Column: High school reunions, memorials and speeches

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Sept. 9, 2009

I attended my high school reunion last weekend in southern Indiana. And yes, it was as awkward as I had feared it would be. It felt like I had been transported back to high school, which, well, was an awkward time to begin with.

Few of my friends who I have kept up with attended, so much of the night consisted of putting 10 years of your life into snippets of conversations.

Went to college. Got a degree. Couldn’t find job that went with degree. Got different job. Got married. Had kids. (This was a common theme at the reunion. Having a job that goes with my degree and no children instantly separated me from the rest of the pack. At least I’m married.)

I’m still glad I’m went, though, and it made me very appreciative of one little fact. Boy, I’m glad I’m not in high school anymore.

• • •

I’d like to let people know about a wonderful event that is open to the public on Sept. 11.

Paul Wdowicki, 76, of Elburn, will be hosting a remembrance for the fourth year in a row at his home for the firefighters who lost their lives because of the Sept. 11 attacks. He also is seeking volunteers to help keep the garden going. I went out to the garden last year and it truly is beautiful.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a nicer service this year,” Wdowicki said. He has a new flag pole and some additions to the garden – mostly mums that were donated to him by a man running a stand at a recent farmers market.

The service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Wdowicki’s home, 405 N. Second St., Elburn. Wdowicki said the Elburn Fire Department will be there and that its chaplain will do the invocation. If you would like to help with the garden, you can call Wdowicki at 630-365-0398.

• • •

I’m getting ready to listen to President Obama’s speech on health care reform while writing the rest of the column.

Afterward, I’m scheduled to talk with Rep. Bill Foster, D-Batavia, to get his reaction to the speech, while one of my colleagues will be talking with Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Egan, to get reaction from the other side of the aisle.

And sure enough, at about 8:45 p.m., I get a call from Foster, who actually ended up sitting on the Republican side of the aisle. As you could probably tell, it was a crowded gathering.

“I thought the speech was very well executed and hit all the important parts,” Foster said. “I was very pleased to see him focus on the 80 percent that actually is agreed to in this. The ideas that people should not become uninsurable, that everyone should be able to buy a basic health policy at a reasonable cost and the fact that the public option is not something that should have a back door that would allow it to drive insurance companies out of business are key points that have very wide backing on both sides of the aisle.”

Manzullo went even further, saying that Republicans and Democrats agree on 95 to 100 percent of the goals of health care reform – affordable, accessible health care that isn’t dropped when you need it – but that differences remain on how to reach those goals.

We’d love to hear what you thought of the speech. You can write a letter to the editor at letters@kcchronicle.com or Sound Off by calling 630-845-5240.

Joe Grace is the editor of The Chronicle. Write to him at jgrace@kcchronicle. com or call him at 630-845-5368.

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