November 4, 2011

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Class reunions are memorable and blessed events

Shirley Vogler MeisterAs many readers know, attending most reunions are wonderful, whether family, business, school or Church-related.

I say “many” because of others I know who have regularly and purposefully skipped such events.

Recently, my husband, Paul, and I happily attended his 60th class reunion since he graduated from Cathedral High School in our hometown of Belleville, Ill.

The Class of 1951 began its celebration with a Friday night men’s social at what once was called The Dutch Girl, but is now known as Fischer’s in Belleville.

I attended the next evening’s party with Paul, his fellow graduates and their wives. The event began with a 4 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Belleville.

The celebrant was Bishop Stanley Schlarmann, who enrolled at St. Henry’s Seminary after the Cathedral Grade School eighth-grade class graduation. Most male grade school graduates went on to Cathedral High School.

In 1951, there were 62 graduates. Twenty-eight of them are now deceased. Only 19 of the men could attend the recent reunion, and most of them brought their spouses. Others were unable to be there for health reasons or, like a curmudgeon, just didn’t want to go to the party.

In some circumstances, there are even fellow students like one in Paul’s high school class who said, “I didn’t like anyone in school while I was there. Why would I go back?”

Most of us know that planning a school reunion is not an easy task. So those who do that should be gratefully congratulated.

My husband is a photographer, and began studying photography at Cathedral High School. He has photographed many reunions through the years in both Indianapolis and Belleville.

Of course, he has special equipment that allowed him to get his former classmates’ group picture. To be in the photo himself, he asks someone else to push the camera button at the appropriate time.

This photo was taken in an outdoor setting, and I was asked to be the button-pusher.

Afterward, Paul asked me to carry a tripod back into the dining room and I did.

One of the wives ran up to me and asked, “Why are you doing that? One of these strong men should be carrying that inside.”

I told her that it wasn’t heavy and let her lift the tripod to see for herself, but that didn’t matter. She still scolded the men. I appreciated her concern, but the tripod is made of carbon fiber, which is very lightweight.

My hope in sharing this column with readers is that those who have not yet gone to a class reunion should accept the invitation the next time around.

Every reunion that Paul or I have attended, including my own Academy of Notre Dame reunions, have been wonderful, memorable and blessed experiences.

I wish the same for you at this special time to catch up on news with old friends.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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