Class Reunion-ed

It felt a little bit like being the new kid arriving at a new school on the first day, except I walked in with my wife who has walked with me for the last 43 years. Coming back together with the men and women, who used to be the guys and young ladies, I had graduated from high school with was a “new experience in oldness.”

The last class reunion I had attended of the Ironton, Ohio Class of 1972, was 25 years ago at, coincidentally, our 25 year reunion. My family was still living in Michigan at the time, still two years away from taking the family van and possessions to Colorado Springs.

What an awesome experience it was to gather with those I had roamed the hallways with, attempted to be educated with, and circled the high school track with. Despite our advanced ages now, most of us had the remnants of our youth still rising to the surface of our faces. The waist sizes of a long-gone day had disappeared, but not our enthusiasm for being back together.

Two of our classmates wore their high school cheerleading and majorette jackets. As I stood for a picture with them, arms around each other, I said it was closest I had ever been able to get to a cheerleader and a majorette. They thought about punching me in the arm, but considered my fragileness and just hugged me instead.

Classmates who had gone to the same elementary school (Back then there were 7 of them in Ironton!) together gathered to reenact their grade school class pictures. Stories that are now golden in years were retold, hugs held onto, and two-person selfies were the thing. Two of my classmates whose wedding ceremonies I had officiated in the distant past, and who had both been standing next to me when I was saying my wedding vows, were there. I get choked up just thinking about it. It may have been 40 years since the three of us had been together.

As I had hoped, at this reunion our conversations did not dwell on achievements, popularity, and how important each person was, but rather how important relationships are, the memories of our teachers, and how blessed we are to be able to gather together. We talked of those who had passed on and the disappointment of not seeing some of our formers who hadn’t made it to the festivities. Two of our classmates had joined together in marriage about four years before. The husband of one of them had passed away. Some time after his passing the other former classmate had contacted his widowed classmate. As they told me of their journey, tears began to come to the brims of our eyes. With total sincerity, she looked at me and said, “He saved me!”

It epitomized the weekend. Two people reuniting, one in need of a hand to grasp and one willing to lift her up from the wounds of the journey.

Reunion-ed.

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