On 29 March 'the class of 64', as we call ourselves, met up for our annual reunion - this year at Tate Modern, London. This reunion, like previous ones, was put together by fellow student and amazing organizer, Alison Shingler (née Scales). Alison keeps tabs on all of us via her database, and with her usual efficiency managed to find a date when as many of us as possible were free to meet up. So this year there were 19 of us, including partners, who arrived for lunch and the Rauschenberg exhibition.
During our time at Reading many in our group were amazingly lucky to have had Anita Brookner, the art critic and novelist, as our inspirational lecturer in a module on French art and architecture. Those who did this course developed an enduring interest in art, and this is perhaps why our group tends to meet up at art exhibitions each year. But, as French graduates, we confess that wine and good food always play an important part in our reunions. And so to lunch where an eavesdropper would have heard not only conversations about our days at Reading and our study year in France and Italy, but also news of families, walking holidays, U3A, volunteering in our respective communities, books, films, theatre, exhibitions, downsizing as we reach our mid-seventies and Brexit, of course.
Alison then reminded us we couldn't sit chatting all day - we had an exhibition to see! So Simon Wilson, one of the 'class of 64', who went on from Reading to do an MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute and who worked at the Tate Gallery as lecturer and curator until his retirement, gave a brief introduction to the Rauschenberg exhibition. He fed us fascinating insights into Rauschenberg's work as we moved through the exhibition, and then piloted us through the maze that is Tate Modern to tea. On the way, he detoured us to see the Rothko canvasses and recount insider tales of Rothko's special relationship with Tate Modern.
During tea, Alison and Simon were presented with theatre vouchers and warmly thanked for making yet another reunion such a pleasurable social occasion. Then after lots of hugging and kissing we all promised to meet again in 2018.
Joan Allwright (née Berridge)