Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summertime, Reuniontime

I thought it was emblematic of the day

Summertime is the season of reunions, familial and school. My in-laws have a reunion/family barbeque planned for this summer at their home before moving into assisted living. My husband and my high school picnic is the day before the family event so we will be busy that weekend. I am excited about both. My husband’s family is large and most amiable and I have come to value each and every of our classmates, regardless of our relationship, or lack thereof, in high school so I look forward to lively conversations all around.

One of the perks of becoming a senior citizen vs. a high school senior is having a grasp of who we are and what is important. All the labels such as “jocks,” ” socishes,” and “motor heads” have made way for “grandma” and “grandpa.” We are classic members of the Boomer Generation, raised in the post-WWII ‘burbs. Most of our daddies fought in WWII and many of those men went to work for the Boeing Company the wages for who fueled the Bellevue School District to afford us an excellent education. In short, regardless of any differences we perceived amongst ourselves growing up, in truth we were more alike than different.

The class of 1969 of Sammamish High School is pretty disorganized. Were it not I would not have been involved in organizing reunions the past two years. I was not a part of high school activities—far from it. I ran with a group who identified itself as anti-establishment, anti-war, and anti-school culture. How ironic then that, when twenty years had passed since our 20th reunion, with no sign of gathering, it was one of our number who took it upon himself to organize one. And he roped me into helping locate classmates.

Due to a conflicting family commitment and Dave having to work, we did not make it to the 40th picnic, but made it a point to attend the 41st. Even at our 20th reunion I’d felt a difference in how our classmates related to each other, but by the 41st all I felt was joy at seeing people, many of whom I had known since childhood and many of whom I wanted to know better. Because I didn’t run with the “in-crowd” there were plenty of picnickers whom I’d never spoken to. One of them, one of the most popular girls in school, arrived late, but made a point of thanking me for having arranged the picnic. I kept telling people that it was Smitty, not me, but I was the most visible on Face Book so I was getting the credit. Anyway, I thought it was emblematic of the day that one of the most beautiful and popular girls at school, whose notice I’d been beyond, genuinely seemed grateful to me. I did not know that she was seeing into my heart and mind.

I felt I had plenty of grist for the blog mill, but was exhausted by the time we got home and lo, my thunder was stolen by above mentioned woman who it would seem has as beautiful a heart as face. For someone with whom I believed I had never had anything in common with she managed to take the words right out of my fingers, creating the exact perfect end to a perfect day.

Now we are approaching our 42nd year picnic and I eagerly anticipate seeing many of the faces of my childhood, all of whom are most beloved. As the Baby Boom Generation we grew up during a unique time in American history and in our case, the quintessential ‘50s, post WWII suburb of Bellevue.

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