Next weekend, I am attending my high school reunion. Many, many years have passed―more than I care to admit. I will be driving a relatively short distance, just 70 miles or so, to the place I forever consider my home and will be staying in the bedroom I shared―from my entry to kindergarten to graduation from high school―with an older sister. At just about the same time, we both moved to new digs. She got married, and I went to college. Until recently, my mother (Ma) lived upstairs, along with one of my three brothers, and other members of our family have occupied the downstairs. With Ma now playing “Pennies from Heaven” and other favorite songs on a piano in her celestial abode, returning home is no longer the same, but with family there, it is still very, very good.
For me, this upcoming trip requires no extensive travel arrangements, and I’m all set as far as attire, since that is not a primary concern. For any occasion, including this one, I simply put myself together and am presentable. After a glance in the mirror to adjust anything that might obviously be amiss, I move on.
Yet, this occasion, this milestone, this high school reunion does cause me to pause.
I think with gratitude about the preparation that so many classmates have put in to this event. Gary got the ball rolling and has kept it moving, encouraging and cajoling us to attend this gathering and to find and invite others, wherever they may have landed. Mary recruited her daughter to compile and post a contact list, which seemed to grow day by day. Didi created a website, with then and now pictures and stories. Janie and Bonnie collected funds to donate to our high school, which, like most schools today, can use financial help. Sara arranged a dinner in advance of the reunion. Alex started us thinking about the too-long list of classmates who are no longer living. He will make sure that they are remembered. Others have done their part to prepare a reunion that will be both meaningful and fun.
I think of how each of us has matured since those long-ago high school days. By now, we have learned a thing or two about life and what matters. We surely have something of value to offer to make this reunion a joyous occasion. Listen to the classmate you once overlooked. Say those kind words to someone who needs to hear them. Whatever arises, be of help and be of good cheer. With the many accomplishments of this fortunate class, be ready and willing to share and to give. Find a way to demonstrate your gratitude to the reunion planners―and those in attendance―with your own expression of generosity. I recently heard how at one reunion, each table had a form with trivia questions to involve guests who accompanied classmates and to keep the conversation lively. That’s something I can easily create and will do so this week.
I think of takeaways from this reunion. Sure, there will be photos, but there should be something more, something good, something that sustains each of us when we think back on this reunion. When I have that extra something in hand, in mind, and in heart, I’ll truly have more to write!