Archive for Thursday, October 1, 2009

High school reunion math is inescapable

October 1, 2009

I got a letter the other day. Members of my high school class are asked to gather in a Prairie Village park in mid-October for a sort of potluck mini-reunion.

I say mini-reunion because the big Reunion, with a capital R, won’t be until next year.

Can it really have been 49 years since we walked across that stage? As hard as it may be to believe, the math is inescapable.

Despite looking through all the pages on the class Web site, I couldn’t find the number who actually graduated from Shawnee Mission North in 1960. My recollection is that more than 600 of us began the march into the future.

The years, of course, have been kinder to some of us than to others. Quite a few of us have fallen by the wayside. That started, really, in the first summer after graduation, when we heard that one classmate was killed in an automobile accident. Another died the next year as the result of a football injury.

Then came Vietnam. According to the Roll of Honor on the class Web site, only one member of the Class of 1960 died in Vietnam, but at least 33 of us served there. (That’s how many are listed on the Web site – there may be others.) One, Charlie Plumb, a Navy flier, was a prisoner of war; another, Richard Myers, an Air Force F-4 pilot, would later serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In the early years, class members were more likely to die as a result of traffic accidents. Lately, as we’ve passed into our 60s, illness has begun to extract a heavier toll.

I attended our 10-year reunion, but then I lost touch for several years, until about the time of the 40th reunion. I was unable to attend that time, or the next one, the 45th, but one thing struck me as a looked at the pictures on the Web: Those people are old!

Of course, if they are old then what does that say about me? I don’t like to admit my advancing age, but I confess there are times when I feel every one of those years.

I tore the reply card off the bottom of the letter and sent it in. The whole exercise got me to thinking about those times, and about all that’s happened in the 49 years since we walked across that stage at the old stadium.

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