My 50th High School Reunion

Wow! That's All I Can Say. WOW!

My 50th High School Reunion

Just back from my 50th (!) high school reunion and I’m still wondering where have the years gone. Surely, I/we cannot possibly be old enough to warrant a half-century coming together? Yet, there we were, throwing masks and caution to the wind, hugging, kissing, and reminiscing faster than the DJ could spin tunes.

I’m challenged to process my feelings about seeing people I liked and shared so many fun times with after so many years. I last gathered with this crowd 25 years ago at the last reunion.

That reunion was a nostalgic blast from the past. Tee hee. “Remember when we …?” “How about the time we …?” “You’re a stockbroker now? You were the class hippie. I can’t believe it. Whoa, man.”

Gathering now at the half-century mark was different. More bittersweet. The “In Memorial” list was longer. Shockingly longer. Too many familiar names. Too many familiar faces. More “There but for the grace of God go I” than “Gee what happened?”

Also, absent: classmates in ill health, sending good wishes and hearty greetings but not up to the travel. Yes, we are getting older. That much is abundantly clear at a 50th reunion — just in case your aching knees or mirror somehow doesn’t do the job each morning! Several classmates used electric scooters and canes. One former classmate was stiff with the beginning stages of Parkinson’s.

And even the “spritely” among us were more inclined to hit the buffet line than the dance floor. Oh, well, it gave us more time to talk!

And even the hair-dyed, made-up, Spanx-ed best of us bore witness to the passage of time as we strained our eyes to recognize one another!

Yet, the aches, pains, and wrinkles of five decades could not stop the fun. We talked and laughed till we were hoarse!

It was amazing how many years of catch-up we crammed into one evening. And it was equally amazing how much honesty flowed. I’m not saying it was a reality show “tell-all,” but we shared a lot. It was cleansing to the soul.

We didn’t cover all the joys and regrets of 50 years of work, marriage, and childbearing, but when a woman faintly, wearily, all the while clutching her husband’s hand, says, “We’ve had our highs and lows,” you know she’s sharing deep pain. You don’t question. You just nod, hug, and say, “I’m so glad to see you.” She understands. You’ve been there too. Now we’re here. Together. Surviving. Muddling through middle age.

The truth is: for most of us, after all this time, there was nothing to prove. No need to brag. No need to show off. At almost 70, we are decidedly the “come as you are, take us as we are” crowd. (Well, except for the Spanx and make-up. You can’t blame a girl for making a little effort, can you?) We were just happy to be together, share memories, and renew friendships.

In the end, it felt so poignant because for all the hugs, exchanging of email addresses, and plans to stay in touch, the question is: How many will gather again at the next reunion?

Still, how lovely it all was. Carry on Clark High School Chargers. Carry on.

4 replies
    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      What an occasion and a moment of reflection. Happy birthday to you and your classmates. Good health AND good memories.


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