I belong to a group of friends from college which meets every year for a weekend gathering. We all attended (or married someone who attended) Western New England College, and though the school recently became a university (WENU), we have NO plans to change our long-standing name for the event, the WNEC ARIA. Our school was WNEC, and the jokes went like this: “We’re Not Exactly College…We’re Not Even Close” and in winter, “We Never Ever Close!” Those first two truly are jokes, as the school has a pretty good reputation, and provided me with a fine, accredited degree in mechanical engineering.
This July we will gather for our 35th Annual WNEC ARIA, and I have just begun working on a commemorative video for the event. I did this once before, for the 25th, and every couple of years since then we play that video and enjoy the memories. As you can imagine, over the course of 35 years we have changed a bit. Most of us have married, some have divorced, and let’s not forget to talk about the children… The first was born in 1993, and has just graduated from college. She is older than I was in 1981, when the first ARIA gathering was hosted. Five kids are currently in college, three are graduating high school this year, and the two youngest (including mine) will be high school juniors next year. I’m pleased to say that more than a couple of these kids will be pursuing degrees in STEM. In a few more years, it is likely that they will all be too busy to join the “old folks” anymore, but they will always be welcomed.
Rather than just cover the 10 years since the last video, I really want to cover the whole 35, so I will be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks reviewing old photos and clever invitations, and scanning some that have been stashed away for years in boxes. I am reviewing my original video because I don’t want to repeat too many pictures, but my primary goal is to create a timeline of each person’s face over the years, and some of the best shots were obviously included in the first one. I’ve got a couple of songs in mind so far (Talking Heads and David Bowie). I’ve also got a lovely collection of rear-end photos (many moons) and another collection of people sleeping while life goes on around them. For your viewing pleasure, here is me from 1989… Yes, that is a lawn chair in a living room. Kids today have no idea how easy they have it with their fancy-schmancy inflatable mattresses! HA!