Keep In Touch Newsletter 2 Vol. XXV No 2 December2013
Tim Johnson, George Maendel and Helmut Wegner identifying fungi. (Photo: Christrose Sumner.)
Fewer people swam in the fairly nearby lake but it felt like that was because they couldn
t tear themselves away from the lively patio discussions. Those that did go enjoyed some diving off rafts and good exercise, quieter chatting and one or two snoozed on the beach. After all these years, I discovered some more challenging footpaths (trails, to you North Americans) that wend up into the woods behind Friendly Crossways, to a hidden pond; George, Tim, Helmut and I enjoyed a hike there, identifying different fungi, plants and birds along the way; there is still more to explore anoth-er time. The formal paths across the park in front of the Youth Hostel were also much travelled by various people seeking the sun-rise, star gazing, a little exercise, or even trying to spy a beaver or bear... yes, they are there, if only one could! It was a great opportunity to share time and experiences with
brothers and sisters
, most of us children of the Bruderhof, born into it, many having experienced the same hofs at different times. The photos thoughtful people had brought to help us walk down memory lane were terrific and it was good to see recent ones of their families, too, and hear what they are up to now. For me, it is also an endorsement that our parents
sacrifices and commitment managed to turn out some pretty interesting, nice, caring, balanced human beings. That we enjoy each others
company after fifty odd years and resonate with people we
ve never previously met is wonderful. Oh, sure, we also let off steam
many of us are hurt and angry at the current lovelessness and selfishness displayed when relatives are sick, dying or die and family are not informed, not invited, indeed are excluded from sickbeds or burials. It is good to be supported by the friendships with ex-Bruderhofers that are forged at our gatherings; we can truly understand and share in the heartache that is perpetrated. I
d like to thank Maeve and her team of Virginia, Al and all those others who contributed in their many ways to this meaningful, enjoyable long weekend.
Friendly Crossways: With these Gatherings We Can Support One Another
By Maeve Whitty
Thanks to Rosie for the description of our weekend. It was truly
enjoyable, and “many hands made light work” of the organization
for the weekend, whether it was picking up or dropping off folks at the airport or joining the cooking team in the kitchen. The interac-tion and exchanges among young and old, newcomers and old tim-ers was harmonious and lively. On Saturday afternoon at the bar- becue we had well over sixty people present and a rousing game of volleyball broke the ice for many of the young people. I was de-
lighted that some friends and family of us “exes” were present on
Saturday as well. Since the Youth Hostel let us come one day early, quite a few of us had arrived at Friendly Crossways on Thursday night, and for a
gathering. People volunteered to pick up and drop off folks at the Boston airport. George Maendel and Rosie Sumner discovered a new trail through the woods which we hadn't tried in the past. George also brought extra food: fresh produce, such as eggs, cheese and lettuce (much appreciated) and Helena Whitty and her husband brought two enormous watermelons all the way from New Jersey!
I have realized that the recent young Bruderhof “leavers” are
much more connected to each other via social media and the inter-net, etc. To this end, one thing we did differently this year to adver-tise the re-union, was to post an announcement on Facebook with good results; we had several new folks attend this summer that haven't been before. There were also more folks who acknowl-edged our Facebook posting and thanked us, but couldn't attend due to other commitments. Of course, there are the obvious generational differences. Many of the younger leavers are third or fourth generation Bruderhofers.
Next generation: Judith and Arnie Tsucroff
s daughter Helen and their grandson. Photo: Heidi Strickland
Most of the younger American leavers, as well as some of the older ones, have only experienced the Ameri-can Bruderhofs. Most have no direct connec-tion with Paraguay or Wheathill. To many this is literally, history. But in spite of the gen-erational differences, we do share a common, unique background. I am happy that we can have these gatherings and reunions to support one another and build connections.
EMAILS FROM NEW ATTENDEES
Following are three emails from new attendees this summer:
“I never felt more at home”
“Since leaving the Hof almost a decade ago, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt more at home (surrounded by fifty ‘strangers’) than
during the Friendly Crossways reunion! My wife (a non-