A few weeks ago I went to Lindsborg for homecoming weekend and attended my 50th class reunion. Almost everything which can be said about a class reunion has been said so many times it is totally trite. However, clichés become clichés because they are true.
Classmates I had seen from time to time over the years did not appear particularly old to me. Some had white hair or a few wrinkles, but I had become accustomed to them, just as I’ve got used to the ones I see in the mirror. When I spotted someone I had not seen for nearly 50 years, I often thought, “My gosh, she looks old!” Of course, she was no doubt thinking the same thing about me, even though I have barely noticed myself getting old.
At our 40th reunion 10 years ago, a classmate and I were wending our way to the “fifth quarter” where alumni gather to reminisce after the football game. We met another classmate, who said, “Oh, I didn’t stay long there. There was nobody there but a lot of old people.”
I bit my tongue and managed not to say, “Have you looked in a mirror lately? What do you think we are?”
I have always loved class reunions. It is hard for me to understand why anybody who is not bedfast does not go to his/her class reunion. I thoroughly enjoy seeing people I did not even like when I was in school, and I think that is true of most of my classmates. After all, they seemed to enjoy seeing me. The older we get the more we mellow out. Remarks I would have found insulting in my young days are now funny. Nobody is hung up any longer on things like who drives the best cars, dresses in the most fashionable clothes or stayed as thin as she was in college. Okay, maybe that last one we notice!
The college compiled a memory book to which we could submit pages summarizing the last 50 years of our lives. I am thoroughly miffed with those who did not bother to participate, but it is still a great keepsake. I can catch up on children and grandchildren, career triumphs and exciting travels. Don’t ask why anybody will read mine, which contains none of those.
It is also fun to “remember when.” Our senior year the Young Democrats’ float in the homecoming parade consisted of a hillbilly couple in a Model T Ford followed by a new automobile and the slogan, “It’s time for a change.” Lately I had been cudgeling my brain to remember who rode with me in the Model T. Larry Danielson was able to inform me that it was Doug Elwood — a big load off my mind.
The Bethany class of 1961 is still “in the black,” so to speak. Thirty-eight of us are still living, and only 32 are dead. We all applied balm to our fears by pointing out that we could not remember many on the deceased list. They must have been older people who came back to complete degrees. Many of us had suffered the death of spouses also. The silver lining to that cloud was a classmate who had been widowed for 14 years, but who was now very happily remarried.
A couple of my classmates invited me to stay in their home, so I would not have to drive home at night. We had extra time to visit that way as well. When you are old enough for a 50th reunion of your college class, the night driving is a serious consideration, so I really appreciated the Hardings.
All in all, it was the most enjoyable weekend I’ve experienced in a long time. If your high school or college class has a major reunion coming up, do not let anything prevent you from going. To use doubtlessly outdated slang, class reunions are a hoot!