sixtiestosixties

I was something in the 60s but now I'm just sixty something.

Class of ’68 50th Reunion

on October 6, 2018

 

 

Yes! It has come to that! Fifty years since my high school graduation. Which means my sixties are running out and the name of my blog will soon be outdated just like me. The reunion was fantastic! But it was a bit like speed dating when we so wanted to linger and connect on a deeper level. There is a lot to talk about and a lot to share as we view our lives from the other end of our stories.

A decade ago, when I first decided to blog, I envisioned myself writing something profound, meaningful, and full of wisdom. But as I started experimenting I quickly found my voice was sarcastic and snarky. I am not sure whether I lacked wisdom or just couldn’t express it very well. But the humor seemed to work so I stuck with it. Several of my faithful readers told me they were looking forward to reading what I would write about the whole (my God are we really that old!) 50th reunion thing. A few even suggested things that I might consider addressing as they were musing about their own experiences. But their suggestions were serious and universal sentiments and I have never “done serious”. Not publicly anyway. In truth, the reunion was so sweet and so full of love and acceptance in these tumultuous times that I am finding it difficult to be bitchy. So, I am going to attempt to come out from behind my mask, be brave and risk exposing my sensitive side. (Feel free to groan.)

If you are lucky you have had a community of friends, relatives, and neighbors that you grew up with who helped form your life.  And if you are really lucky you have had the opportunity to watch each other’s continued growth into the various stages of adulthood and into old age. For my younger readers (yes I have a few) I advise you to hang onto these people. The older you get the more important it is to stay connected to people who knew your young, beautifully awkward, self-conscious, and often stupid in your individual way, self. The folks who know your story from the beginning and have chosen to remain engaged in your last few chapters. Being with these people brings you back home to your essence and reminds you of how you got to where you are. Some of those memories might be painful but it keeps you real and grounded. It makes you acknowledge your growth (or lack thereof) and reminds you that you truly are not done on this earth until you die.

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This is us at the 25th.

My high school class reunions provided that continuity for me over the years. I come from a small family. And more than one classmate asked me,”So where do you live now?” I have lived in 12 states. Some of them twice. But nowhere have I ever known such a collection of smart, talented, and interesting people as I have known from my hometown. I could write and write about these amazing people except this is a blog and I try to keep it at 750 words. Some, unbeknownst to them, intimidated the hell out of me. We had to take electives in school. I really sucked at things like art and music and I was surrounded by extraordinary talent. Some of my classmates were so intelligent it wasn’t until I finished grad school that I felt like I could have a conversation with them. But reconnecting with these same people over the years has brought me so much happiness hearing all they have accomplished and the joy their pursuits have brought them. I celebrate their lives and their legacy.

Josh of ‘68 showing us he’s still got it.

I have remained in contact with a number of my classmates through the years and have had the same best friend since 2nd grade. But there have also been new friendships forged with people I did not know that well. We share an era of history and culture. Coming together occasionally over the years we found we had more in common than we ever knew. Like the guy who taught me to swing dance. Not 50 years ago in school but 25 years ago at a reunion party. We share a dance or two at every reunion now. Or my “thick as thieves” girl friend from middle school who moved in the 8th grade. I can talk to her today like she never left. There is my scary smart classmate who has become the unofficial proofreader of my blog. I really need one and I am ever so grateful for him!  I have always come away from these gatherings of exceptional people feeling full of energy and hope for the future. When we let go of the fear of giving of ourselves and the even greater fear of receiving from others then a whole new world reveals itself to us. We do this much better at 68 than we did in ’68.

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Best friend since 2nd grade.

There was also an unspoken current of sadness that rippled though the party for those who were missing. Those who have died or were too sick to come. Those whose lives did not live up to expectations. If only they could know our love for them remains within us. And then there is the gratitude for those who came despite some great challenges to see some old classmates who were once just obnoxious adolescents. My friend (and brilliant proofreader) who was in some serious pain with a torn rotator cuff, has always been all too aware of the bigger picture. He told me we should reflect on “proportionality and perspective”. There is great wisdom in those eloquently stated words. So I am shamelessly stealing them.

I am so grateful for all these people. And I am also way over my allotted word count. Maybe my next post will reconsider wisdom. Or maybe I will write about some slut stories I heard for the first time. We’ll have to see. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

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20 responses to “Class of ’68 50th Reunion

  1. Anne E Czarnowski says:

    Beautifully said Phlis. I especially related to the comment about the “speed dating” aspect of the reunion. There were so many people that I wanted to have deeper conversations with, including you! We are all, I think, much better people than we were in ’68. I look back at that insecure teenager that I was and wish that I could tell her to just be ok with being who she is. That took an awfully long time! In fact, I often think I am still working on that. But, with age comes the ability to forgive oneself for the many mistakes of youth. And to forgive others for their youthful “sins.” We had – and have – an exceptionally cohesive class. I try to explain this to people – but if their high school experience was not like ours, it is impossible for them to understand. There were groups of friends, for sure. But no “mean girl” culture that I recall. So different than it is for kids these days. We were so lucky in so many ways.

    • sixtiestosixties says:

      Some people looked at me like I have two heads when I said I was going to my 50th High School Reunion. They must have had a far different experience than we did. We were indeed lucky.

  2. Denise Matrazzo says:

    Love you ❤️👭
    I believe you were sworn to forever secrecy by those who shared their stories with you. And NO it wasn’t me 🤣

  3. Janice Sarto Mathis says:

    Enjoyed this entry. Keep thinking about what we talked about at Mary’s.

  4. Dave Steven says:

    It has been a pleasure to be your dance partner over the years; I’m only sorry we didn’t start sooner!

  5. Rowie says:

    I love this one just as much as all of your others. You do serious well! Love you. X

  6. driveway/golf cart/bringbourbon says:

    Oh yeah— I’ve heard your wisdom before— in your driveway in my golf cart with a bottle of Blantons. Hey, no harm in an occasional throwback of bourbon!
    Glad you have such great peeps! My friends (High School class of 65), four best from Ky. arrive in Florida soon to visit me! I know exactly the feeling you described and you always say it so well! Now how about that slut you mentioned. love&miss .

    • sixtiestosixties says:

      Well, bourbon and conversation should have a front porch but since neither of us had one the golf cart was a good substitute. Have a wonderful time with your with your friends from ‘65.

  7. Dick Cole says:

    🎉🎼💃🏼🎥 Great stuff there as usual, Philis! Thanks again to you and committee for putting it all together, as well as for enhancing our online and personal friendships even in recent years.

    • sixtiestosixties says:

      The committee (which I was not on) did a great job! And you, one of the super smart people I was scared of, have become a great friend!

  8. Sharon G. says:

    Excellent. You looked great in the pictures!

  9. Chris Marshall says:

    Well said, Philis! Profound, insightful, tender, fun and “right on.” You beautifully expressed many of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had but couldn’t put into words. Thank you! I felt so privileged to join you for this 50th reunion and reconnect with so many of you after leaving in the 8th grade and going through high school and life without the sense of continuity of relationships that you describe. The way everyone welcomed and included me in the reunion made me feeel like it was yesterday and filled in some missing pieces in my life! I loved being with all of you, remembering our shared history and seeing the people we’ve become. You really were and are a class of exceptional people!

  10. scotty71349 says:

    Hey kiddo, you do serious real good. You could copy the phone book (do they still make those?) and I’d wanna read it.

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