It finally happened, this weekend…my 50th class reunion.
How does that many years go by… when it feels like only yesterday I were signing yearbooks on a warm May afternoon, wishing everyone… “Good luck,” “I’ll never forget you!” And, “Stay in touch.”
Even Elvis, joined us!
As I made my way to the first event on Friday evening, I checked my hair one last time, made sure I had enough concealer in the right places, sucked in my tummy, and walked through the door to a room filled with old friends who could have cared less about my appearance.
That Friday evening, as I scanned the group it took a while before I recognized familiar faces. Somehow it was harder to identify the men from our class. Guys don’t mess around with hair color, makeup or spanks… so I had to put on my cheaters to make the IDs.
It was like time had melted away. We picked up where we’d left off, in the days of Beatlemania, flipped up collars, and bouffant hairdos.
Conversations began with a hug, and then the questions…
“Remember when we?”
“Do you still go to the same church?”
“Are you still married to……?”
“What ever happened to ….?”
How many children, grandchildren, and in some cases, great-grandchildren do you have?
We three started out together at Star School in rural Iowa.Top photo L-R Jan Crile Baumann, me, Kathleen Crile Klopfenstein
My mother took this picture of us, probably on the first day of school, first grade 1952. We didn’t do Kindergarten back then, at least not in the rural school. L-R, me, Janice, and Kathleen. FYI…Janice was our Valedictorian!
Saturday night was the official “swarae.” We were issued name tags upon signing-in. Our high school graduation photo along with our (then) names were displayed on each.
I decided mingling was a good way to casually glance at a name tag, and put a face with a (then) name.
One of my first encounters was my 7th grade crush. We hugged and had a great time remembering our fledgling romance. I as recalled, he asked a friend… to ask a friend… to ask me, if I’d wear his ring. We both had a good laugh and continued to catch up as his sweet wife indulged us in this silly moment.
Reuniting with old classmates who made the trip back, evoked sentimental emotions. We were all grown up now, with experience etched across our faces. No popular cliques huddled together on this night. We were all just happy to see each other and get acquainted once again.
Girlfriends I’d spent much of my teen years with, and boys who’d rode my bus, played football, and sat in the same classes with me filled the room with chatter and shouts of recognition. Seeing everyone together like that, flooded my mind with nostalgia—a movie reel in my head, of our younger selves. It was as if we were back in the old gymnasium again, dancing under the homemade decorations for Homecoming or the Prom.
The class of 1964, fifty-two of us, gathered from coast to coast and everywhere in-between, to commemorate our passage from high school to the world of higher education, farming, business, marriage, and military service.The paths we traveled were as varied as the threads in a tapestry. But on this night, it didn’t matter. We embraced and connected once again to each other and our roots.
We mourned and celebrated those classmates who left us too soon. Thirty in all—they were remembered and missed! Their young faces looked back at us, reminding all how precious our time was together, and how quickly it might vanish.
As in most situations, those who stayed in our home community planned, coordinated, communicated, decorated, and made this reunion the best I can recall.
They have carried the torch for those of us who left our small Iowa community and made the effort to keep us connected over the years.
God willing, we will meet again in five years!