In small-town Ohio one grows up expecting to be someone. It's no accident Ohio has produced so many presidents. That none of them were anything to boast about is because even ordinary people are expected to be someone when they grow up.
Hence the consternation when the form for the Wauseon High School Class of '62 reunion crawled out of the envelope.
"Up Sluggard and Waste Not Life! In the Grave is Sleeping Enough."
Was Poor Richard contemplating his class reunion?
"Places you have lived since graduation . . . Most interesting experiences since graduation . . . "
Can I achieve greatness before the end of July?
Of course, I will fill out the form in calligraphy. That will dazzle the tabulator of the forms. But my life will be unadorned in the cold purple of mimeograph ink, for the rest of the class to read. My best Gothic will not allow me to save face.
"Jobs you have held since graduation . . . Education since graduation . . . "
The innocence of the questions does not fool me. I know they are asking, "What have YOU done with your life?"
I listed the children's names and ages the day the questionnaire came. The rest of the page laughs at me blankly from the top of the fridge.
One could, of course, dredge up the half-dozen interesting things one's done (lived in Tonatico, Mexico; London, England . . . ) but none of them seem to date later than the last summer vacation in college. Besides, my classmates are too perceptive and would roll their eyes knowingly at one another. No good.
Humility! "Married, 3 children. Lives in Riverdale, Md." And look like the only one who has done nothing? Impossible!
Humor. "Worked with Jane Goodall, opened orphanage in India, Pulitzer Prizes in '72 and '80." Oh, she ever was the wit! No, too desperate.
Send it in blank with a protest letter? Too uncooperative.
But I'll go, of course. Mr. Kunkle, the old band director with whom I discussed religion, family problems (both his and mine) and politics during music lessons, will be there. At the end of the session he would return my father's dollar and a quarter; not a note had been played.
And Mr. Hufford, who called me a "human dynamo" in a reference he wrote for me once. I was always grateful to remember that when I was eight months pregnant and too tired to lift an iced-tea glass from the table 12 inches away.
And Joe McGlamery with the only Southern accent in Wauseon. He was the class radical who married the prom queen and had become an arch conservative at the last meeting. Has he flopped back?
And shy little Cheryl whom I talked into signing all her papers "Fifi" in the third grade.
And Bill Moll who gave me a corridor pass he had stolen at great personal risk.
So, damn the form; of course I'll go. But Carma Dunbar, always terribly stylish, called today to ask if I'd be in the style show.
Oh my god.