Carol Brown Baker suggested we post another of David LeSueur's witty columns which is about our '67 class reunion... too funny!!
Last week I attended my high school reunion in Burbank, California. My kids claim that I am so old that they were still using Roman numerals when I was a kid. Of course I don’t think I am that old. I graduated in 1967 – excuse me, MCMLXVII. But 40 years – I mean XL years – is a long time to me too! Actually, we still use Roman Numerals in the United States for things like Super Bowls (the next one is Super Bowl XLII), movie sequels (like Rocky III), names (like J. Gordon Howell IV), or spacecraft (Apollo XIII). So I guess this was my High School Reunion XL.
Initially I had some reservations about going. I loved high school, but I couldn’t keep myself from worrying. What if I didn’t know anyone? What if I couldn’t recognize anyone? What if I sat down for dinner and no one sat down at my table? If I saw the cool kids laughing, would I still assume that they were laughing at me? Would the class bully pick me up and put me upside down in the trash can?
Fortunately I overcame my reluctance because it was really fun. I saw many good friends, some acquaintances I remembered and a few people I didn’t remember at all. The most famous graduate in our class is Anson Heimlich. He changed his name to Anson Williams, became an actor and played the part of Potsie in Happy Days. I hadn’t seen much of Anson since high school. By contrast, most of us had seen quite a bit of our classmate Elaine Morton. Well, we saw pretty much all of her since she was Playboy’s Miss June MCMLXX. I personally never saw the photos though I remember that issue had some really good articles. Elaine moved to Hawaii and at High School Reunion XX Elaine gave me her phone number in case we ever went to Hawaii. We did go a few years later, but I had lost her number. I normally am good with figures but I just couldn’t remember her phone number. The only numbers I could remember for Elaine were XXXV-XXIV-XXXV.
In some ways a 40th reunion is better than a 20th. It has been so long since high school that no one is offended if you don’t recognize them or remember what you did together in high school. I still remember 15 years ago (at High School Reunion XXV) that I asked a girl if we had dated in high school. We had and she was insulted that I couldn’t remember. But at our 40th reunion, we felt comfortable looking at our name tags (which also had our high school picture) and then trying to remember whether we knew each other. It was perfectly acceptable to spend five minutes filling each other in on what we had been doing the past 40 years, and then moving on. It was enough just to know that these familiar faces from the past were all grown up and had turned out all right.
Not everyone has such fond memories of high school, but most of us have other friendships that last forever. My wife is especially close to the women who had babies at the same time she did. No matter how long it has been since they saw each other, these women feel as close as they ever did. Some of us stay close to college friends, others to friends from work. My dad recently attended a reunion for the guys who served on his ship in World War II (hey – more Roman Numerals!). He had not seen any of them in almost 60 years, so no one looked familiar. They got together not to remember good times but to honor all of the men who served their country in difficult circumstances.
I have decided that I like the idea of using Roman Numerals to identify important occasions. This has been a momentous month for me. My wife and I just celebrated Wedding Anniversary XXXVI. I feted Birthday LVIII. And most importantly, this week we can watch Episode I of Season IV of Gray’s Anatomy.
David LeSueur lives with his wife in Littleton, Colorado and they have IV children and IV grandchildren.