The emails are spinning at ninety miles an hour. My high school reunion in Eagle Lake, Texas is coming soon.
This weekend, while playing pickleball, I announced to some of my friends, “I’m going to my high school reunion!”
Some of them just returned my comment with, “A high school reunion? Why in the heck would you want to do that?”
The good ole days… Yeppers, hopscotch, with stolen chalk from the blackboards at the elementary school and the sun beating down, was how my buddies and I spent the last of each Indian summer. Without computers and color television, we drew the squares on the crumbling street of North McCarty Avenue and numbered them. The stones were easy to come by, along with the mud and the sticks it was, on the most part, pretty much all we had. Morton Parker, Terry Landry, John Pilkington, Freddie Walker and I learned to be creative with our rhymes, and to be honest, they got ruder each year that passed. We all grew older, our minds expanded from the teachers, Mrs. Munford, Mrs. Wyatt, Mrs. Booth and, oh yes, Mrs. Kveton.
The streets crumbled more and more, but always the chalk was stolen, and the stones were free.
High school can evoke certain memories of cliques and hormone-infused drama, memorizing dates in Mister Eberhart’s history class, of diagramming sentences in Mrs. Elizabeth Boothe’s class, or “run harder and harder” in Coach Newby’s after school football practice. Then, let’s not forget Mrs. Jones class and how the desks scattered because of a rat. At least that’s what Terry Landry and Tony Contreras told our teacher, Mrs. Jones. Loueva will tell a different story. Yours truly, Vice President of the Student Council, was told by our classmate Kathy’s dad, Principal Victor Scott, that was no way to set an example for other students. Oh, and yes, who was it that stuck bubble gum in our English teacher, Elizabeth Boothe’s key hole in her classroom door and class had to be dismissed after lunch.
High school seemed interminable and was something we all endured with gritted teeth while we counted the days until graduation. With caps and gowns in hand, we finally marched down the isle in the auditorium away from our past and into adulthood. But, first, we had to spend the night watching the sun come up on Surfside Beach skinny dipping with several bottles of Jack Daniels on the hood of my 1954 Ford. Not for publication, but I am sure all those who attended that celebration will never forget it. Lol.
My classmates and I had promising futures about to unfold. Getting a new job, going off to college, the military… We all knew we would make new friends, but at the same time were resisting letting go of the ties that bound us all.
Fifty years later, we know the years fly by faster than one can possibly imagine. And, with it, each decade comes more and more knowledge and wisdom. With it, a bit more sentimentality.
We all have experienced the ups and downs of what life has to offer. Getting married, divorces, illnesses, and unusual lifestyle choices. There’s been joys and tragedies aplenty. Our parents have come and gone for the most part. Bereavements. We have been through lifestyle events. We have children. We have grandchildren, and we’ve made friends and lost some friends.
At our last reunion, we hugged each other and were reminded once again of two realities. We are mostly the same person we were in high school. And, our high school friends know that and love us anyway!
It is so reassuring that in the world where there are so many uncertainties, there are some things that stay the same. Don’t tell anyone, but the real color of my hair is known only by my hairdresser. Oh, made a mistake, I don’t have any hair any longer… Looks may change, but people don’t. Each of us on April 28th this month will look at each other and see the person we knew so long ago. With a large rush of memories that are so much fun to share… such memories more precious the older we get!
We, again, will leave each other with promises to get together soon, maybe more often than every ten years.
And, if we don’t, there is always the 60th reunion to look forward, too 😊
(I dedicate this blog to William Brunner, Terry Causey, Robert Mason, Josh Ashton and family friend and Principal Victor Scott along with the others I failed to know about who will not be joining us this month…)
Sidney St. James