2007: 1980-85 Era Reunion

I am a part of all that I have met

Savio Wong (‘84)

On September 29, over 120 Grebelites from the 1980-85 era came back to the college for a reunion. The evening began with an informal reception in the new (to us old-timers) Atrium, a tour of the new halls, and finished with a buffet dinner and dance.

For most of us, the new facility is nice, but we came back to see each other - to catch up with all the latest news since last time and, maybe just for a few moments, to re-live those magical years again.

Although the comment "hey, you look exactly the same" was heard many times, the perception was corrected rather quickly once we saw the slide-show presented by the ever efficient and capable Fred W. Martin.

There were many highlights in the evening. For example, what Grebel gathering from this era would be complete without Rob Gascho’s wonderful imitation of John Rempel (who was sorely missed) and Ralph Lebold (who graced us with his presence), Ron Regier’s puny jokes, Louise Wideman’s belly laugh and probably everyone’s favourite – Andy (Rude Jake) Hiebert and Cathy Falconer’s heavenly musical numbers?

Personally, I am of two minds about attending reunions: should I or shouldn’t I? Do I want to be reminded about some of the unfulfilled dreams that seem to bubble up at these events? How about the errors of youth (where is Rempel when you need absolution?) How could I summarize my last 10 or 20 years in a few minutes, and say it without being superficial? How would I relate to people who once were very close to me, now that we have either moved or grown apart? How would I explain that I haven’t lost my idealism, it has just become softer and rounder?

It was good to come and for my soul to be surrounded in a roomful of people who had shared something very special – that mythical Grebel experience. The conversations were both respective and heart-felt. No, it was not possible to recap 20 years in a few minutes, but it was possible to peek into each other’s lives through a small window and re-connect.

It is on occasions like this that I sense the passage of time, making me be both contemplative and introspective. Although it would be false to claim we had maintained our friendship after all these years or that we would become best of friends again, it was spiritually uplifting to have such fond memories of our youthful exuberance, our carefree foolishness, and our radical idealism. We were, and I hope we still are, wanting to make this a better world for all.

All my favourite memories are from my Grebel days!

I remember...

  • chats with staff in the faculty lounge,
  • falling down staircases,
  • Pachelbel and tea on wicker with Wendy Cressman,
  • having underwear frozen by Franz and Dennis,
  • Frosh Week,
  • great student pranks like the pigs head in the toilet of the girls washroom,
  • a "body oddities" fest in the lower lounge,
  • finding an entire bedroom in the front foyer,
  • Dutch Blitz,
  • late night pizza deliveries,
  • "Peeping Scott"
  • broomball,
  • nerd dances,
  • using trays as toboggans,
  • great food,
  • Commie Supper bread,
  • Wednesday Chapels,
  • leading frosh singing around campus in the middle of the night, then seeing the falls of water coming off the roof,
  • getting lost in Waterloo at 4:00 am,
  • sheet change,
  • missing Community Supper for Star Trek,
  • performing in the coffeehouse in purple onesies pajamas,
  • the 6:00 gathering of the "Who Couch Klan" to watch Dr. Who,
  • singing in Chapel Choir,
  • winning volleyball again & again & again,
  • dancing on the Chapel Choir tour bus,
  • "studying" in the lower lounge for exams,
  • Steve McDonell's bike, lonely and snowcovered, waiting for the next ride,
  • finding all the contents of a room switched with another room - then living on the guys floor all weekend.