IFEL62 55th Anniversary Reunion
On Friday evening, April 28, 2017, eight members of IFEL-62, along with three spouses, gathered at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Tysons Corner, VA to celebrate the 55th anniversary of our time at the Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages. Initial planning had resulted in more than 20 members and spouses committing to the reunion, however unforeseen circumstances reduced the number of those attending. Those making the trip were:
Steve Banks - 04/62
Derek Fick and Enie - 04/62
Tom Folkes - 04/62
Gil Gott - 01/62
Jim Henderson - 10/61
Terry Murphy and Annette - 01/62
Gene Smethers and Sheila - 04/62
Bert Thomas - 04/62.
The formal reunion agenda was deliberately kept short to be sure that individuals had a maximum of time to enjoy one another's company and were able to freely join together to see sites of mutual interest within the DC area. Although the attendance was smaller than we had envisioned, it did allow for a higher level of interaction.
Friday evening saw us joining together in the Barrel & Bushel (B&B) restaurant in the hotel for an evening meal. Even Tom Folkes had managed to arrive, maybe a little frazzled, but having experienced what was to be only the first of two memorable “encounters” we had with the DC Metro system.
Following breakfast at the hotel on Saturday morning, 10 of us decided to take the trip from Tysons Corner via the metro to the Federal Triangle. We took the covered walkway from the hotel to the metro station and upon arrival, were assisted by two very helpful metro employees. They wanted to be sure to inform us that all three metro lines (silver, blue, orange) were shut down in the downtown area for construction and repair and that we would not be able to reach our destination without changing trains. They gave us simple instructions:
take the silver line from Tysons Corner to Ballston, where we should switch to the orange line, then take the orange line to Foggy Bottom, where the metro temporarily ended and we would have to disembark, go to street level, and finally hop on one of a large number of metro shuttle buses that would take us to our Federal Triangle destination.
They apologized for the inconvenience and asked us to think of the trip as an adventure.
We were to discover that it was to be more adventure than we expected. Compounding our journey, was a large crowd also heading to the national mall area to engage in a protest march against global warming. The trains, as well as shuttles, were packed and a number of streets in the Capitol and Mall area were closed off in anticipation of the protest march.
Except for coping with the large crowds, all was well until we had boarded the shuttle bus and had started the final leg of our journey to the Federal Triangle. The shuttle appeared to us to take a rather circuitous route to the mall area, and after 15 minutes or so, pulled to the curb and stopped.
The driver stood up, announced that shuttles had been "recalled" and that passengers would have to exit the vehicle and find their own way to their destination. Turns out, after checking Google, that after our several minutes of travel on the shuttle, we had ended up within a block or so of our starting point.
After orienting ourselves, Google provided directions for us to walk to our destination. None of us had ever before experienced being abandoned, without explanation or direction, in mid-journey by public transportation.
Now, for the more technically-minded Fitbit crowd, we got in well more than the desired 10,000 steps in an outside temperature north of 91 degrees. On the positive side, it will all be a story for a future reunion.
The afternoon was spent in exploring attractions along the mall and then a return to the hotel where we were joined by Jim Henderson. At 7 p.m. we were driven by chauffeured van to an family-style evening meal (Chinese, of course) at the Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church. The meal was excellent and provided a very enjoyable three hours of eating and visiting.
Sunday, following breakfast, we again journeyed to the national mall, this time avoiding the metro repair/construction by traveling down via the Pentagon station and then back up to the mall near the Air and Space Museum where most of us spent the afternoon.
That evening saw us gathering at Eddie V's restaurant near the hotel for our final evening and a very enjoyable meal.Monday morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we offered our goodbyes and most of us left for our return travel home.
Though the number was small, there seemed to be a general sentiment that this was, perhaps, our best and most enjoyable reunion to date, and leaving us wanting more.
We wish that more of our group had been able to join us.
Maybe next time.