For curious minds: the Beta 4 Gang explained
Before I begin the journal of our "Beta 4 North Carolina Coast" getaway, I feel I should give my readers a little background. Specifically, if you've heard me mention them before, you all might be wondering what this "Beta 4 Gang" is, and how it came to be. Back in the early 80's, my husband Tom and I both attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his junior year Tom lived in an on-campus apartment. The building name was Beta, the apartment number...4. There were a total of six guys, four of whom remain lifetime members of the Beta 4 Gang...Brian, Carl, Gordon & Tom.
In 1983, after Tom's graduation, the guys had their first "reunion" in Chatham, Ontario. The occasion: Gord and Annie's wedding. Brian had also married Jill earlier that year. I hadn't known any of these characters while at Calvin, but after Tom and I met and started dating while at Purdue, I was initiated into the group during a very cold camping trip to Pokagon State Park in Indiana, and became an official gang member by reunion year #5. Six years later, in 1994, Wendy married Carl to round out the group.
The Gang spent our early years with annual camping reunions in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin or Ontario, as these places were home to all of the members at the time, and camping was all we could afford. For about the first 15 years there was a 5th couple, Craig and Tammy, who eventually dropped out as the annual traveling became too difficult for their growing family. Eventually, we added 19 children to the mix (four belonging to Craig and Tammy), and the annual Beta 4 Reunion was greatly anticipated by all...young and old alike. (More photos to come!)
Gord and Annie moved to Calgary, Alberta in 2001, which resulted in a few incomplete reunions, but the tradition continued with those who could make it. As the kids got older and the wallets weren't quite as tight, we began to opt for hotel weekend get-togethers over camping.
After about 25 years, the group had spread out geographically...from Oak Ridge (NC) to Toronto (ON) to Calgary (AB) to Niles (MI)...making annual reunions a thing of the past. But the friendships had been formed, and the desire to get together remained. The four couples (without kids!) all took a Caribbean Cruise in 2008 to celebrate 25 years together (as well as a few big wedding anniversaries).
Between 2008 and 2018, six of the group's children were married, and most of the group were able to attend the weddings, allowing for some mini-reunions. Coming into our 35th year, we were all anxious to have another "real" reunion...and began planning our North Carolina Coast Getaway for August of 2018.
So there's the background. Now on to the getaway!