Every ten years a reunion takes place. After a decade, finding out how the lives of your classmates have progressed seems somehow important. For some it’s an opportunity to impress those who barely noticed you during your years of suffering the indignation of being on the Less than Popular list. For others it’s your chance to see how the mighty have fallen.
Who’s gone bald, and which beauty has lost her luster. Yes time marches on, we all fall victim to the facts of life. We all look back at our early adulthood, and with a sigh wish we could go back to that time when our memories were formed.
My High School years were rather lack luster. Granted this was a big improvement over grade school where I was the favored whipping post for every class bully. My diminutive stature leaving me an easy target, I was even smaller then the smallest girl. Not a very desirable position to be in.
By High School I had gained some height allowing me to blend into the masses. With a graduating class of about 550 blending was easy, it was more like being lost in the crowd. Yes I had a few semi-casual friends, but by far to the majority of the class I was no more then another tacky looking photograph on a page in the year book.
My close friendships were developed outside the world of school. More of a neighborhood grouping as country kids who are bused into the city for school seldom have the ability to return for evening after school functions. The fact that we were dirt poor had something to do with this socializing problem as well.
Regardless these close friendships were to last a lifetime. Though it was surprising how short those lifetimes became. Within 10 years my very small circle of buddy’s would be gone.
It was the Vietnam Era, my number came up. I entered the service to do my duty. Returning four years later, I found many things had changed while I was gone. A close friend employed by the railroad right after graduating had been injured on the job. As a quadriplegic his life was over before it got started, he died 15 yrs later. Next was my best friend, we’d been buddy’s since 8th grade. Suffering an epileptic seizure he chocked and was gone. Just as a successful business career was taking off his life was cut short. A few years later the last of my teenage buddy’s suffered a heart attack and slipped away. He had rheumatic fever as a youngster and had lived with a damaged heart throughout our friendship.
A couple of my other friends survived these years, but they just weren’t the same. Two that had done time in the military came back forever changed. One was hooked on drugs, the other had seen and done things in the Army that left him mentally wounded beyond repair. My final friend found solace in the bottom of the beer bottle.
This past summer upon receiving notice of our pending 40th year High School Reunion thoughts of those long gone returned. With all my friends being gone once again I saw no need to attend. This year with the magic of the internet and it’s wealth of information a Reunion Website was established. Contacting everyone from a class as large as ours must have been a huge task. Now with 40 years gone by, it’s inevitable that some have failed to survive that test of time. It was truly disheartening to find that more then 25 of my classmates have already passed on.
From this time on it quickly becomes an endurance test, who will be the lucky one to make it to the end. Human nature has us all reading the morning obituary to see who is proceeding us to the Pearly Gates. Where you placed on the scholastic honor list or how high you ranked on the social registry has very little to do with how you will score on this final exam. All the studying and last minute cramming for an exam will do little to improve your final score. Making it to the number one position in your High School Graduating Class will be simply a matter of chance. The Last Man Standing will be determined by a much higher power, you won’t have much input on that class ranking.