Friday, November 6, 2015

Whatever happened to the class of "70"?



















   Recently we received a package in the mail from a friend of Jan's who still lives back in our hometown. She had attended the class reunion for Marion Harding High School. It's been forty five years since we graduated; hard to imagine. Where does the time go? I've never had any inclination to attend. For one thing the reunion always takes place during the height of fishing season. Even if there wasn't a financial component involved, I would much rather fish than fly back to Ohio to meet with a bunch of people who for the most part I don't remember. While high school was much more enjoyable for me than any of the previous grades that I  had attended, largely because we had more freedom, I can't say it was especially fun. I'll admit, it's where I met Jan. First day of Art class. I was smitten right from the start, but other than that, I don't remember having much fun. Of course like any endeavor, the more you put in the more you get out of it. I didn't care for sports; wasn't academic, good with my hands, outgoing or charismatic. I had a tendency to be a bit of a wise guy, outspoken perhaps on occasion. The only competitive thing I participated in was ping-pong up at the YMCA, but that wasn't sanctioned by the school, which was just as well or I might not have enjoyed it, or even joined in. What I enjoyed most was fishing, which isn't a team sport. For some unknown reason I pursued a general course of study- kind of a middle of the road education. I could do all the basics, read, write, arithmetic. I ended up taking Spanish for at least one year for reasons I still can't fathom. I'd taken it in Jr. High and hated it then, so how I ended up with it in high school is a real mystery. One year I took Business Math, percentages and decimals and all that. I rather enjoyed it because I could do it and get A's. Plus, Mr. Bell, the teacher was pretty cool.  Somehow I had this unrealistic approach to life, kind of an Ozzie and Harriet way of looking at things. I just assumed things would come out ok without too much effort on my part. Anyway, this post isn't supposed to be about me per se. It's about the class of "70" - the group of kids that Jan and I graduated with so many years ago. In the packet that we received was a music CD with some of the songs that were popular back then. Of the 21 songs listed, I realized that I only like about four. Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress/ The Hollies, To Love Somebody/ The Bee Gees, Piano Man / Billy Joel and.... well, maybe I only liked three. I guess I didn't fit in to  the pattern of the rest of the crowd.  I was looking at the program for the 45th reunion. 6:00 - Welcome by the Planning Committee. Class photo at 6:45. 7:00 Prayer and Dinner. Whoa... I was surprised that its still ok to have a prayer at a function like this. I'm glad to see that. At 8:00 was the start of the regular program, beginning with remembering classmates who have passed on.  I was quite taken aback by the number of my classmates who had died. Of the roughly 400 students who graduated with me, 57 have since died, including three just this year. That number seems uncommonly high. I picked up the yearbook and looked through the pictures. Some of the folks I remember as being a little bit on the fringes of society, living a fairly risky life style even back then. A number of those who passed on were overweight even in high school. Whether or not that had anything to do with their early departure is hard to say, but it probably didn't help any either. It doesn't say how these folks died. Perhaps to satisfy my curiosity I may spend some time looking up obituaries this winter. Was there a car accident, were they ill, could it have been a drug overdose, did they drown while out fishing in a leaky boat...what happened? I saw that one set of twins had passed away. One in 2008 and one in 2011. They were both big guys, football players and shot put throwers. The first guy on the list of departed was a fellow I worked with at Super Duper supermarket when we were in high school. Others I remember the name but not the person. Jan had all the stuff related to class reunions together, so I happened to find our 30th class reunion book. It gave names and addresses and some folks had opted to give a little information about themselves. A startling number of my fellow classmates elected to stay in Marion Ohio. Wow! I could not do that! A number of them had been married for 25-30 years. One gal whom I had home room with had 12 children. That was fifteen year ago. I wonder if she cranked out any more since then. I thought we were pretty prolific with seven. I checked out a newspaper article from 2010, our fortieth reunion. Ninety classmates attended that one. At least two of the people shown have passed on, including one of the twins. Some of the faces look familiar. Lots of grey hair (mostly on the men), some folks are getting bald, again, mostly the men. Of course we've all aged, there's more pairs of glasses showing, and probably a little more weight. I'm sure there's wrinkles, but it's hard to see them from a distance. I see one fellow has an eye patch. Wonder what happened. Who knows maybe he thinks the pirate look will help him get a date. In any event, seeing the picture, and reading the list of the deceased makes me realize once again that life is short and life is precious. It's to be guarded and enjoyed. We don't have an expiration date on our birth certificates. Who knows when time's up. I hope I have a few more years and I hope I use that time wisely. I think that when 2020 rolls around, if I'm still in the land of the living, I'd like to attend the class of "70" reunion. It will be interesting to see what each of us has wrung from life fifty years later. In the interim, I hope that God's hand of blessing and safety will be one each one of us and our families. If I had a glass in hand I would raise it in a toast to each and every one of my fellow classmates. I hope to see you again.












4 comments:

  1. I, too, have never been back for a class reunion. While I have a few good memories of specific things, you couldn't pay me to go back to high school. Now, college might be another matter :). I'm amazed at the number of classmates who've passed on from the class of '77, too.

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  2. Hi Jill,
    I left high school,worked at a few rinky dink retail jobs and was off to the navy by the time I was nineteen, so I never even entertained the idea of college. Just as well. I would like to go back for the fiftieth reunion. Its kind of a milestone. It will be interesting to see how many more have bitten the dust by the time that rolls around. Who knows, maybe I'll be one of the dust biters.

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  3. That's a great blog dad. I found the picture of mom, gorgeous, but where is yours?

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  4. I was on another page. Not quite as gorgeous.

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