Tuesday, February 17, 2015
[Note: This year (2015) is the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation. I thought there would be a wonderful gala held in my hometown, but there does not seem to be a shared sentiment among some of my 530 classmates. A few want to have a casual meet/greet in some hotel 1500 miles away from where this event should be held. So I write this piece in the effort to convince them to think about a 50th reunion in the hope that they will attain a bit more clarity on the issue.]
The 50th high school reunion is special.
It is important that we have it and important that we attend.
And it is important that it be held where it SHOULD be held... where we all were when last all together; where one part of our lives stopped and the rest of our lives started.
There will not be a 55th or 60th... because no one goes to those... because there is not much reason to.
The 50th is a rite of passage. It is a true milestone. It is a tradition that generations before us have gone through. It is the "last hurrah" and a final "good-bye" to people that had an influence on our lives.
It is a last chance to re-live some of our salad days and past glories. It is a last chance to remember our youth and it is a last chance to put our lives in perspective vis-à-vis the trials and tribulations we have faced and have overcome... but have not forgotten.
A reunion gives us a chance one last time to look past the gray hair, the bulging waistlines, the age-spots, the wrinkles, and other loses of our physical youth and to collectively join together and celebrate lives well lived.
The 50th is not about showing off the status of occupation or the pride of children or the results of fortunes made (or lost.) This is not about bragging rights. This is not about the material world. It is not any of these.
The 50th is about the joy in our souls, the uplifting of our spirits, and the final opportunity to partake of the camaraderie and good fellowship of our old friends (and some old enemies) who helped make us what we are today (for better or worse.)
Here is a final chance to say "Look where we came from" and a chance to say "Look where we are." We have one last chance, one final opportunity, to talk about how it all happened, and maybe even "why."
So many people contribute to a life. We have spouses (often more than one), and we have children (often many,) and we have colleagues (long lists of them) but we only have one set of collective individuals who shared our childhood and early youth... who experienced what we experienced and who have a special commonality with us.
We're not getting older... we are already about as (mentally) old as we will get. No one wants to say it, but it is true. And while some can convince themselves that 65 is the new 45, damn few of us really believe it to be true... because it isn't.
Some of us will pass from this life soon, some a bit later, but one thing is certain: we are in the twilight of our days, in the autumn of our years.
If a life is a play we are all in Act 3, but this act won't run as long as Act 1 and Act 2. And when the show closes, it won't reopen again.
A 50th reunion is a chance to push back time, if only for a weekend... to, if not be young again, to at least feel young again through the shared smiles (and maybe tears) of our youth and from the memories of our town, home, school... our past... and maybe our better selves.
Why would you not want to attend your 50th reunion? Why would you want to have it where it doesn't belong... in some city far away from where the true heart wants to go... our home?
Knowing that sickness and death are not that far off, why would you not want to avail yourself of a chance to relive and enjoy a weekend defined by youth, vigor, optimism, in OUR town; in what we all probably feel was a better world than the one we will leave.
There are still good days ahead, although not as many as there are behind.
A weekend with old friends in the one place we all call home is something we should cherish and one we should look forward to. It isn't something we should minimize or avoid.
There is joy to be had here. There is happiness to be shared here. There are memories to remember, and songs of the heart to sing, and feelings of youth to again feel.
The 50th reunion is a magical event. It will never come again. Why you would not want to make the effort for this one last chance to remember and relive good times, better times, and important times, is beyond my comprehension.
Alan N. Canton, Publisher