I’d decided against attending Sunday’s class reunion at Sibley High School until my best high school chum, Mark Hawkins, showed up at the Daily Globe last week and talked me into it. He didn’t really have to talk me into it, actually. The moment I saw him, I knew I had to go.
I have not returned any of the letters or replied to any of the emails I’ve gotten regarding the reunion, though there have been several over the past several months. When I told my wife, Sandy, I didn’t want to go, she naturally wondered why. It was hard for me to explain.
Sunday’s reunion will mark the 41st year since I graduated in 1974.
Sandy and I were a newly-married couple having recently graduated Mankato State University together on the occasion of my fifth-year reunion in 1979. We went, and had a good time. It was fun to catch up on my friends, but after it was over I was satisfied that that should be the end of it. I was anxious to go on with my life and put the past behind me. I never attended another class reunion since.
So now that the Class of ’74 has beckoned again after more than 40 years, I thought, Why bother? I don’t want to go back to high school and revisit those strange, uneven growing-up years. Sure, I had a lot of good times there. But I remember the embarrassing times, too — like the time I was an 88-pound member of the wrestling team (yes, 88 pounds!!!) and broke my arm in my very first varsity tournament, or the time I angrily quit the baseball team out of the paranoid belief that my head coach woke up every morning dreaming up new ways to ruin my life.
I could be pretty immature back then. Boy, I hope I’ve changed.
What I don’t like about high school reunions is the politics involved. I don’t want to be one of those guys who feels compelled to talk about how wonderful his life is now, and I don’t want to listen to people who do. Deep down, I’m predicting that Sunday’s reunion won’t be like that. Instead of it being an excuse to show off, I really feel it will be a simple occasion to greet old friends and swap old stories.
So why am I nervous? I’ve got a wonderful wife, I enjoy my job, my book-writing hobby is paying off, and I’ve got three terrific daughters and six beautiful grandchildren. I should be able to go to the reunion, let my hair down, and enjoy. Right?
Right. Except I can’t let my hair down any more.