High School Reunion

09/10/13

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I attended my 50th year high school reunion in April, 2010.  It was one of those events you hear OLD people talk about doing.  Or you see a human interest story on the news and think, "Gosh.  Isn't it great that a bunch of senior citizens can get together for a reunion 50 years after they graduated from high school."  In the back of your mind, the time for your own 50th high school reunion is surely years away into the future.  50 years following graduation was going to take a long, long time gauging by how long those years in high school itself took.  But then reality strikes hard—very hard.  No matter how many times you do the math, 2010 minus 1960 is 50 years--time for my own 50 year high school reunion.  How could that be?  What did we do with all those years? 

My first thought was that we must’ve been cheated.  We must've been given years that were only half as long as standard years.  Then you look at your grown kids with their own families and realize, “No, that’s not it..  That couldn’t have happened in half the time.”  Yep, it's been 50 years alright.  If you haven't attended a reunion of this ilk, be prepared for a shock of reality.  It'll do you some good and helps to place things in proper perspective.  It's less a gathering of old high school friends and more a gathering of their grandparents--if you know what I mean.  It'll make you think more seriously about getting off your butt and doing things you have been putting off.

There were problems in this world that my generation was going to tackle head-on and fix because we were so much smarter than the generations before us.  We were special.  We had the passion, compassion, energy, intelligence, and technology.  But the years have come and gone.  I lift the newspaper each day to see that we are still besieged with a litany of many of the same problems we faced in 1960.  I wondered how my classmates can possibly gather in celebration, realizing that we essentially failed to live up to our own expectations.  I thought perhaps I needed to attend if only to apologize for not keeping up my end of the deal to make this a better world. 

But something very strange happens when you gather with classmates you haven't seen since the last reunion 20 years ago, or some whom you haven't seen at all since graduation night.  You listen to their individual stories about how they've spent those intervening years and learn about their families and their progeny.  It's not long before you start to see a pattern emerging.  It's a pattern that repeats itself over and over again throughout the night as you talk to people.  And it doesn't matter whether the person graduated at the top of the class or near the bottom.  It's a pattern of accomplishment that involves struggle, opportunity, finding a niche, dedicated hard work and study, and family.

When you reflect on your own life, you realize that there were numerous critical decision points where things could've gone south.  And it's with some relief and amazement that things worked out well enough for you to raise a family and have a comfortable life.  Then as I listened to my classmates catch me up on their lives, I can see that they've done a darn good job in doing exactly the same.  Keep in mind that we were all from blue-collar families.  To see how well so many have fared without any particular advantages of birth was most gratifying.  We may not have resolved the profound problems that have plagued our society, but have managed to keep the hope of solving them alive, moving us even closer by raising decent families with greater educations and more diverse experiences than we had.  By doing that, this group has indeed made the world a better place.  I'm proud to be a member of this class.  It's also a testament to this great country and the opportunities it offers to those who are willing to work hard.

I've added a photo gallery of pictures taken during the Reunion weekend.  Many of the pictures were contributed by my dear friend Brenda Sue Heaton.  I've done the best I can to identify as many of the people correctly.  Unfortunately, I know that there may be some errors or oversight.  I apologize in advance for these.  Please bring them to my attention and I will rectify my lapse in recognition.

One of the best and most telling comments of the night was an observation that upon gazing at the faces in the large crowd, it was a shame that so many of our classmates were not able to attend the festivities, but that it was truly wonderful that "their parents" came instead. 

 

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This site was last updated 08/30/13