I got a letter in the mail recently inviting me to attend my 50-year high school reunion. Can this be possible? Where did the time go ? Have I somehow violated the time space continuum? Who are all these old people in the 40th reunion photo? I barely recognize anyone anymore. They likely say the same of me.
Questions flood my brain. How did I manage to survive the birth of rock and roll, the cold war, Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate, and the Kardashians? I have become a walking, talking, living source of history.
Fifty years…turtles don’t live that long. It’s 50% of the 100-year war. It’s half of a century. It’s the length of time you have to live before you can join AARP.
1964 marked the Beatles British invasion, smoking declared bad for your health, Dr. Strangelove premiered, Sean Connery started filming Goldfinger, the Kennedy half-dollar, Arnold Palmer winning the Masters, Tom Jones getting the best picture Academy Award, Barry Goldwater becoming the Republican Presidential Candidate, Martin Luther King winning the Nobel Peace Prize and shooting began on the Star Trek TV pilot. What a year! Oh, and 180 of us graduated from Tecumseh High School.
We put so much emphasis on high school memories. Why? At best it consists of four years as a burgeoning teenager, trying to fit in with the top cliques, exploring our sexuality, fretting about college and leaving the safety of the parental nest, embarrassing yearbook photos, fake IDs, 3.2% beer, flat tops, sock hops, dating, and grappling in the back seat at the drive-in, sometimes with a partner.
One faces a high school reunion with trepidation to say the least. Will the ones who ruled the school still set the pace, or will the former diamonds in the rough lead the parade? Does it even matter anymore? We are no longer teenagers. Some of our classmates are great grandparents with metal hips. We knew these people for a short time 50 years ago. Are they really long-lost friends or are we merely hoping to recapture our youth (along with uncontrollable acne, wet dreams, 25 cent gasoline, clunky eyeglasses, and black & white TV).
Too deep for me. High school was a mostly pleasant, but distant memory that for me will stay in the past. You can go home, but likely everyone else has already moved to the 21st century. I wonder who will make it to our 60-year reunion? I hope they keep the food and the music soft and let me out of the home for two days straight. I can’t wait to take off my shoes and dance on the gym floor just once more.
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Richard Allan Jones is the author of Drafted, a comedy/adventure novel available at amazon.com.