Thursday, October 26, 2017

The good...the bad...the bittersweet...

Fifty-five years later…

Perhaps the “last roundup” wasn’t really the last, but the passing of years makes it possible if not probable. I’m speaking of our 55th high school class reunion held last weekend in my hometown in West Texas. We were the largest graduating class to date--the number 465 comes to mind--and five years ago, about 25% of us were gone. We’ve lost more since then.

To go or not to go…

For months I rejected the idea of going. I’d attended the 50th--and it seemed simply time to say goodbye and move on. Maybe I just didn’t like the idea of really saying goodbye. At any rate, I went, and I’m glad--actually thankful--for the decision.

So I did and…

The event was, by popular polling, strictly casual. That means hanging out in the hotel hospitality room in jeans or other relaxed wear. Even the Saturday night dinner wasn’t a dress-up affair unless someone chose to make it such. I don’t think anyone noticed. We were all too busy imprinting familiar faces in our minds until we meet again or perhaps for eternity.
Lots of laughter--a never-ending supply of stories--hugging necks hello and goodbye and in between. Many seem to agree this reunion turned out to be the best ever.

Class of '62

In retrospect…

All of us have good and bad memories of our adolescent years. We were kids, for mercy’s sake,  inexperienced, self-absorbed, cocky and scared at the same time. We cared about each other on one level and were often unkind to each other on another. Sometimes we didn’t know the difference.  And all of us had our own family situations--some good, some bad, some bearable, some next to impossible. But we all had one goal in mind--graduate and get the heck out of Dodge!
Some were leaders. Some were followers. Some of us were just there. After 55 years, we came back with baggage of a different kind, having been to war (both literally and figuratively), as well as having buried parents, spouses, children, and dreams.
But we were tough. Our parents grew up during the Great Depression and went off to World War II. We started school when the hot war had turned menacingly cold and regularly dived for cover under our desks when the alert for “air raid drill” split the relative silence of the classroom.
We survived without computers, iPhones, iPads, and all the other technological trappings which ensnare children today. We played outside--no video games and no television until on into the fifties. We made mud pies, rode bicycles, hung out at the corner grocery reading comic books, and slept with our windows open.

A final reflection…

Did we make it this far without failures and regrets? Show me anyone who can claim that! I can’t. To tell you the truth, what didn’t kill us made us stronger.
And now it’s 55 years since we marched around the stadium in cap and gown to the triumphant strains of Pomp and Circumstance. We didn’t know what was waiting for us “out there”. Now we do, and somehow we’ve muddled through.
I hugged a lot of necks this past weekend, looked into many familiar faces, and shared a ton of memories. I’m grateful.

So maybe it’s not goodbye but rather see you around. Here or there--it doesn’t really matter.

 We were the Class of ’62--and we still are.

1 comment:

Alison Stepp said...

Love the reflection.....