Celebrating a 50th college reunion with a memorable keepsake
My cell phone might be wanted by the Smithsonian for its display featuring pop culture of the twentieth century. I have a Kindle that I use primarily to play Bee Cells or read a free book.
High tech I am not.
However, when a group of ten from our women’s college gathered to plan our 50th anniversary reunion, no one stepped up to take charge of the memory book we wanted. I knew I wanted no part of “cold-calling” to solicit donations for an endowment fund or scouting venues and menus for a dinner dance, so I said I’d try.
I browsed a few samples of memory books from high schools and our college. I decided to devote an entire page to each alum who responded. The committee created a page asking for basic information, a few highlights of their lives since graduation (i.e. family . . . employment/retirement activities) and their college memories. We requested a photo. If an alum didn’t submit one, I found a picture of her from the ‘60s. I arranged the bios in alphabetical order by putting the maiden names in a star in the upper left or right corner and next to that their current name.
I learned so much as I developed my ideas. I learned how to move documents from email to Pages (Mac’s answer to Office), scan photos sent electronically or cut from the four years of college newspapers I had saved and use Google images to enhance the pages. l used the Internet to research notable births and deaths in 1964, as well as the top movies, books, and television programs. I even looked up the cost of a gallon of gas and a movie ticket! I contrasted changes in the university by researching our freshmen tuition costs with current ones, new programs, and enrollments — which now included MEN!
It was fun to read about some of my classmates’ memories, dances and mixers, musicals, teachers, and some crazy antics of the dorm students that, as a commuter, I hadn’t known about. Although some respondents filled a page, others created a challenge for me to make an interesting page look complete. That’s where I inserted the 1964 data I had found from the Internet or an old photo from the sixties (enhanced with the old-style photo corners!)
Presidential candidate John Kennedy had driven past our school in a motor caravan in 1961; his assassination was obviously the most memorable event of our college years. Right after graduation, the school sponsored a trip to Washington D. C. and the New York World’s Fair. I included a picture of his campaign wave as well as a picture of the wreath with our college name on it that we laid by the eternal flame at his simple grave.
Our last issue of the newspaper had grouped the graduates by majors, so I included those pictures as well. Kudos to the trainers at the Mac store, who helped me learn how to solve my problems and to my significant other, a retired printer, who proofread and helped with some design elements. The end result was so satisfying–after nine months of hard work, I felt like I had given birth!
We were a relatively small school with a graduating class of 98. We honored the ten deceased classmates we knew about with a special page. We were not able to find some alums, and, of course, others chose not to participate; however, we did get solicitations from 45% of the class of 1964!