The venue was great. The event was held on a large farm owned by classmates who married after HS. They have a lot of huge farm equipment, a crop dusting plane and a helicopter. The latter was in operation for most of the time of the reunion because R. was giving rides to anyone who wanted to go. He and his wife A. had set up many tables in their plane hanger and each was decorated with chrysanthemums. The photos will speak to the event much better than my words.
So many people would come over and shake my hand or give me a hug, recognizing me after all these years. I have to say that more people recognized me than I them. Loss of hair and weight gain made it hard for me to tell who most were. I had to look at the name and the photo on the badges. I still have hair and haven't changed much in weight. I apparently got taller too! What mattered was that once we recognized each other, there was sheer joy.
I saw several of my old teachers. Mrs. P. who taught me algebra, geometry and trig was there. And I talked to my former political science and government teacher. I am grateful for the good education I received from them and others. Mrs. P. was tough and had old school gentility. She wasn't a particularly likable person, but I found out later that she had a difficult husband and her only child who was a wild fellow, died in an accident. Knowing the burdens that others have makes it easier to understand their behavior.
I saw my old girlfriend from HS and some other ladies that I dated. My former girlfriend came up behind me and put her arms around me. It was nice to talk with her and find out about her life. She has twin boys and lives in California. I also talked to another lady who has known me since first grade! We had a great time laughing about the adventures we had growing up. She remembered that I would keep trying to crawl out of the classroom in first grade and that I stood in the corner a lot!
Several of my classmates have died--some by suicide. The girl that I took to the prom my senior year killed herself a few years ago. A memorial table had been set up for those who died. That was a nice touch and a reminder that I'm glad to still be here.
I went to this event with low expectations, and I came away with a wonderful feeling of friendship. I made amends to those that I thought I had wronged. I don't care that most of these people have different political or religious views or that they didn't go to college. We didn't talk about any of that. We just shared what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now--just telling our stories to each other and connecting in a good way. I've already signed up to go to the next one!
And here are some photos from my home town. So glad to know that I can go home again.
|near the Court House|
|Looking north on Main Street|
|The old Ordinary (or tavern) dating to the 1700's|
|The old library where I checked out so many books|
|The former drug store where I read comics|
|One of the old places that I remember, badly in need of restoration now|