Sunday, November 9, 2008

The 50th.

One Fine Reunion - written 10/17/08

Held at the Silver Star Casino, Choctaw, MS
October 13th and 14th 2008


My observations and impressions, etc.

Having no past reunion frame of reference, I entered the room set aside for our ‘50th gathering not knowing what to expect. What a great thing I saw! The warm camaraderie that I saw infused into the conversations was remarkable. For me, there were several epiphanic moments to savor.

Of course, we looked like seniors. Why shouldn’t we? Except for some years, why should we be any different than the last time we were together as “seniors” in 1958. Even with some wrinkles, it seemed to me, almost a noon time redux of the goings on in our MHS Student Activities Building at the start of our senior school year. I saw hugs of recognition, smiles of friendships unavoidably placed on hold (this time for half a century), hands grasping one another’s — not shaken as introductions, but extended each to each in genuine, tactile reconnections.

Those who write, even poorly, often find themselves hiding in plain sight behind thoughts and words. I am frequently more observer than participant in larger gatherings. Since my Teenage Canteen days, I have always enjoyed watching more than engaging. Shyness? Maybe so. This reunion was certainly well worth my watching. This, our 50th, will be such an interesting, indelible bookmark to our lives going forward. It is something we can quietly reflect upon. Yes, we now have ourselves another "Reverie".

Maybe there were more, but I saw only one person continually giving me a “stay away from me” glare. On any given night, I used to get more than one such glare at the Teenage Canteen. Who knows, maybe her glare was a 50 + year old imagined slight from back during our old Teenage Canteen days. Oh, I was aware of only one obvious “well, I’ll get this out of the way early and greet him, but you come rescue me when I look over.” At times, that happened in the Student Activities Building, too.

So yes, it has been 50 + years since then, but, from this first time attendee, I ask you, “are we really any different now?” Not to this observer. I see a paralleling. Hell, even my old high school girlfriend still looked “simply stunning”.

Let me sum up my observations, with a favorite old, often used quote:

“The past is never dead. In fact, it's not even past.” - William Faulkner

Some plaudits. And there are many.

Of course, we owe so much to the reunion staff for their dedicated hard work to make this one really special. Their efforts paid off handsomely.

To the band which Denman Powers and his coterie cobbled together for our entertainment. They worked hard in a short period of time with only limited practice opportunities to crown our Tuesday night. To Louis McDonald for giving his almost youthful voice to many of those songs that helped define the halcyon days at OUR Meridian High School. And, of course, to George Cummings who traveled down from New Jersey to add a richness to the music. Ms. Hortense Harvey would be proud of his contribution and so are we, the old aficionados of her weekend “Picking and Grinning” sessions where George got his start. And to Will Hudson, the venerable Reunion Master of Ceremonies. Y'all made Tuesday night special.

And let us not forget the hours of toil and trouble that Ouida Tomlinson and Jinny Walz invested in the blog. It’s true, I had to look at many name tags but the postings of the auto-bios were a great resource. I could almost always associate the name on the tag with the posted information about that person’s interesting and varied life.( With regard to my meandering, mostly silly, postings there on the blog, I was just foolin’ with ya. If I offended you, I am truly sorry. I was simply trying to keep it interesting.)

The Heisterkamps, Mary Jane and Ron forsook most of their Tuesday night's fun to provide us with a video document of the entertainment. Thanks to you both.

Tuesday night, I trundled back to my room thinking of what I should have said — but didn't. Others were also drifting out. I can usually tell it’s about over when the ladies start dancing with each other. When I finally got back to #3057, I started writing some stuff. Wanna read part of a reunion poem? Oh, come on. It’s just a fragment. I don't even know where it came from. Maybe it, too, stuck to my shoe as I was leaving the men's room at the Atlanta Airport. I timed it. It takes about 15 seconds.

The Reconnecting

Did we ever walk together long?
We walked apart much longer.
Are we the same, unsaid,
Or more different than you imagined?

Are you amazed I still stand,
Here and in this room,
So brazen to show my lined, scarred face,
So bold to live and speak aloud?

Can you recognize yourself
In my camouflaged words?
Do I wait for you or run from you?
Dare you define the pull?

The one that brings us here?
It brings us back again and again.

I really enjoyed watching all of you at our 50th .

Great job fellow classmates! When does the planning for the 55th start?

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