They just finished throwing another reunion for us. Three days of campus sun and fun was the plan -- except that there wasn't nearly enough sun, and there would have been even more fun if more of you had been there, too. What we had instead, representing the legendary class of 1970, were just a couple of dozen grads, the occasional spouse, a few tots and lots of eyes scanning the horizon waiting for the rest of you to show up.
We had a good time, don't get me wrong. But it could have been better.
It's never been a school-spirit kind of place, you know that, though people seemed to like it well enough while they were there. No fraternities or sororities, no football team, a couple of people dancing every now and again, and many more watching from the sidelines. Not a lot of the ties that bind.
No, when we get together at these things, the memories are often of a different sort. This time, we talked about that fire that wiped out half the amphitheatre our senior year -- the closest thing to a good pep rally we ever had. And we caught up on which of our fellow alums were still on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, and which had finished serving their time.
Strange, maybe, but that's what those times were like, and you were part of them. Not that everyone wanted to remember, of course. Our first night back, they paid tribute to this year's graduates and to all the reunion classes on hand. There were the modern-day classes, they said -- '75, '80, '85 -- and the pioneering classes -- '55 and '60 and '65 -- and . . . then they changed the subject.
Our Class of '70 egos were dented, but not for long. A group of us tried the next afternoon to climb to the top of The Castle, the way you used to do in the old days -- to take in the sun and other life-enhancing vitamins. No, no, said the student who found us in mid-attempt -- you can't go up there anymore. That We went through something together, and somehow, that still matters. You'd have been surprised. door's been locked for years. No problem -- out came a credit card, "click" went the lock. Old habits die hard.
You'd have loved it -- but you weren't there. You didn't come because . . . the Celtics were on TV twice that weekend. Not good enough. You didn't come because "it's important to focus on the future, and not on the past." Sure it is, but one weekend in five years? You weren't born tomorrow, you know.
You didn't come because things haven't worked out quite the way you planned, because the things you once swore you'd always keep sight of have gotten blurry over the years. You'd have been safe with us. We've all changed, too, if only in being less judgmental than we were back when we knew everything. The people who made it to the reunion were interested in hearing what's become of you, but nobody seemed to be keeping score -- biggest house, best job, tallest children, strongest principles.
We went through something together, and somehow, that still matters. You'd have been surprised.
Got a pen handy? Write it down: May, 1990; and I want to see you there.