A spontaneous reunion
The other day, when I took our youngest – a young man of 23 – for a walk around the popular Hengsteysee, I had an interesting experience. We were passed by a group of joggers. All people in my age, so that I thought involuntarily: Well, if they are still so active, you can try that again.
After about fifty meters, two of the group, a lady and a gentleman, had stopped, turned around and were now coming towards us. The man had a slight grin on his face and suddenly I realized who was standing in front of me. “Gerald,” escaped my lips, “I don't believe it.” – Gerald Becker, an old schoolmate and neighbor with whom I had attended high school together for years. It must have been over 25 years since we last saw each other.
And then came what is called “talking yourself into a corner”.
How are you? What do you do for a living? Do you have children? Where do you live now? Were you at the last class reunion? Who are you still in contact with? Are your parents still alive? Do you remember back then in German class?
At some point, you got to the old stories from your school days. The situations in which you had driven the teachers to despair. Experiences that had long been forgotten were recalled. And many an event that, in retrospect, really embarrassed you. But you were just young and carefree and the rough everyday school life was hard enough not to let out this pink mammal with three letters from time to time.
Suddenly Gerald said that maybe we shouldn't talk so much about the old days, otherwise my son might get a bad impression of us. Yes, it was funny back then. Gerald, who was always up for a joke and greeted everyone with the words: “Well, you old cheese mite,” actually became a pastor. Nobody would have expected that back then either.
The onset of dusk then ended our lively conversation at some point. But the conversation and the memory of my school days lingered with me for a long time, and I kept thinking of funny situations from back then that I hadn't thought of for a long time.
Who is up for a question game?
In the evening we had friends over and, as almost always, the question came after dinner whether we should play a game. Games with this round were always a lot of fun, so the only question left was what to play.
At dinner, I had told about my encounter with Gerald and had shared a story or two from my school days. The friends were surprised to suddenly discover completely different sides of me. Apparently because of this, someone suddenly shouted, “Let's play a question game. A game where we all get to know each other better. We know so little about each other, and who knows what interesting past one or the other has.”
The idea wasn't bad, but who has a question game in their closet where you can learn more about each other? My wife went to the game cupboard and looked what we had in the way of suitable games. Sure, there was one or the other question game, but not necessarily one where you get to know your friends better. She read us different titles, but none of the games came into question. Because we had somehow decided to play something where we would get to know more about each other.
At some point, someone asked: Do you know the Meminto deck?
Everyone just shrugged their shoulders. Never heard of it. Is that also a question game? “Well,” came the answer, “it's not exactly a question game, but it's a very nice pastime where you can learn a lot about other people.”
“Then let's just play this question game, which isn't really a question game,” one of the guests said with amusement. “Why don't you explain to us what this Meminto card deck is all about”.
And then we all got a detailed lecture about Meminto Stories. How these great books about one's own life are created, really printed books, completely individual. That there are different subject areas, like a book about childhood, relationships, etc. How it works with the questions you are asked and how, based on the answers you give, the material gradually develops into a whole book.
And what does that have to do with our question game now?
“It's quite simple,” came the answer. “An excerpt of the thousands of questions that could possibly be asked is available as a deck of cards. Sort of a taste of the book.”
Now everyone understood, and we played a question game that wasn't really a question game, because there were no losers, only winners.
The cards were quickly distributed, and the first question was asked. We had not had so much fun as we did that evening for a long time. The questions brought out the most curious events from the past. Memories of incidents that one might never have told. From being left behind in seventh grade or the moment when, at thirteen, you secretly tried out Dad's razor.
Funny, but also touching and sad
Sure, it's mostly the funny stories that come to light this way. Sad topics do not belong at such parties. But somehow it's also the thought-provoking stories, the sad ones as well as the touching ones, that need to be told. Because they, too, are part of a life about which one would like to learn more along the way.
And we wondered what one or the other had to put away in life. One of them had to move to another city with his parents at the age of 10, leaving behind all his friends and his beloved home. The other lost her grandmother, to whom she was so attached, at a very early age.
All went home impressed
That one would have learned so much about the family history and past of the others on this way. Some of the friends were suddenly seen in a different light. Who knows if one would have ever heard so much about the others. And everyone agreed that this question game, which is not really a question game, was not played for the last time. After all, one had by no means learned everything about the others.