A Reunion Of Friends, A Celebration Of Life
by Ruby Bayan - 11/24/00
I've just come from a reunion of friends who have not seen each other for 10 to 25 years -- peers some of whom have not heard from one another since the 70s. I witnessed the mélange of anticipation, enthusiasm and excitement -- it was simply euphoric, for lack of a better word.
This was a reunion of a group of about 20 friends and colleagues, now in their forties and early fifties, who worked together in a rock radio station in Manila almost 30 years ago. These then young broadcasters' love for music and disk jockeying spurred a unique programming that caught on extremely well with the listening public -- which is why they quickly evolved to become the Number One Radio Station in Metro Manila in the 70s. They speak of glory days when fans and groupies would flock to their station, hang out in their booths, and follow them wherever they went. These DJs loved what they did and they were worshipped for it.
But in the early 80s, one by one they found themselves living adult lives, making serious decisions and commitments, and traveling to distant lands to "move on." Many of them migrated to the US and other parts of the world. As they pursued different lives, they lost touch with one another. Their families grew and their careers took various paths. But they obviously never forgot the glory days.
So when the cyber-age somehow dictated that every individual must have an e-mail address, tracing long lost friends became a snap. The ones who had raised families in California found those who settled in Florida, Chicago, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and even the ones in Australia and Canada. Through friends of friends, networks of acquaintances, and the online White Pages, the old group of broadcasters finally found each other again. And it was time for a millennium reunion.
It must have been the long absence that made all of them willing to fly in, drive seven hours, and take vacation days to be at the reunion. But I thought to myself, it couldn't be just the loss of contact -- there has to be something deeper, a relationship these guys had that would move them to go out of their way to meet again. It must be something that survived the decades that passed.
And yes, I saw it with my own eyes. They bear hugged each other like they've all just risen from the dead! Some, not recognizing their old friends' new and mature appearances, were on the verge of tears at the opportunity to come face-to-face with people who had been dear to them, people they thought they had already lost forever.
I saw that whatever they shared many years ago, in a small radio station that made airwaves bigger than life, remained intact inside them through long years, across vast oceans, and despite twists of fate.
I've attended many reunions of sorts, but not one came close to the level of exhilaration that this one created. This was a group of friends who once lived a life they will always cherish -- a life where each one played a vital role -- a life that carved who they are today.
It was heartwarming to see old friends hug and laugh together again. They may have grown a paunch, added some fine wrinkles here and there, and lost a few more strands of hair, but the smiles, the camaraderie, and the affection remained intense, fervent, unchanged -- as is natural among true friends.
I figured that's what reunions are essentially for -- to reminisce the glory days, to reaffirm the bonds of friendship, and to celebrate the circle of life.
Read more about the RockJock reunion.