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Local group holds 27th Annual Reunion

Mona Lisa Stallworth stands next to Neighborhood Reunion Banner
Mona Lisa

While most people never get the opportunity to re-unite with their childhood friends as much as they would like, (if at all) one group has been coming together annually for the past 27 years. The Neighborhood Reunion attendees at Friday’s Dinner/Dance hail from the neighborhoods of Temple, Flats, & J-Flats. These are nicknames for the Echo Park, Rampart District, and Silver Lake area of Los Angeles respectively.

The group started having its reunion back in 1987 when some of them were only in their 20’s and now many are in their 50’s and 60’s, and some even older. Their unique relationship stems from childhood family and friends who took it upon themselves to start meeting on a more joyous occasion when prior to the first reunion the only time they would see one another is when they attended the funeral of a family member or friend.

All but three of the 27 annual reunions have been held at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Two were held in Carson, and Friday’s event held in Long Beach, was the first ever to be held inside, instead of the usual picnic style reunion; it was a dinner/dance format. But it yielded the same results, of having a great time listening to music, good food, and most importantly sharing old times with family & friends. I personally believe it is one of the rarest reunions of its type. While many others have attended their high school reunion(s) – this group has the distinction of including not just high school classmates…but also neighborhood friends from various local communities.

Ironically, today I was reading an online article that told of a nurse who shared her story of the five most regrets that dying patients have. One of the five was “not staying in touch with friends.” So to come together every year for so many years is amazing. Most people can’t believe we do this said Chris, one member who has attended every year.

This writer is proud to say that he is also a member who hasn’t missed a reunion in all the years. We even have members who live as far as Hawaii (Doreen) who attend. Yes in a time when most Americans don’t know where most of their childhood friends are – the Neighborhood Reunion group sees theirs often. As the article about the dying patients said “friends are more important than monetary wealth.”

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