50TH Class Reunion

Yesterday I mailed my registration back to Ohio for my high school class reunion that takes place this October. It’s been fifty years since the Ironton High School Class of 1972 gathered in Tank Memorial Stadium on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon to culminate our time with that red-bricked institution. Each one of us, 212 in all, marched in, tried to look grown-up and worthy of the occasion, and, about 90 minutes later, marched out again.

And now, some of those same eighteen-turned-sixty-eight-year-olds, will gather once again to see how old we look, ask how life has been treating us, remember those who are no longer with us, and laugh about where life has taken us. There will no longer be a need to impress one another with our resumes, make the latest fashion statement, and use the popularity card. Instead, there will be the sharing of grandkid pictures, the showing of surgery scars, and gasping about cholesterol levels.

A few will drink too much and, potentially, say some things that will cause most of us to find a different area of the banquet hall to drift toward. The spouses present who are not from Ironton will find each other, like soccer moms gathered together on the sidelines watching their kids playing.

There will be a hint of sadness in the room, as we realize there has been a loss of what was and seeing what is. We’ll view the absence of youth and the emergence of our senior years (a different type of senior years). It won’t be as striking for those from the area who have lived in the area their whole lives, but for those of us who have lived elsewhere, it will be painfully obvious and a bit depressing.

We’ll get over it! The stories will begin to be told and retold of the stupid things we did, the conspiracies of a few of us who looked to prank the administration, and the rumors about our teachers that we have turned into even more whoppers in the five decades since we last saw them. And, quite frankly, we had some doozies for teachers. The memory of them has stayed vivid within our minds.

I’m looking forward to seeing people who helped shape me, who I could count on to be there for me, guys of character and grace.

And two days later, my wife and I will return to our lives, our kids and grandkids, and the reality of what our lives usually entail. It will be nice to visit IHS, but we know we can no longer live there.

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