I am going home next week to attend my 45TH!!!! high school graduation class reunion. The Class of 66 was a special bunch. I know everyone thinks the people they went to high school with were special, but mine were extra special. From my classmate Nedra whose palms sweated so badly on test days that she had to carry wads of paper towels to blot them to keep from ruining the paper the test was on to my friend Mary Beth who was so much better at basketball than the rest of us that only I could guard her–not because I was athletic but because I could make her laugh and miss the shot. We had the first prom where two girls ( no they were not gay, just tired of missing dances) attended together, we had some of the first sit-ins and protests and we had some friendships made that have stood the test of four plus decades.
Unfortunately, we also had some enemies made that have stood the test of time. There are only a few people in my class I sincerely dislike, but I disliked them in the 60s and I dislike them now. Racism is the primary cause, but a couple of them are just nasty. Fortunately, most of the people I do not like ( and they number fewer than five out of a class of more than four hundred) will not attend the reunion. They are flawed enough people that they do not want to associate with their classmates.
Most of my classmates are great people, thoughtful, caring, decent folks. True, some of them are Republicans, but we cannot hold that against them, they were probably raised that way.
At our last reunion ( at least the last one I attended) , the 40th, I was amazed to see how good some of my classmates looked and how bad some of them looked. How you looked in high school evidently is not a measure of how you are going to look forty years later. Some of the cutest girls look like they have been “drove hard and put up wet”, to use a country saying. The men generally have aged better, some have lost hair and gained pot bellies, but I could still recognize the faces on most of them, not so much the women.
It is unfair but we do not age as well as men in general. Maybe they simply were not as cute as us in the first place and therefore the decay is not as noticeable, I have no idea.
Anyway, I am going to look forward to going to the Homecoming Game (Go Bucs!) on Friday unless it rains, and to the dinner on Saturday. I will sing the fight song and alma mater at the game and hug dozens of classmates at the dinner. Eventually if it is a typical reunion people will begin to cluster in friend groups. My table will be the one where the blacks will congregate. After a while some of our white friends will brave the divide and come over to chat too. The few of our classmates who never managed to understand race and leave behind racism will not be among them.
I doubt sincerely my racist classmates have any idea they are racist. They simply think black people are not as good as white people and do not understand why that belief should be held against them. Fortunately as I said earlier they are few and far between in the class of ’66.
So get ready classmates. I will be the one in the velvet pants and black and white zebra striped top with a beaded neckline and velvet blazer with a big rhinestone button. Depending on the weather I will either have on black heels or mules with a zebra striped wedge. Get ready to be hugged and screamed at; ” Oh my goodness, look at you! ” ” I am so glad to see you, you look great!” ” How are the kids?” “Tell me what you are doing?” “Where do you live?” And get ready for lots of sentences that start out ” Do you remember…..?”
I remember. And the memories are almost 100% good, I loved high school, I liked my classmates, my teachers, my school and my town. I still do.
Hooray, for Xenia High School, for she’s all right.
Keep Colors Flying, Go on with the fight!
Hooray, for Xenia High School, Never give in!
Hooray for Xenia High School, For she will win!
And so will the members of the Class of 66!