ride around the lakes. I wanted to show them how extensive the flooding had been in the area and how the southern section of the City had been so devastatingly damaged. It was getting dark and it was hard to see but it was fun. Oddly reminiscent of those hot summer nights when we would get in the car and drive the square or venture out to the lakes to see what was happening.
We joked and laughed – they wondered where they were – they saw a deer – they were amazed at the force of the water that tore down the trees and deposited mounds of silt and sand. We made our way back to my house – we agreed to meet in the morning – coffee and muffins in the shed. It was a good night – I enjoyed visiting with these two old friends and getting reacquainted with some others.
I’m glad so many of us are here to enjoy this milestone together – we survived the 1960’s and now we have survived a good part of our 60’s. One more night to remember our youth and celebrate our longevity.
4:00 PM Saturday Afternoon - June 29, 2019 – My two friends from last night came over this morning for coffee and muffins. We sat and chatted about our families and the classmates we had seen the night before. It was relaxed and easy. Nancy had to return home but I gave her and Jeri a tour of the writing hut/shed and my garden before she left. It was cool in the hut/shed but already miserably hot in the garden. I do need to get out there and weed but am hoping for a cool down to make the task more bearable.
Jeri and I went downtown to pick up sandwiches for lunch and came back to the house to eat and visit a bit more. Jeri returned to her motel to rest and get ready for the next event. I was able to take advantage of having the house to myself, turning down the air and taking a nap before showering and figuring out what to wear.
11:00 PM Saturday June 29, 2019 - The next event was dinner and dancing at the Club. Visiting with people was a bit easier and sitting down with a group allowed us to find out about each other in more detail. I am grateful that I had some relatively quiet time to visit with a few old friends and get a feel for their life experiences and the journey they have taken thus far…
I had made arrangements to deliver books to a couple of girls from the class. It was extremely gracious of them to support my writing efforts, as well as, the effort to fund the special needs trust for my granddaughter Gracyn. It was good to have something to talk to friends about and it prompted them to tell stories about their own family. No one is immune to life’s challenges.
From a different perspective, visiting with fellow classmates who had lost their spouse to death, created a certain heartfelt bond. It felt like a twisted accomplishment we shared. A devastating experience we managed to survive and a continuing journey we were navigating still.
As I scanned the room and watched people chatting, dancing or gathering for pictures, I sensed their individual joy and sadness, sickness and health, success and failure, acceptance and in a few cases lingering resentments, insecurities or boredom. It was intense at times to be bombarded with such a spectrum of emotional vibrations. I found the environment easier to handle when focusing on a conversation between myself and one or two individuals.
There is quite a difference between age 18 and 68 - after only a few hours, my energy levels were depleted. Jeri was ready to retire for the evening and so was I. We visited and laughed on the way home. Jeri said she would return in the morning to finish off the muffins and drink mugs of coffee. We hugged goodnight and off she went to her motel.
It was a relief to take off my bra, put on my jammies, reflect on the time spent with old friends and then begin the process of writing it all down.
Luckily, the reunion committee had sent out a questionnaire to the class and many had returned information and interesting tidbits about their lives. They compiled the information and made a booklet for easy reference.
I just now sat quietly for a bit, looking through the book, enjoying the old photos and learning more about my classmate’s accomplishments, their hopes and dreams concerning the future and reading the words of wisdom shared by this special group of people. I imagine I will refer to this book from time to time as I attempt to recall an individual from the past or I hear of a classmate who has passed.
For most of my adult life Fremont has remained my home. Quite a few of our classmates have passed on and even though we hadn’t kept in touch, I feel their absence. They were a part of a shared youth and now they are no longer with us.
Of those remaining classmates, many had not visited Fremont in years. For a brief weekend, Fremont felt homier and more complete with the Class of 1969 back in town. I have to be honest… It occurred to me that perhaps this would be the last time that I would see many of these dear people… A sad but realistic thought as my older brother passed on a month after celebrating his 50th reunion.
None of us knows what the future holds. I sincerely hope for safe travels to all who ventured near or far to participate in the festivities. Here’s hoping to continued good health and the ability to gather again in 2024 to celebrate the 55th Class Reunion.