Monday, October 6, 2014

Reunion Recap - Final Snapshots

 As a friend said, “The entire weekend flew by in a blur.” It did for me, too. Yet special moments stand out. Here are a few of those. I have changed the names to preserve the identities of those involved, but some of my classmates may recognize the individuals.
I first talked to him several months before the reunion when he was still in the hospital recovering from a major stroke. Even though his voice was weak, he said he’d be there if he could. He’d come to all the previous reunions, and I was sure he’d make it to this one if it were at all possible. We worked with his son to get him there, even though he’s now confined to a wheelchair.

Late in the evening on Saturday night, I looked at the dance floor where Vic’s son pushed him around while several of the most popular girls held his hand and danced with him. No other lighting was required in the room because the glow on his face lit up the place.

If he had been the only person there, all the hard work of the previous months would have been worthwhile.

Marion and I have known each other since grammar school when we discovered we shared a birthday. I spoke to her a week or so before the reunion, and she said she probably wouldn’t attend. However, I talked her into going.

On Sunday morning, I spotted Wade. He had been very generous to the committee, and I hadn’t had a chance to thank him. I talked to him for a few minutes and gave him a hug. Then I went over and sat next to Marion to ask if she was glad she’d come.

But she couldn’t take her eyes off Wade. “Who’s that?”

I told her his name.

“Tell me about him.”

Since he and I’d had many classes together in high school, I knew him pretty well and always considered him one of the ‘nice guys.’ In fact, I told her he’d have met my requirements for someone I’d have been interested in if I weren’t already married—and I am, happily, thank God. He’s extremely smart and just as nice. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also quite good-looking.

I encouraged her to go talk to him.

“But I didn’t know him in school.”

“So what? Just introduce yourself.” I practically shoved her toward him. And she went.

Later in the morning as we were leaving, I noticed they were still talking…

We had dinner with them a week or so ago. They reminded me of teenagers. They are obviously crazy about each other, but are taking it slowly. They look very happy together.

If the event only served to bring together these two people I like very much—both singularly and as a couple—then all the planning and work was worth it.

Both of these people were on the fringes during high school. Chas was a dear friend, but his mother died, and he left the school in his senior year. We communicated for a while, but what with moving and the passage of time, we lost touch.

Valerie worked closely with me while planning the reunion, and her friendship was probably the best gift I received from all the effort.

Both of these friends live out of the area. Valerie stayed with us for a few days before and after the reunion, and Chas stayed with another classmate who lives in the area. We spent Sunday afternoon and most of the day Monday with them.

Reuniting with one old friend and spending time with another old/new one was totally worth the time and effort it took to make the occasion happen.

We’d spent some time with Terry before the reunion since he lived close to us and we enjoyed reminiscing. My overall impression was that he seemed quite lonely.

Not long before the reunion, he called and said he had asked an ‘old friend’ to come as his guest. Her high school wasn’t having a 50th reunion celebration, so he had suggested she share ours. Another classmate was married to a fellow from her school, so they could celebrate their reunion during ours.

When they arrived, I discovered they had been college sweethearts but had gone their separate ways when they left school. The affection between the two of them had clearly survived the years. They had run into each other accidentally a couple of weeks earlier.

We spent some time with the two of them after the reunion, and apparently, they’re still seeing each other since I saw a photo of them together recently on Facebook.

To see these two clearly happy together has made me very happy.

Right up until the last minute, we weren’t sure Donny would be able to make it. He’s battling a particularly aggressive form of cancer, and has been in a great deal of pain. Traditional methods have been ineffective, so he is currently undergoing experimental treatment.

Yet there he was, smiling and clearly enjoying himself. Seeing him was truly a blessing for those who knew and remembered him. And none of us would have missed the opportunity to give him a hug. We continue to keep him in prayer.

I went to grammar school with Katie. She was a neighbor, and we went through Girl Scouts together. She married her high school sweetheart, another member of our class.

About a month before the reunion, she messaged me on Facebook to tell me her husband had a brain tumor and wasn’t doing well. I told her I’d pray for both of them.

Two weeks before the reunion, I woke with a strong feeling I should call her to see how she was doing. That day got away from me, but I called the next day.

“How did you know?” she said when she answered.

I began to cry. “I didn’t.” He had died the morning before. She said she’d cancel her reservation, but I told her we’d already turned in the final count to the hotel.

“Just wait until the day of the reunion and decide then.” We talked—and cried—for a long time. As we hung up, I reminded her, “We lost him, too. He was also one of ours.”

I was thrilled when she walked into the hotel on Saturday morning. We hugged and cried again. At the party, she sat at our table with a couple of other old grammar school friends. Later in the evening, we took a grammar school photo, and she was able to smile.

I hope being there was good for her. I know for sure that seeing her was a blessing for those of us who have known them both since our school days.

Many other special memories of that evening flit in and out of my mind. I only had room for a few of them here, but many, many more warm my heart and make me smile.

Would I do it all again? Heck, yes! How about in five years?


  1. Replies
    1. The photos are posted on the class website: Thanks for asking!