Sunday, May 18, 2008

. . . considered class reunions

I have never made an issue of my age . . . I'm not ashamed of being 57 years old. . . I still feel like I'm about 16 most of the time. So it's no big deal that I announce here that my 40th class reunion is next weekend. I graduated in 1968 -- what a year to come of age in the US -- in a class of 54 students, in a town of 2,500 people. I think most kids from my town probably knew about the social upheaval that occurred, especially that year, in the rest of the world. But I think most of us didn't participate in it, for whatever reasons. Of course we saw evidence of the "counterculture" in Lawrence, at KU, where culture got as counter as you could find in Kansas. Yeah, we knew MLK had been shot but there were no race issues in my town because there were no people of any color other than white. And yeah, Bobby was killed and Rosie Grier was there with him; that was certainly a scary time. Later that year, the gym at Kansas State University, where I was a freshman, was burned under suspicious circumstances. . . and a kid from NYC who lived in my dorm claimed to have something to do with it, but we didn't really believe him. We just knew we got to go home for Christmas vacation earlier, without taking finals, because of "campus unrest." Some kids in town grew long hair, formed garage bands, played at being hippies, and discovered the easy availability of drugs, but I personally preferred the beer at the Main Gate back when you could drink at age 18. So basically, history missed me altogether. This was certainly brought home to me when I returned to college five years ago to finish my degree. . . what I lived through and remembered is now being taught in college. WOW

Okay, I'm rambling here. I can't decide whether to attend this reunion or not. It's being held at the home of one of my classmates, Sharon, who lives right on the main street of town. Sharon was probably as close as our town came to someone who embraced all aspects of the 60s. One of my other classmates, Gary, has set up a nice website for the Class of 1968. A lot of the boys in my class have lost a lot of hair. A lot of the girls in my class have gained a lot of weight. Some moved away to California (Owen) or Chicago (Bob) or Texas (Merilee); some moved away to Topeka or Kansas City; some moved away and came back; some never left, and a surprising few have died (Quentin and David.) My mother and my sisters-in-law generally keep me updated.

If I can figure out why I don't want to go to this reunion, then maybe I can overcome it and attend. I'm still undecided. I think I don't want to be reminded that we are all getting old, we're grandparents, and we are not indestructable like we were in 1968. I somewhat want to remember the potential in us as graduating seniors, as opposed to the reality that is 40 years later.

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