It is hard to believe that I graduated from high school 40 years ago this month, but my class, the Hillsboro High School Class of 1972, held its 40th high school reunion one week ago on the 40th anniversary of the exact date we walked out of the Hillsboro High School Gym as graduates. Through some organizational problems, several grads, including myself, never received invitations to past reunions. This year was special, because I was added to a Facebook group where I was informed about the reunion in plenty of time to plan for it. After 40 years, I was finally officially invited to a Hillsboro class reunion! I couldn't wait to go.
In attending the Friday night and Saturday night reunion events, I discovered what I had been missing out on all these years. I knew it would be fun to see some of my old friends again, but I had no idea that I would enjoy talking to people I barely knew in high school so much or how much I would cherish catching up with old friends I haven't thought about in years.
In high school, popularity, clubs, academics, sports, special interests, and other things tend to separate students into cliques that think they have little in common with other classmates. However, by the time you make it to your 40th reunion, you realize what a rich commonality you share of hometown memories, historic events, music, pop culture and growing up during the same years -- in our case, the turbulent 60s/70s.
At the reunion I discovered, high school differences had evaporated with the passage of time. Jocks were no longer jocks, the cheerleaders had gained a few pounds, and the nerds now ruled the world. Time is the great equalizer.
My class survived the transition from the 60s to the 70s: the first year of busing, Vietnam, marijuana, ABBA, David Bowie, mini skirts, short shorts, Watergate, hippies and Jesus Freaks. Father's Day became a national holiday the month we graduated. We not only shared many of the same classes and teachers, we shared the same world events. Now we look back on those high school days that often seemed so very hard and so confusing with nostalgia. And little did I know that the music those Jesus Freaks were singing in 1972 would become my passion and livelihood for 3 decades of my adult years.
Some of our fellow students did not survive the 40 years since we graduated, and that also tied the rest of us closer together as we looked at their photos and acknowledged how fragile life is, hoping that we would all be together in 10 years for our 50th reunion, and knowing that in actuality, fewer and fewer of us will make it to future class reunions.
Our 50th reunion -- half a century since graduation -- is only one short decade away. How is that possible?
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Hillsboro here's our song,
Our Alma Mater,
School days to you belong,
Tears mixed with laughter.
And as we pledge anew
Vows broken never,
O happy memories