By Evan O'Brien
EDITOR'S NOTE: As part of Whittier School's class of 1969 reunion on Saturday, Oct.16, alumni submitted memories and photos to Wednesday Journal. If you are a member of Whittier School's class of 1969 and would like to submit your memories and photos, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's funny how memory works. We tend to magnify and pick at the small disappointments, hurts and slights. I think that's why some folks (myself included) were reluctant to reopen that chapter in our lives and attend our 41st Whittier grade school reunion.
Yet I'm so glad I did and am surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. I've lived away from Chicago for 24 years now, although I do return home often to visit family in Oak Park. So seeing the old school and homes wasn't a surprise – what was really a pleasure was seeing people from my childhood. I was flabbergasted when a classmate told me of her memories of my soccer kick prowess – I never, ever thought of myself as an athlete!
I'm also impressed with how warm and friendly the boys were; when we were in junior high they were usually classified into ignorable annoyances or unavailable crushes who you could never work up the nerve to talk to. Thankfully we're all past that stage! Above all, that's the lesson I learned from this experience –it's time to let go of any issues with the past because life is too short to hold onto bad memories and eighth grade stereotypes.
Seeing our teachers and principal was a wonderful experience. I was delighted that they attended and was happily surprised that they now seem like peers with great stories to share, rather than the authority figures of our childhood. I am disappointed that I didn't get to see my closest childhood girlfriends (you know who you are!), but was happy to read about their lives in the memory book. Thanks to the wonders of technology and the hard work of Eileen Benson Immerman, we will have a beautiful keepsake to treasure from this weekend. Additional thanks to all the hard working committee who brought us this great experience – Karen Doty, Bob Johnson, and many others! Your energy, creativity, hard work, and warm hearts are greatly appreciated!
Marya Brezon Margolis
Class of 1969, Whittier School