Classmates reunite at fitness class

The connection came slowly for former Grade 7 peers

Pam Walton and Jim Harker both went home and dug out Riverway West Grade 7 class photos to discover they were in the same class. Harker is in the second row from the back

Pam Walton and Jim Harker both went home and dug out Riverway West Grade 7 class photos to discover they were in the same class. Harker is in the second row from the back

Two Oak Bay residents credit Recreation Oak Bay with a rekindling of youthful acquaintance.

Note that this is not a romantic tale.

When Pam Walton and her husband moved to Oak Bay in 2014, she immediately joined a workout class through Recreation Oak Bay. It was a natural progression of her former routine in Vancouver, and a way to meet some of her new neighbours.

The first person she spoke to during the full-body conditioning class was Jim Harker.

Then he disappeared for a few months. He’d taken a post-retirement job, Harker explained, but returned to the exercise clan led by Jeanie Goode about a month ago.

“We both enjoy Jeanie’s class. We talk about a whole host of things, kids and grandkids…,” Harker said. “I said ‘I graduated from Burnaby South in ’69,” Harker said. That got Walton sitting upright on her exercise ball thinking “what?” Under her maiden name Farish, she too attended Burnaby South.

“In Grade 7 if the principal said go get Pam, I’d have known who she was,” Harker said.

Both went home and dug out old yearbooks and photos; both toted the same Grade 7 class photo to the next class. There they were, standing in the same row, separated by just one peer.

“It was a nice, happy coincidence,” Harker said.

“It’s the community centre doing its job, bringing people together,” Walton said.

So now they’ve connected to each other’s social circle, sharing who’s where or doing what.

“We didn’t travel in the same circles because I was bad,” Harker said.

“And I wasn’t,” piped in Walton.

As the saying goes, it’s a small world, and not unusual, Goode said, for connections to be rediscovered, or rekindled.

“It really is amazing what happens for people when they come in to the classes,” she said.

Today Harker and Walton still travel in different circles, but come together for exercise classes recently shifted to the Neighbourhood Learning Centre at Oak Bay High.

Bumping into each other after all these years made them curious, Walton said. “We wonder who else is living in Oak Bay or Victoria?”