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A Guest's Review on Our 2023 Senior Gathering

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

The KKIOC organized a Senior Gathering on 22 October. As a recent (but aged/tua) member of an Indonesian community, I had no idea what it was going to be like. I was only following an announcement that I found through an alumni community of SMAK in Bandung. What a fun day it turned out to be! And I almost missed it! Here, I wanted to express my thanks and happy feelings after attending the party where everyone, Catholic or not, was welcome.

It started a couple of weeks before that day. Forgetful me noticed some hasty notes on the October page of my homemade calendar. In my sloppy handwriting, it said “St. Philip Benizi Church, Hall / 235 S. Pine Dr. Fullerton, CA. RSVP” with two phone numbers, that of Sian, and another of Maya. But when I called, the guest list was all filled up and we had to go on a wait-list. Luckily some people cancelled, and we (my non-Indonesian husband and me) happily made the trip from South Pasadena to join the festivities.

Upon our arrival, we immediately asked for Maya, who I thought of as the “mother” of the event, but she was younger and more glamorous than I expected. Her warm welcome made us feel at home right away. But before we went, we already realized the gathering was not just a party. It was also an opportunity to show our social sharing. We could order food, not just to benefit us, but also the club and the church. I have two cousins who live in LA County with their small families, but we live far apart. Until a couple of years ago, everyone worked (now two are retired), and so we don’t see each other much. Therefore, we were surprised that the kumpulan guest list was long; we didn’t know there were so many people from Indonesia who had settled here!

This was a senior gathering, but it was a lively group! We enjoyed meeting our table mates and were especially honored to be seated with a star performer, Sian the hula dancer. And there was entertainment by other good performers, too: the great singer, the two lively emcees, the brave soul who did the charades (playing guess?). I had forgotten that dances started with the “polonaise,” but it was great fun to do it again! But that was the only dancing we did that night. We also celebrated everyone’s October birthdays and even a wedding anniversary for Oom Lepie and Tante Pien.

I was having such a good time that I forgot that I was also hoping to find contacts to talk about memories of 1945! I started talking with Kong Peng, but it was so noisy (with happy party sounds) that I gave up, and then I forgot! The reason is, I am now writing a historical fiction book for children, describing the events of the time when the war (WWII) ended, and the Bersiap time started. If anyone is interested in discussing their experiences, please let me know. I’ll be glad to share my writing too. My website shows mostly my picture book images, but here is the link:

We wish you God’s blessings, and the continued warm feelings of community that you have with each other, and shared with us. We send good thoughts to all of you for good health and happiness. Thank you for having included us.

Written by Terry (Trees) Lim Diefenbach

For KKIOC Senior Gathering 2023

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