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Class Reunion

November 23, 2014

My college, now a university, was holding a class of 1964 reunion as part of their annual homecoming weekend.  Should I go to the reunion?  I felt some trepidation over that decision.  I’d never attended a class reunion of any sort before.  In fact, I had actively avoided people who were in my school and college classes.  It was an occasion, though.  It was 50 years since I graduated from college.  I might never get another opportunity like this one.  I didn’t keep in touch with the members of my class.  I didn’t know any of them.  They wouldn’t know me, either.  Perhaps that was better.  Perhaps meeting each other as strangers was better too.  They would be more likely to treat me with respect that way.  I decided to do something I’d never done before:  I decided to go.  I even found the beanie I had worn during the initiation ceremony, when I was a freshman all those years ago.

They wanted each member of the class to write up a story about themselves, specifically about what they had been doing for the past 50 years.  I had just read Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, where he writes in great detail about the first half of his life.  I could have written 900 pages too, but I knew that the organizers didn’t want that.  Even though I never pasted labels on bottles, I felt like David Copperfield.  Somehow I was able to compress my whole life into a few hundred lines.  Is anybody going to read it?

At the class of ’64 dinner on the Friday night, I got the opportunity to meet most of the members of my class.  With the exception of two people, they were all strangers to me.  Only the names seemed vaguely familiar.  They had spread out all across Canada.  Most of them came from rural areas in this province.  They lived together in residence and got to know each other from that experience.  I lived within walking distance of the college.  I never knew the other people in my class very well.  I felt like an outsider at the reunion, even though they were very welcoming and pleasant people.  I was impressed that some of them had even read my story.  We also had an open mic session where people told us stories about our class.  Most of these were about people from the residence, people I didn’t know.

There was a basketball game, a barbecue, and a building tour on Saturday.  I skipped them because I wanted to visit with my parents while I was there.  The organizing committee certainly kept things going all day.  I did go to the reunion dinner on Saturday night.  All the classes at the reunion were in one place for that one.  It was quite an impressive event.  Before the meal was served, I wandered around and chatted with people I didn’t know.  Some of them I had met the night before.  I was amazed at how many of them had gone on to distinguished careers and to satisfying lives.  One fellow who had been in the pre-med class had become a specialist in infectious diseases.  All, including me, were retired now.  After dinner we had awards presentations and addresses from leaders of each class.  One of my class, a man who had been in the diplomatic service, gave a longer talk.  It was A Peek at the World.  Even though it was late in the evening, even though it was a long talk, I found every detail to be extremely interesting.  I was amazed at how many secrets he revealed to us.

I’m glad I went, although I expect that I’ll never see all those people again.  The class leaders put a great deal of effort into this reunion, certainly something I appreciated.  No doubt everybody appreciated their effort.  The university also put quite an effort into this reunion.  They even gave me a scarf, in the same colours as that beanie from long ago.   Of course, they want a donation from me.  I will be doing that too.

 

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