Sep 28, 2022


What’s past is sometimes a present

By Ed Goldman

Two weeks ago I attended two reunions with Cynthia Larsen (whom I’ve coyly referred to as my OSSO—oh-so-significant-other—for entirely too long): (a) an annual two-day event with my high school theatre buddies; and (b) her three-day, 50-year high school reunion.

The two events were similar only in that they were mostly love fests and that neither of us knew the people at each other’s get-together. That gave each of us a chance to learn about the other through the comments, memories and affection of others in our early lives—and to meet people whom each of us spoke about from time to time with fondness and nostalgia.

Edgy Cartoon

Two for the Road

Cynthia said that reuniting with classmates, some of whom she knew since the first grade, was an opportunity to reflect on how the test lab of our childhoods helped prep us for the adults we eventually became.

I didn’t have that chance since I’d known the people at my reunion only since high school and mostly in the socially hermetic bubble of being in drama classes and plays together. While we all cared about each other, we also competed for leading or supporting roles in plays (not sports or academic endeavors, fevvin’s sake). When we resumed seeing each other years later, I arrived late to the game, having moved 500 miles away at the age of 25 from Lakewood/Long Beach, the connected neighborhood and beachhead of our youth.

By the time we started our annual in-person reunions—and in recent years, also visiting by Zoom a couple of times a month—we were adults: people who’d experienced the inevitable tragedies of loss and disappointment for decades.

Both Cynthia’s and my reunions had bittersweet edges—sometimes events like these are the first time you learn about acquaintances who’ve died—but at the core were savory.

Looking for a Great Gift?

If the stars align, the most exciting thing that happens at a reunion is someone misplaces a cellphone and the emcee asks everyone in the place for a moment of absolute silence to allow an attendee to place a call to the missing object in question, thereby revealing its location.

This is what happened during the dinner at Cynthia’s reunion and I can report that the only other time I saw a room silence itself so readily and completely was when the Monsignor at Christian Brothers High School stood to speak at a homecoming dinner. Men in their 70s and 80s had been engaged in a noisy but tame food fight. (I am not kidding; this was about 30+ years ago and I was the hapless guest speaker.)

At Cynthia’s reunion, many attendees made plans to see each other again, and very soon. I have no idea who will or won’t follow through but wasn’t it nice to make the promises and hope they’re fulfilled, even if only a small percentage of them are?

My theatre pals and I made similar vows but at least we knew almost everyone would pick up the thread of conversation in a week or two on our regular Zoom call. There are only about 25 of us to be herded; Cynthia’s graduating class numbered more than 400.

Either way, the experiences had a similar richness and joy. And now, can somebody who attended either reunion please call my cellphone?

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grants are designed as a flexible funding source to help develop and rehabilitate single-family and multifamily projects targeting low-income households.

In 2022 alone, FHLBank San Francisco awarded $31.9. million in AHP General Fund grants for 39 projects to create or preserve 2,745 units of affordable housing.

Since the AHP’s inception in 1990, this wholesale bank has awarded over $1.1 billion to more than 1,735 projects, assisting in the development of nearly 140,000 units of quality affordable housing in our three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada, and other areas served by member institutions.

Our WISH First-Time Homebuyer Program is a great example of AHP dollars making an impact in our communities:

  • Our WISH matching-grant programs accentuate the work that our local member lenders are doing to support affordable, sustainable homeownership for first-time homebuyers while achieving their own community investment goals.
  • Our WISH dollars directly benefit people living at or below 80% of the area median income. This includes many working families and individuals moving from renting to owning and can complement or supplement many local, state, and federal homeownership programs and initiatives.
  • In the 21 years since the first homebuyer received a matching grant through the Bank’s homeownership programs, over $133 million in WISH and IDEA matching grants have been funded, helping nearly 9,100 families—like the Gonzalez family in Clovis, California*—realize their dream of owning an affordable home of their own. 

This is why I enjoy being a Director of the FHLBank of San Francisco. Where else can I help make dreams come true?

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