A panoply of reunion festivities

Sharkey’s is a contender to the throne of spiedie creator.

My sister Leslie decided to attend her ##th reunion from Binghamton (NY) Central High School. If MY class had one last year, I didn’t know about it, AND I’m not sure I would have gone. The last one of mine I went to be more than a decade ago, when the Daughter was very small.

Leslie flew to Albany on a Wednesday night, crashed my choir rehearsal on Thursday, then, on Friday, she drove us to the Parlor City, its old nickname, dropping me off with a high school friend and her husband, while she stayed with a grade school chum of ours.

She picked me up a couple hours later and we attended a mixer at a place called Remlick’s. It was a bit overwhelming; a few dozen people from BCHS I hadn’t seen in decades, without the benefit of name tags. But it was a pleasant time, as the cobwebs of forgotten events began to dissolve.

Sharkey’s is a “contender to the throne of spiedie creator,” and that’s where we went Saturday at lunchtime, running into six of my sister’s classmates.

Leslie had attended to Binghamton University, then called SUNY Binghamton, and it was homecoming weekend. So we went to the campus and listened to three choral groups, each performing a piece my church choir has performed. The Women’s Chorus (Zion’s Walls by Aaron Copland), The Chamber Singers (Sicut cervus desiderat by Palestrina) and Leslie’s old group, the Harpur Chorale (Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal arraigned by Alice Parker).

Onto Thirsty’s, where Leslie sees her old friends Cathy and Bobby and their family, then to a separate room, where a bunch of my First Ward chums were gathering. That was likely the high point, as I recognized several of them without assistance. I got to talk about genealogies, and libraries, and book writing, among the topics.

Round Two of the BCHS reunion was at the Holiday Inn. Now that I had seen many of these folks the day before, AND they had name tags, I was in a much more comfortable situation.

Leslie made the trip specifically for the high school reunion. That it, the First Ward reunion, AND the SUNY-B homecoming were all on the SAME DAY was astonishingly convenient, and wonderful coincidence.

Reunions

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.

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 Farenheit (38 Celsius) for at least 23 days this summer. She was in town visiting her mom and her other relatives for a couple 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. Continue reading “Reunions”

Traveling to Canada?

I was the target market for the Enhanced DMV card, but I declined.

My family will be going to Canada, specifically Ontario, in the summer of 2011 for an international reunion of my wife’s people. This will be the fourth quinquennial event – in 1996, it was in Fargo, ND; in 2001, in Binghamton, NY; and in 2006, in eastern Washington state.

As it turns out, my passport expires about a month before the trip. Initially, I was interested in getting those Enhanced Licenses and Non-Drivers’ IDs for the daughter and me from DMV, which would meet the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative guidelines. Only four U.S. states have actually done this, and, shockingly, given the inertia of Empire State government, New York State is one of them, along with Michigan, Vermont and Washington, all border states with Canada.

There was an article in my local newspaper in early June, indicating that sales of new enhanced driver’s licenses had fallen far below projections. The theory was that the card failed as a result of “the poor economy and reduced travel to other countries.” That’s not why I didn’t get a couple of them.

Rather, there were two other factors, especially the latter:
1) getting the enhanced card would have involved actually going to DMV, whereas renewing my old card, which expired on my last birthday, I processed either by mail or online.
2) The enhanced card is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.

This means no air travel, only entry by car, truck, train, boat, or presumably, on foot. Thus, if we were to fly to Vancouver, British Columbia in the near future, the daughter and I would STILL need our passports. (So would my wife, but hers doesn’t expire for a few years.)

I was the target market for this product, and I declined, not because I’m homebound, but because the product simply proved insufficient for my needs, unfortunately.
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Meanwhile, there is the G-20 meeting going on this week in Toronto. The U.S. President wants the other governments to spend more to stimulate the ecnomy, but at least the G-8 leaders are looking like the Republicans in the U.S. in opposising more spending, the tension over which is currently doing a job on the stock markets.

I’m a big supporter of protest – peaceful protest – but I’m unclear as to the efficacy of breaking building windows and setting at least one police car on fire. Maybe someone can explain it to me.
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HAPPY CANADA DAY!