Weather doesn't daunt this duo in readying for class reunion

Susan Manzke
Rachel’s homegrown balloon-blowing crew: Eli, Arianna, and Wyatt.

It has been twenty years plus one since my youngest daughter, Rachel, graduated from Seymour Community High School. Last year should have been their reunion but of course, everything was put off because of the rampaging virus.

This October, without too much planning, Rachel decided it was time for her class to get together, or at least try to. October 2nd was the date scheduled, but where should they meet?

Rachel had all kinds of ideas. She wanted it in the City of Seymour and at an open venue. Even my backyard was considered at one point but limited bathroom facilities were a problem.

In the end, Rachel reserved the open shelter at Rockledge Park. It has a kitchen, electricity, and clean, spacious restrooms.

Snacks were going to be provided in a kind of a potluck. At first, Rachel didn’t intend to decorate, but at the last minute, she changed her mind.

At home, she made a family project of blowing up red, white, and black balloons, the school colors. These she spliced together to make a balloon arch. The massive creation had then to fit in her van to bring up to Seymour from her home near Madison.

The finished balloon arch.

Also packed in her car were a television and computer. These were set up to show photos of their high school years together.

Rain was predicted for the reunion and it did rain that morning, but by the time Rachel arrived with her balloon arch the rain stopped.

Still, there was much to do. I was asked to meet her at the shelter so I could help with the decorating.

Just before leaving home, I thought to bring a stepladder. It’s a good thing I did because that was one tool that my daughter hadn’t thought to bring.

I became Rachel’s decorating crew. When she was on the ladder taping up crepe paper to the shelter pillars, I was there to hold the extra tape and strips of paper.

At times, a light breeze gave us fits. It took the crepe paper and twisted it before it could be wound in place. Also, when small clutches of balloons were tied up with string, the wind whipped them about, popping maybe ten before any of the class arrived—every time one popped, Rachel had a comment but I won’t write that here.

Setting up the large balloon arch was a challenge. It was a good thing that Rachel had a spool of ribbon along. To get enough support ribbon between the pillars, Rachel had to climb the ladder multiple times. Each time noting how she hated heights.

Rachel and the balloon arch.

Again, the wind hindered our work, but in the end, the arch was in place, with only one balloon popping.

The year 2000 Mylar balloons then posed a problem but somehow Rachel managed to string them up, too.

When everything was set to go, Rachel and I sat down to admire our handiwork. Pictures were taken. We decided to ignore the sections of crepe paper that weren’t perfect and the popping balloons.

I hung around until the first two classmates arrived. They had visited our home many times during their high school years, so it was good to hear a bit from them.

The classmates’ afternoon flowed into the evening. Others helped remove the decorations so I didn’t have to return.

This mother/daughter project was fun. Rachel did all the ladder climbing. My job as a go-fer was the easy part. I’m happy I was available to be a helping hand and some of my suggestions even worked, but I still can’t believe that it has been twenty-one years since my baby graduated high school. Time flies.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;