Sunday, August 19, 2012

High School Reunion

Last night, a bunch of we baby boomers gathered and shmoozed about our fifth grade teachers, teenage cavorting, and the evolution of our lives.  I've been to these reunions before and am now used to it, but when I first attended I was surprised at how friendly even peripheral acquaintances were, and how much fun it was to spend an evening in the past.

Some folks who have not been coming to previous ones were there last night; one woman made the trek to suburban NY from Alaska, and several others came from the left coast.

Usually when I go anywhere now, hand held smart phones are omnipresent and you cant seem to have a conversation with anyone without people yanking out their mini computers to check on who might have reached them.  Last night the only times I saw one of those gizmos was when a buddy checked on the Jets/Giants score, and at another time when we were trying to remember the first name of one of our former teachers.

The list of the dead, very predictably, has not gotten any shorter.  A fellow who, very ironically always appears to be happy and up prepares this list each time we gather.  At the end of the night I was glancing at it and was startled to read about those who have passed in the last few years.  There were photos of clustered reunioners being taken all night. At one point a photo was taken of a group of us where the list and paper was in the picture.  One of the women in our crew insisted on another shot, where the list was not in evidence.

For the most part the people who attend these soirees are in good spirits and have sweet tales to tell about how they have evolved. It is a joy to listen to them talk, without pretention (often minimizing) professional and personal accomplishments.  A highlight last night was bumping into a couple who had met in 10th grade, married, and have stayed together with their many children and grandchildren over years spanning the Johnson and Obama administrations.

It seems to me to be a healthy thing now and again to stop your weekly patterns and place your life and activities in the context of your history.  For me these reunions not only are opportunities to reconnect and allow inaccurate but lingering perceptions of others dissolve, but also as a fuel for healthy introspection.

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