Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A blast from the past!

That's what we experienced over the Canadian Civic Holiday long weekend. Two of my sons travelled to Windsor, ON as well to visit with family but the main purpose of the trip was a reunion of DH's and my high school band, The Forster Band . The reunion included those who had played in the band anytime during the years 1960 - 1980. We've kept in touch with a number of the band members over the years and several travelled to Ottawa for our wedding 10 yrs ago but there are some that I haven't seen since graduating from high school  37 yrs ago. Please bear with me, but I wanted to post this with some pictures for the benefit of those family members and friends who read my blog as well. For those who are utterly bored, scroll on down. There should be one stitching pic near the end of this post!

The weekend started off with a meet and greet on the Friday evening at our local watering hole, The Dominion House tavern. This was a favourite spot for gathering while we were in college, and university and is the oldest continually run tavern in the Windsor - Detroit border region. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Windsor and its weather, I think it's one of the hot spots in Canada. We're talking moist heat, not dry, and the humidity levels are unreal. I'd forgotten just how bad that humidity can be until we stepped outside on Friday afternoon. The temperature was 36 C ( 97 F) with a humidex that made it feel like 46 C (115 F) !
It's difficult to breathe under those conditions. Figure in that the tavern we all met at had only one lone window air conditioner that was trying its best to handle the heat with more than 100 of us inside. You get the picture, we were one hot, sticky bunch of people! Did we care?..... No!!
We had the most fantastic time reacquainting ourselves with one another. The beer flowed freely (yes, we had designated drivers!) and maybe that's another reason why there was only one air conditioner. Thank goodness, there was also an outdoor patio although it wasn't all that much cooler outside.

We all wore name tags and there were lots of us whose eyes dropped to the chest first  to check out the name before we said hello. After all we didn't want to open mouth & insert foot! Thank goodness I wasn't the only one who was much a little larger! A lot more gray hair around too! Some even dared to wear their red blazers, part of our former band uniform. We were known about town as the Travelling Redcoats. During the years 1967 - 1972, the concert band travelled to Expo '67 in Montreal, Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan and in 1972 to Windsor, England to perform at the Windsor Music Festival.

Lots of this going on!

Ray, showing off the signature blazer

Bob and me chatting up fellow band members

After a very late night and now knowing which face went with which name, we all headed home to grab some shuteye before the band practice on Saturday afternoon.

Here it is, Forster Secondary School or Forster Collegiate Institute as it was known when I attended.How many times did I walk up and down those steps?  God only knows! 
Before the band practice took place in the old Music Room we were free to wander the halls of the school, reminiscing. For most of us though, every spare minute of the day was spent in the music room and that's where we all seemed to be drawn to. The practice was to begin at 1:30 and we were all in there, instruments in hand and ready to go shortly after 1:00pm . Now I was a little nervous about all this. After all it had been 37 yrs or more since many of us had taken up our instruments. I have my own flute and have been playing some over the years but not much recently. For those who didn't own their own, instruments were provided with a small rental charge. Our conducter, Ernie Gerenda, travelled all the way from Mexico where he has now retired to be with us for this special occasion.
What a hoot!! As you'll see from the following pictures, laughter was the order of the day. I gotta tell you though, we sounded pretty damn good!! Even Ernie was surprised and said that he figured it would only take a couple more rehearsals and we'd be good to go again.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ernie directing the group

Yours truly on the left, playing my pop bottle!

That's my DH on the left!
My hubbie has gone on to make a career in music as an organist & choir director.

My BIL on the right. He continues to play percussion in a number of jazz groups.

Bob getting ratted out for playing the wrong note. Some things never change!

How you doing with those bifocals fellas?

Thanks, we had a blast!

The practice overwith, we all returned home for a quick catnap before the evening festivities. The organizing committee had arranged a lovely dinner for us. They combined it with an evening of reminiscing through slideshows of pictures from our Japan and England trips along with a video of the afternoon's practice which had been put together so we could hear ourselves. The rest of the evening was spent saying goodbyes and exchanging contact info.

Several of the group from our grad year

My forner highschool sweetheart Peter, myself and Bob sporting the famous redcoat

All of us who attended the same grade school, Prince of Wales

Myself, Ernie, his wife Freda and Bob
Freda was like a den mother to us on the band trips

The weekend was over far too soon. It's not likely to happen again. Sure there will be those of us who still see each other in the coming years but it is unlikely that so many will ever gather again. There were 200 of us at the dinner, coming from as far away as Mexico and Hawaii.
Many have gone on to careers in music either playing or teaching . There are those of us who are doctors, health care workers,teachers, sound recording engineers, land developers, social workers and auto workers . None of us however will ever forget the lessons we learned under Ernie's direction.....  those of teamwork and that hard work and diligence pay off! Thank you to all involved for the remembrance of a lifetime.

Now if you've lasted this long, it's on to some stitching. It's unfortunate but my stitching has taken a backseat lately. Our summer has been a busy one with very little time to myself. Now that our travelling is over with I should be able to get going on some things again. However my sister from Michigan is arriving this Sunday for a visit so I'd better be quick!
Some of what I'm working on is for an exchange so I'm unable to show it at this time. I signed up for the Rotating Designer exchange . This is my first  and I'm looking forward to meeting some new bloggers and stitchers thanks to it.

I've finally found the red floss I've been looking for to use on the Canadian flag on my version of LHN America. I paid a visit to Thread & Eye needlework store on my way home from Windsor. It's a convenient stop right off of the 401 highway in London. There I picked up CC Ribbon Red which is just what I'd been looking for. Now I'm finally getting back to stitching on this piece. I'm still not sure yet what colour the roof of the house will be. I'm trying out blue at the moment.

I've also got an updated picture of LHN Acorn Hill. Not a heck of a lot done since the last photo but like I said, it's been a busy summer.

I want to thank each and every one of your who left concerned comments regarding the train derailment my son was involved in. All is well, he returned home by train once more following the long weekend. Unfortunately the young man who was hit by the train died of his injuries this past Thursday. He was only a year younger than Chris. My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to his family in their time of grief.
I also want to apologize for not responding to some of your comments. It seems that while I'm away and using my mobile browser I can receive emails but I'm not always able to send outgoing mail. I'm not quite sure what's with that!
If you've survived this lengthy post, well done! Hope you are enjoying a good week and I'll touch base with you again soon.


  1. Lynn --
    It looks like a wonderful reunion/get together! What fun and a great trip down memory lane:))

    Acorn Hill looks lovely and hopefully you will have more time to stitch in the coming weeks.

  2. Oh what fun, I am glad you had a wonderful time even in the heat of it all.
    Be always in stitches.

  3. Looks like lotsa fun at the reunion!! And your stitching is looking great! So glad to hear your son is ok after the train accident.

  4. Lynn,

    Looks like you had a wonderful time at your reunion! I'd love to get together with some of my friends from Glengary District HS from 1968 in Alexandria! That is about as far away from Windsor that you can get to the east!

  5. I'm so glad to see you all had a good time. The pics were fab!!! It must have been nice to all get together and reminisce like that. Grats on finding just the right color! I usually do things as charted, so it's not a problem I've ever had, lol. Here's hoping things will settle down now. Good luck getting some solid stitchy time in. I'm always cranky when I don't get mine!!

  6. Lynn, your reunion looks like it was just so fun! I enjoyed seeing the photos--the enjoyment was evident in each of them. :) That is so neat!

    Love the WIPs!

  7. Oh Lynn, what a newsy and interesting post. You all seem to have had such a lot of fun, when playing in the band as well as before and afterwards, lol. And you seem to be busier than before your retirement, right? Lol.
    Congratulations on finishing Their Song. I haven't continued on mine during the last weeks but each time I see a finished piece on someone's blog I feel so inspired - until I get back to the piece that I'm stitching on and which I love so much at the moment.
    I enjoyed looking at all your vacation pictures from the lake. What a wonderful place!

  8. It sounds like it was so much fun minus the heat. I had not read the post about your son but I am so glad he is safe. Keep making music

  9. Your band photos really made me smile, Lynn. I could almost picture myself sitting near your husband playing my clarinet, too (but, honestly, it would be a struggle for me to remember the fingering!)... What a lovely time you all had! Music is such a wonderful team building experience, isn't it?

    Acorn Hill is looking so cute--love those little crows :)

  10. I loved reading about your reunion Lynn, it looks like you all had a wonderful time. I hope you're enjoying yourself lots during this busy summer. Acorn Hill is looking great, best wishes and happy stitching to you.

  11. I'm glad to hear that your weekend away in Windsor went well. I enjoyed reading about your reunion! It looks like it was a huge success and lots of fun!

    I can't wait to see your LHN finished! I'm curious to see how you add the Canadian elements.

  12. Lynn you certainly have been busy! Every time I pop over here or we e-mail each other you've either been off to some location or someone's coming to visit. But I bet you're enjoying it not having to think about going back to work!

    What stitching you have gotten in is looking good!

  13. Great post and photos Lynn. Looks like you had a fabulous time. I think you are busier now that you have retired LOL. Your stitching is looking great, I am glad that you found the right red.