Back in 1967, I was way too cool to bother with anything as Mickey Mouse as a high school yearbook or class ring. I’m sure I must have gone to the senior prom, but I honestly don’t remember it. So why is it that 42 years later I’m spending a lot of my free time trying to track down my old Westbrook High School classmates to alert them to the off-year reunion a bunch of us are planning?
Class reunions are usually held every five or 10 years, but, when the women who organized the first five or six reunions ran out of steam, a bunch of us guys volunteered to take charge of the 40th in 2007. It never happened.
Since then a handful of our buddies have died, so this winter Pete, Skip, Eddie, Rob, Tom, Nancy and I decided, what the heck, who says you can’t have a 42nd reunion? And it does seem like an auspicious year, as most of the Class of ’67 turn 60 this year. So “67 At 60” is being held this Aug. 8 at Keeley the Katerer.
Updating a mailing list that’s at least 12 years – and in some cases 32 years – out-of-date has proven to be a formidable task. The Internet has helped some, but we’re at the point in our lives when people begin to retire and move away, kids are grown and out of the house, parents are often no longer living, and if a woman has divorced, remarried, changed her name, then what?
There were 222 in our graduating class plus another 30 or so who were once in our class. We’re trying to find them all. After a couple of months of sleuthing, there are still about 80 classmates among the missing. You’d think with an attorney, a retired police officer, a journalist and a retired phone company lineman on the case, we’d have done better than that, but these sexagenarians are elusive characters. That’s why I’m writing this now instead of waiting to report on the event itself. I’m hoping someone who hasn’t been contacted for an updated address will see this and get in touch. And that gets back to my original question – why am I doing this?
I suppose there is a sappy element of nostalgia involved, but you’d be surprised what a kick it is to talk with people you haven’t seen in 20, 30, 40 years, people you once saw every day for years and years, people who remember you when. I’m only in regular contact with one of my high school classmates, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in whatever became of good ol’ Whatshisname.
Knowing from past experience that you can’t have a meaningful conversation with dozens of old friends in three or four hours, I have been having my reunion one phone call at a time as I manage to find people. I’ve talked to Sandy and Barbara, nurses in Massachusetts; Jimmy, a papermaker in Michigan; Martha, a cosmetician in Minnesota; Don, an engineer in Tennessee; and a whole lot of folks who still live around greater Portland. Strange how you can live in the same general vicinity and exist in completely different orbits.
And ultimately, I suppose, that’s why you do it. To reconnect. Not just for yourself, not to relive phantom glory days, not to recapture a fleeting lost youth, but for all those classmates who’d like a chance to see one another again briefly before it’s too late. The reunion itself will be a low-key affair – buffet, background music, cash bar, just sit and visit. At our age, party games and dancing are definitely optional.
The one person I’m most anxious to find is Sandra C., who called me back in 2006 to give me her new address in case we got the 40th together. I passed her information on to Pete, keeper of the cards, who entered it in a computer that, alas, he no longer has.
So Sandra, give me a call. We’ve lost your file card, can’t remember your married name and we wouldn’t want you to miss the big event.