I was not going to write about our 40th class reunion, but I have had so many requests I will share my observations and thoughts. I did not bring my notebook or my camera to the reunion, because I did not want anyone to feel as if they were being interviewed. However, the writer in me could not help but observe the class of 1973.
Many of the people that were there have posted pictures and glowing statements about the reunion. The planning committee did a great job. Many friendships were renewed and new friendships were formed. Everyone was very nice to each other, and it was a pleasant two days and nights; but what about the deeper side of it? The side this writer saw?
As I wandered around the room, listening to stories being told, I heard tales of success, accounts of failures, reports of illness, and versions of 40 years of life since high school. Memories were shared, and laughter was abundant. But once in a while I would watch while someone would say something in jest to someone, and some of their old insecurities would come bubbling up. You could see it on their faces as they tried to mask the fears in their lives they have not yet conquered. It amazed me the power our high school years had in forming who we became and who we are forty years later.
Our generation is definitely a new breed as we age in an entirely modern way from all the generations before us. No one looked old. No one looked like they spent their time sitting in a rocking chair. We were all young looking, energetic, and engaged in life. The class of 73 is creating history, as we age without seeming to get old….
Then I observed myself….I was quieter than I usually am. Was I turning back into that girl of 18 who liked everyone she met, but they often did not know it, because I was quiet and kept my thoughts and feelings to myself? And why was I so delighted as a 58-year- old woman that people actually remembered who I was and were interested in who I had become. Yes, many of us conquered our shyness and our fears, in the last 40 years, but I think it would be a rare person who still did not carry a trace or two of who they were back then.
The first night of the reunion, I had the joy of seeing my old friend from Jr. High and High School, with whom most of our conversations back then revolved around pimples, horses, and boys. We swore not to lose contact again. If you found yourself promising the same thing to an old or a new friend, keep that promise, call or text, or email them when you finish reading this article.
The second night I was blessed to sit next to a lady I had kinda-sorta known in high school. She smiled and shared her ups and downs. It had made me wish I had taken the time back then to get to know her and so many others; but the beauty of life is, it is not too late to take what we learned from our encounters with our classmates, and enrich our lives from the lessons they taught us.
Most intriguing to me was a question asked to me by a fellow classmate, she looked me in the eyes and asked, “What have you learned in the last forty years?”
What a question. Can you answer it? So I turned the question back on her and asked her the same. I think she summed it up in a way that holds truth for all of us. She said, “I have learned life always throws me a curve. Just when I think, I have everything planned, I find out I don’t. I used to worry about all the things I could not control. That worry just made me old. Now I know to watch for the curves and embrace them. That is what I have learned in the last 40 years.”