Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Reunions-More than Just Fun!

Many people make their way back to their hometown of Sault Ste. Marie in the summer time.  Class reunions, family reunions or just reconnecting with family and friends are common every weekend in our area.  Turns out these reunions may be good for our health as well.  More about that later.

Sault Area High School Class of 1968 recently celebrated their 45th Class Reunion.  That was my class.

There were 218 students in the class of 1968.  We graduated June 6, 1968 in Pullar Stadium-the first 
class not to walk across the stage of Richie Auditorium in the old high school on Spruce Street.  Graduation was moved to the Pullar Stadium that year because of the large size of our class.  

The spring of ’68 was a tremulous time.  Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in April.  We marched into the Pullar that June night under the shadow of the death of Robert Kennedy.  Kennedy had been gunned down the day before but succumbed to his injuries that next day in June.

After that day in 1968, our class spread out across the country.  Maybe that’s why reunions have been so important to a large number of my classmates.  Several classmates have worked faithfully to ensure that we have had reunions every five years since 1968.

At our reunion the weekend of June 28 – 29, I surveyed the classmates that we have contact with.  About 117 still live in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.  Another 7 live in other parts of the UP.  The Lower Peninsula is home to 34 classmates.  Ten classmates are living in Ontario. The remaining students are spread across 28 different states from Alaska to Florida. 

The class of 1968  had to go far and wide to make their way in this world.   But a large number of them still come back to the Soo every five years to reconnect with those from their school days.
What is the draw and pull that brings so many people back to town?

It turns out nostalgia is a universal emotion and even more than that, it is good for you physically and emotionally.  So all this reconnecting with your past is actually beneficial to your health.

Researchers at the University of Southampton, England have found that nostalgia’s benefits are many.  Nostalgia can counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety.   It can make you more generous and tolerant to strangers.  

According to the New York Times recent article What is Nostalgia Good For?,  nostalgia can make “couples feel closer and look happier when they are sharing nostalgic memories.  On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.”

I don’t think any members of the Sault High Class of 1968 were thinking about research when they attended the reunion.   

                             Here are classmates from the Soo, lower Michigan, Utah and Minnesota

                                                    Loren & Marilyn from Texas

                              Canada, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all represented here

These 1968 alum are enjoying reconnecting & sharing stories

No comments: