Celebrate the times from 50 years ago

Hammond high school

Something I’ve noticed about public high schools is that they tend to stick around for a really long time. Standing strong, these Grande Dames of academia continue turning out, year after year, tomorrow’s productive citizens.
Last fall our older daughter attended her 20-year reunion with classmates from Morgan Hill’s Live Oak High School. I felt like I’d fallen down the rabbit hole…hadn’t I just attended my own 20-year reunion?
Class reunions are forefront on my mind this year. In September I have an important one to attend, which, by virtue of being absent from a meeting a few years ago, I was elected to chair. And with a graduating class of more than 500, there are a whole lot of people to contact.
My alma mater is in Colorado, which lends a unique set of challenges for planning a reunion some 1,300 miles away. But two of my co-members also live in the Bay Area, and we’re finding that catching up is a whole lot of fun.
People coming to our reunion say they’re excited to re-enter the old school building. Many haven’t been inside since we graduated in June 1965—almost 50 years ago. And I’m happy to say our alma mater is looking grand—and still turning out graduates all these years later.
We were the Central High Wildcats in Pueblo, Colo. Founded in 1881, my mother graduated from Central, too, as did a lot of my friends’ parents because back in the day people tended to stay put.
Today, not so much, which is why I love meeting folks in my neighborhood (and my age bracket) who graduated from Live Oak or Gilroy High or San Benito High—schools that have also stood the test of time.
Ironically, I recall a particular pep rally my senior year. Our school held these events on Friday afternoons before football and basketball games. On this particular day, a group of 15 or so elderly folks made their way to the center of the gymnasium floor with an announcement that they were here celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation.
I paid about as much attention to this small group as would any high school girl busy looking about to see which of several young heartthrobs was sitting within flirting distance.
So I have no idea why the image of those elderly folks stayed with me for 50 years, but it has.
And I wonder if the high school seniors attending Pueblo’s Central High today will ever think of our group of elderly (really?) folks who soon will make our way home to gather in celebration of youth and friendship and the dawn of a new day back in 1965, when we set out as a hopeful group of the Earth’s youngest adults.
They say high school is the best time of life. Perhaps. But one thing is true: no one but those friends from high school comprehends what we’ve all left behind.

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