Last weekend (July 8-10), we went down to my hometown of Binghamton, NY. The initial motivation was The Olin reunion, my mother-in-law’s people, who can trace their lineage back over 300 years.
But there turned out that there was another event. My friend Carol, who I have known since kindergarten, was in town from Austin, TX, where it has been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) for at least 23 days this summer. She was in town visiting her mom and her other relatives for a couple of weeks. At the same time, my friend Karen in NYC, who I have also known since K, was in town visiting HER mother and other folks.
Karen picked me up where my family was staying, and then to Carol’s mom’s house. Carol’s mom was one of the parents I knew and loved best growing up.
The three of us ended up in a Greek restaurant in nearby Endwell and talked for hours about religion and faith, politics (those things you’re not supposed to talk about unless you’ve known people for five decades), death, media, and other fun subjects. Somehow Karen made it known to the waitress that I had been on JEOPARDY! in 1998 and that she had been in the audience. But except for that, and one obscure mention of a milk truck, it wasn’t a trip down memory lane.
Interesting, though, that, based on Carol’s recommendation, Karen went to a local bookstore and bought a book When All the Men Were Gone: World War II and the Home Front, One Boy’s Journey by Ron Capalaces who grew up in the First Ward of Binghamton, NY, a working-class neighborhood anchored by Clinton Street…attended the Daniel S. Dickinson School, just as we had, only a decade or so earlier. A lot of specific references to places we all knew.
I’m the VP of the local Olin group, an honor for an in-law; apparently, I’m only the second in-law in 75 years to so serve. When I got back from dinner, my friend DeeDee informed me that I had to get to the Olin reunion venue at 10 a.m. the next day, rather than 11 because the president, Ken, had major car trouble. So, with transportation by my friend Jason, I got to the site to hold it. We had a great time at our gathering. In the genealogy report, we discovered that the Olins are related distantly to both Barack Obama and Dick Cheney.
Busy reunion weekend.