Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why Attend Your High School Reunion?

Can you guess our school colors?

Why would a person go to his reunion? After all he hasn’t seen most of his classmates since they graduated forty years ago. He’s forgotten many of their names. And the names he’d recognize wouldn’t fit the faces he’d see.
          So why drive over a thousand miles to spend one weekend with a bunch of old people who would only remind him that he’s old too?
          Well, for one reason, I was curious. How have I held up compared to the rest of my classmates? Where would I rank as far as looking and feeling our age?
          Curious too about what my peers had done in the intervening forty years since we tossed our mortarboards in the air.
          I’m less than a week removed from discovering the answers.
          And here they are.

          The years have been kind to many and hard on a few. For the most part though, I had a hard time telling the difference between my fellow ’73 grads and our former teachers whom we’d invited as our guests. My goodness, I hope I don’t look that old.
          There’s also something both weird and intriguing to be in a room where, if a person said, “How old do you think I am?” I could guess his or her age within a year. That is … as long as I remembered how old I was. If I have trouble remembering my age, my oh-so-much-younger-than-me wife is more than willing to remind me.
          One classmate had become a teacher and a basketball coach. Wes smiled as he related that he’d given up coaching after he learned a tough lesson. If the head football coach gets fired, all the coaches have to start looking for another job. After he learned that lesson, he settled into simply teaching history so he and his family wouldn’t be uprooted every few years.
          Another classmate continues to work as an undercover police officer. I asked Gary how he could stay undercover in our hometown of 60,000, and he said, “I make sure my new connections have no connection with my previous busts.”
          By the end of our reunion weekend, I had heard many interesting stories and discovered plenty of reasons to clear my schedule for our 45th reunion. Thanks to the myriad conversations around drinks and dinner tables, I’d revived pleasant memories, remembered forgotten names, and restored lost relationships.

T. Neal Tarver, a native Texan living in Wisconsin, has served churches in Texas and Wisconsin. He, his wife Ellen, and son Daniel lived and worked for three years as missionaries in the Russian Far East. Tom speaks enough Russian to both converse and confuse.

In 2011, Tom was selected as a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest. He’s also been a two-time winner of MBT’s “Make Every Word Count Flash Fiction” contest. His debut novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, is available through WestBow Press, Amazon, BARNES & NOBLE, and other retail outlets.

He currently writes from his home in Richland Center, Wisconsin, and serves as the pastor of three rural Wisconsin churches. He posts articles at his website,  A Curious Band of Others, and is a regular contributor to Geezer Guys and Gals.

Tom has spoken in churches across America, and in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.



Ed Crumley said...

Good one, Tom. I went to my 40th but not my 50th because they had upped the ticket price, I believed, more than the inflation rate.

Liz Flaherty said...

My 45th is in a week or two. I always enjoy them. I think the egos pretty much went on their way along about the 20th or the 25th and we all seem to be getting older at about the same rate.

TNeal said...

This was my 1st reunion to attend so, after 40 years, I was happy to spend the time and money to see old friends. I'm thankful that I had already gone through a minor culture shock when I met a few of my fellow grads a few years earlier. We've all changed but some more so than others.