In early May I received an invitation to my 50-year class reunion dinner. It was to be part weekend of activities planned for July. Since traveling 70 miles for an evening dinner is too difficult, I wanted to e-mail them quickly to tell them I could not attend. I updated them about where I am now living and what is going on in my life.
A few weeks later I received a return e-mail asking if I would be up for a visit with the reunion planners during the first week of June. I e-mailed back that I was looking forward to it.
Though a close friend from my class visited me for several years, I never thought other members of my class would make a special trip to visit me in the nursing home. I attended the 10- and 20-year class reunions and enjoyed the interaction. But, I have not been able to attend one since. Their visit would allow me to see classmates I had not seen in 40 years.
I had a little bit of trepidation about them visiting. I wanted it to be a memorable get-together for lunch. But since I was struggling to get adapted to my power chair, I thought it would be better to keep our lunch plans simple and close to the nursing home.
When they came in the door I easily recognized my female classmate. My two male classmates laughed saying they knew they looked a lot older than she did. I told them it was not so much the way their faces looked but the change in their hair. Instead of the longer, full dark headed guys I remembered from school, their hair was now shorter, sparser, and either gray or white. I realized how as a teenager in the 60s I identified classmates by their hair.
We sat in my room and reminisced. One classmate gave me a copy of his self-published book of letters he had written to family and friends over the years. He proudly told me it is for sale on Amazon as well. They told me stories about classmates. Then, I asked if we could go to a fast food place and eat outside. As we exited the back door, a stiff wind blew and my arms broke out in goosebumps. One of the guys gallantly wrapped me in his jacket for our walk and roll to lunch.
Since I could not push my joystick hard enough to move faster, my female classmate operated it. We bumped along and laughed a lot. We ordered food and sat talking about the ups and downs of our lives. One classmate mentioned two priests who had taught us in high school. One is 80, and the other 90, and both are still involved with spiritual work. We discussed death, grief, gaining wisdom, and how we are at this point in our lives.
While they might rather have eaten indoors, I assured them that dining alfresco would fix the visit in their memories. When we headed back, I asked them to take some photos, which they did right before they left.
My classmates were pleased that I write this blog which keeps me so involved in life. They plan to visit after the reunion to catch me up on the status of my other classmates. I enjoyed spending time with those who shared my school life for 12 years.