Since the summer of 2002, Robert Branco has held summer reunions for Perkins students at the pond. This year’s reunion stands out as an especially wonderful one for me.
On August 19th, it was sunny and warm with low humidity–a perfect day for our reunion. At nine in the morning, I took a taxi to Leominster station and met Bonnie, a woman I’ve known since high school. Shortly thereafter, we took a bus to Acton, because of work on train tracks. We eventually boarded another train, with her and her guide dog going ahead while I received sighted help.
As we got in to Boston, I called our ride explaining our train’s delayed arrival at North Station, and that we did not make the scheduled 10:40 ride time. The dispatcher reassured us that our ride would be there within half an hour, and to our delight, it pulled up right as we stepped out of the station. By noon, we were walking with others to the pond. For the exception of the train delay, the trip went pleasantly smooth.
I was so drawn to this serene oasis; the delicate fountain and sound of water gently running from the frog pond gave our area an aura of peace and relaxation. I felt as if I had stepped in to a world which was a sanctuary of tranquility, apart from the school’s beautiful, yet imposing, buildings.
I walked to Bob, giving him the batches of homemade peanut butter chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies I had made for dessert. As we found seats at picnic tables, a union of voices welcomed us to sit.
While there, I met a young Perkins student who aspires to get into theater and dancing. Her mom copied down my phone number and we hope to keep in touch. I also had a chance to chat with friends as the gentle cacophony of conversation buzzed around us. As we talked, delicious chicken wings, hot dogs, and burgers were passed around. Everyone enjoyed the meal, but it was catching up with old friends and meeting new friends which made this reunion so special. You really had to hang on to the minutes, as the afternoon was speeding by. “It is the people, not the food, that I enjoy most,” Bonnie said, smiling.
I navigated across the neat cement walkway to other tables, chatting with friends as I went. I was glad to talk with a friend I had last seen at the 2011 state ACB convention. It was so good to see her and keep in touch. As we talked, the soft sounds of a saxophone played by a well-known blind musician served as the perfect backdrop.
All too soon, I heard Bonnie call me as a reminder that it was time to catch our ride. We said goodbye to everyone as another summer reunion came to a close. As we waited for the ride, I could still hear the distant sounds of the fountain.
I will remember this year’s reunion as one of the best ones I have attended. The blending of Perkins’ previous students with their current ones, and the new fountain on the old campus, was a perfect view of past meeting present and future.
Do any other Ziegler readers attend special reunions with school graduates?