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50 Years After ~ my column from Sunday's paper

The phone rang this past week. It was an old classmate from high School. She told me it was time to plan our 50th high school reunion. Through the years, I’ve had many calls about upcoming reunions. But this one was different. It took a moment to wrap my mind around what I was hearing. How could it be possible that 50 years have passed since graduation? 

When I placed the phone receiver back in the cradle, I sat for a long while letting the revelation sink in a little deeper.

The wheels of my office chair squeaked a little as I rolled to the bookshelf and pull my 1968 high school Annual from the bottom row. I blew a thin layer of dust from the jacket before taking a slow trip back through time.

Flipping to the senior portraits, I thumbed slowly to the W’s section. There on page 23 was my smiling face. I had hair! The younger me seemed to be staring at something far into the
distance. I wish I remembered what it was.

If you looked through this annual, you wouldn’t find me in the sports section, the Beta Club, or the class favorites. There is a picture of me in the section on the senior play. My role was Homer Hollowbone. Also, in the Who’s Who section. Under the picture of me, and classmate Jeanette Cummings was the heading, “Best Personality.” I’d forgotten that.  They probably never saw me on a snarky day. 

Looking at the old annual made me smile, but in scanning the faces, I saw many classmates that are no longer with us. Each reunion, the deceased list grows longer.

Before I closed the annual, I turned back to page 23 and had another look at my 17-year-old self. I was so clueless back then. 

In 1968, I thought I had all the answers. I knew college was in my future. Afterward, I would get a job, get married, and buy a home. Most of those things happened but not like I thought they would. In reflection, I didn’t even understand the questions in 1968. 

It never occurred to me that there would be so many curves. There were times when I came to a fork in the road, and I had no idea which way to turn. Sometimes I turned right and sometimes I turned wrong. There are no roadmaps for life’s journey, but the path led me to where I am today.  

Even though I wasn’t a stellar student, high school was a fairly good experience for me. I had good, caring teachers, and made some friendships that lasted. But high school was not a fond memory for everyone.

After graduation, I stayed in contact with some of my friends and classmates. Others, I only see at Walmart or funerals.  

As for reunions, some people enjoy the experience. But for others, they are more painful. Some wounds never heal.

Stepping into the kitchen, I penciled the date for the upcoming reunion. It will be interesting to see my old classmates and hearing what’s going on in their lives.

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on You can contact him via email at [email protected].

This post first appeared on Life 101, please read the originial post: here

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50 Years After ~ my column from Sunday's paper


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