40th Reunion

View from the far side of the recliner

Looks like it is going to be the reunion. Need to write this while I can still remember.

First thing. There were a number of people who worked long and hard to make the reunion happen, even putting their own money down to secure the event before anyone else paid anything. So if you are reading this, Thanks you did a great job.

Before the Big Event

I had to get cleaned up, got my hair cut, took care of the nose and ear hair myself. Didn’t have that in high school. Straining to look in the mirror made me think, maybe our eyesight gets worse as we age so we can’t see the wrinkles.

Looking Back

This reunion got me thinking about things I hadn’t thought about in years. For the people that I only knew for the four years of high school, forty years is like ten high school experiences since we’ve seen each other. I remember a few classes that seemed like forty years. I don’t know how many students graduated with me but I did meet a really nice girl next to me whose last name began with “B” also. In four years of school we had never met. It was not a one room school house. A flashback to freshman year. The school was so crowded that we were on double sessions. Six AM first class for me for two years. Freshman had to share lockers. I shared with a guy I knew in middle school. Mark S. was precocious when it came to illegal substances. That’s not why we were friends. One time I had pain and muscle relaxant pills in the locker that I had for a sports injury. I didn’t like taking them but noticed one day that they weren’t in the locker. I asked Mark if he knew where they were. He said that he sold them because I wasn’t using them. I don’t know what else Mark was selling out of our locker. Looking back, that could have turned out really bad.

I did go to one other reunion, I think the 10th. A few things struck me from that weekend. Some people hadn’t changed much. There was this one guy who was really nice, jovial even and kind of big around the middle. He had gotten even bigger around the middle and had married a woman who was just as round, just as nice and even jovial! A good friend of mine hit it off with his ex-wife, ending up in her hotel room. They were both in relationships, she was married. This caused trouble in two states.  A woman showed up alone on the dressed up night in an amazing dress. I don’t even remember if she was wearing shoes, or had feet. She was stunning! Nobody, male or female seemed to know who she was. Several yearbooks were quickly scanned with no hits. Maybe she was from a different high school and just came over to mess with us. Or maybe got lost looking for model tryouts. There was a list of our classmates that had died. There weren’t many. There was probably more that had been in prison and one or two in both groups.

Back to the future, thirty years later

Getting ready

I almost felt retro acne coming on. Time to put the nice shirt on. Suck in the belly and stand up tall (tall for me that is). I kind of hope they play “Stairway to Heaven”. Guess I’ll find out what effect 40 years and gravity have on people. Forty years probably doesn’t seem like much to a Giant Tortoise. Then again they are born wrinkled and toothless and never bother to change.

Being There

There weren’t any people that I had been close to or even knew really well of the fifty or so folks. It seemed that a lot of the people were connected through the school band. They seemed to be a close group back in high school and apparently had good memories of those days. The jocks (of which I was a very minor player) with the concussions probably didn’t have good memories of anything. Nor did the stoners. I did met some very nice people. I might actually check in on Facebook with a couple of them. It is a small world (not the Disney song please!). One of my classmates dragged her cousin who is four years younger and went to another high school on the other side of Phoenix to the reunion. I don’t think she knew anyone else. We ended up sitting next to each other during the festivities. (It was murder mystery dinner theatre which is way too difficult for me to explain, not having been in any school plays.) We ended up talking a lot and it turns out that we both live in Flagstaff. She is a nurse at the hospital and I’m a PT (hypnotherapist too) we know of a lot of people in common. Interesting connection, a classmate that I don’t remember ever meeting bringing her cousin to a reunion with a lot strangers to meet someone who lives in the same town.

One last thing. On my way out I looked at the list of classmates that had died. There were so many names spread out over four decades, it seemed like it happened all at once. There was a moment of shock and sadness, remembering many of the people as teenagers which they were the last time I saw them. I did know more people on the list better in high school than I knew the people in the room. Some did die young, but we are in our late fifties so inevitably death gets more frequent. I would have liked to see some of them to see how they turned out instead of seeing their names listed like a graduation program, in alphabetical order but now with their final graduation date next to the name.

Next week I’ll write about something. I’m not sure what yet but it will be something.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Don Berlyn