Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Class of 1960 Reunion

When I first began talking about this class reunion, one of my blogger friends mentioned I should read author Harlan Coben's article about his 30-year reunion. I found it and recommend it to you.

I, of course, was attending a 50-year reunion. Even though the number still makes no sense to me (and most of my classmates agreed with that thought), and even though some of the group looked pretty darned young for folks closing in on 70 years old, a fact is a fact. We graduated in 1960.

After this much time passes, the playing field changes. Do we care who's smarter or who has more friends? Not so much. Who has lots of money and who's living on a budget? Since no one was bragging or whining, it apparently was of little interest.

And yet we talked and talked and talked. Every spare minute, different combinations of classmates gathered at tables in the hotel's breakfast room and talked. The lulls in the conversation were few and far between. It was informal and fun. It was warm. And from time to time it was touching.

What did we talk about? Some of the stupid things we did over the years. A lot about kids and grandkids. About our day to day activities. Our parents, both living and dead. Our health and the health of our spouses and other family members. Memories of our high school years (but mostly the dumb stuff and the mistakes we made).

Here are the things I noticed the most.

We were eager to discuss some of our life screw-ups. At times it felt like a competition of the most comic kind.

I felt I was in a group of old friends who met every week for coffee and conversation, even though many of us had not been in touch for years.

The spouses participated as though they had been our classmates too.

And finally, I realized that even though I knew and liked these men and women (I started to write "kids") during high school, I probably knew them better after this weekend than I did when we graduated or after the other two reunions I attended. And now I'm going to miss them more as well.

But most of us will now do a better job of staying in touch. And I'm definitely looking forward to that.


Jan Morrison said...

Patricia - this is lovely. I can see you all, yacking in the halls, your dear teenage selves still evident in more weathered wrapper.
Jan Morrison

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Patricia, I so know what you mean. I discovered a whole bunch of school mates after 20 years (not a re-union, we found each other on facebook), and there was no awkwardness at all. And today, I am closer to them than I ever was when we were in school.

So glad you had a good time. We want piccies soon- specially of the name tags you made.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I do have a camera load of photos to deal with, Rayna. Very soon.

And Jan, that chatting in the halls of the school happened as well. The current principal was trying his best to give us a tour, and we had so much to tell him and talk about amongst ourselves that I kept expecting him to bang on a desk and make us be quiet.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'll be away from my computer a good part of today and tomorrow, but I'll check in when I can. I hope everyone has a beautiful day.

Terry Odell said...

I recall my 20th -- by that point, most of the 'one-upmanship' was gone. And I'm excited to be adding a couple of days to my trip to the Emerald City Conference this weekend so I can spend some time with one of my dearest school friends.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Karen Walker said...

I've never been to a high school reunion, but yours sounds just wonderful, Patricia. How lovely to re-connect in even deeper ways than when you first knew each other. It's a very precious gift.

Amy Tate said...

I love this post! My husband and I ran into some old friends from school, and my husband commented on how much hair his friend had lost. I just chuckled because my husband has lost some as well. He replied, "But Amy, he really looks old!" I can only imagine what they must have thought of us, lol! I'm glad to know that the conversation eventually shifts toward the things that matter. Miss Patricia, the closer I get to turning 40, the more liberated I feel! Thanks for a great post!

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am so glad your reunion was so positive for you. It's always interesting to think about what's happened to people one knew in school, and how reassuring to know that there are people who, after a number of years, still remember one and are still interested in keeping in touch.

Anonymous said...

As the years past a different perspective of life and friends comes into focus. We recently had our 30 year reunion. Amazing how many people still smoke, drink like a fish, and are very much over weight. I hope to see them all at the enxt reunion. Three dies over the summer. Health issues. Could have been prevented.

Me, I'm taking much better care of myself and learning to love the unloveable. My perspectives are changing over time.

Stephen Tremp

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you had a good time. I've never attended a high school reunion. Maybe someday.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

It's lovely to meet up with old friends,
I do hope you keep in touch with as many as possible.

Take care.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is actually my third reunion. I attended the 25 year event, which was just our class. Then in 1996 the school had an all-school all-year gathering to celebrate its 75 years of existence. That one was a little too formal, including a banquet with lots of speeches. Let's see, that would mean the 100-year celebration will be in 2021, and I would be about 80. Hmmmm. I think we'd better have another class reunion instead (and sooner).

Anonymous said...

I never attended a high school reunion, but I can imagine getting to know people better in the present.

Kaye Barley said...

Patricia - LOVED reading this & can't wait to see the pictures. I'm such a fan of high school reunions and am already excited about my 45th which will happen next June.

GutsyWriter said...

I have never been to a class reunion, mainly because they don't seem to exist in the UK or the English School of Paris, which I attended.
I think that's wonderful you got along so well. Does everyone live close enough to you?

Patricia Stoltey said...

No, Sonia, our class came from all over the country, plus one from Hawaii and one from Nova Scotia. My husband and I live in Northern Colorado and we traveled to Illinois for the event (and that took two 9-hour days of driving each way). Next time, we'll fly.

June Calender said...

You summarize a 50th reunion very much as I would the one I attended a few years ago. And, indeed, we HAVE kept in touch. One woman sends a monthly update which, sadly has much illness and occasional deaths. But emails and get well cards flow [prayers too] between us which hadn't been the case all those 50 years. I find it a fascinating phenomenon and I'm happy to hear it happens to others.

Just found your blog. I'll be back.