My sister is sharing bits of information by text message from her 50th high school reunion this week. It is a bit hard for either of us to come to terms with the simple fact that we are 50 years older now. We can remember when our mother attended her 50th high school reunion. Our mom hadn’t been much for reunions prior to that time, but she had so much fun at her 50th that she started to attend every year along with her remaining classmates. For a decade or more the trip to her home town became an annual event. It is a bit different for my sister because she lives in the town where we grew up. She sees some of her classmates nearly every day.

I have attended only one high school reunion since I left for college. One year around our 25th or so they held an all-class reunion. I was on vacation and visiting my mother in our home town and so I participated in several events including a reunion band and a barbecue. I found that I was hanging out more with my sister’s classmates than with my own. The deal with me is that I didn’t graduate from high school. I went to college after my junior year of high school. For several years the high school records showed me as a drop out. After I earned my doctorate and was out in the world the record was changed and I now am shown as a student who transferred out of the school. It hasn’t proven to be a problem for me in my life. No one has ever asked to see my high school diploma and most of the time the subject simply doesn’t come up.

The result, however, is that I never went through graduation with my classmates and I went away to college without looking back. For what it is worth, I have never attended a college or seminary reunion, either. Those were important years in my life and I have life-long friendships from those years, but I’m not one for big events and mass gatherings. The three congregations that I served prior to coming to Rapid City all celebrated their 75th anniversaries when I was their pastor. I made it to all three centennial celebrations. It was fun to return and visit with folks.

My sister texted from one of her reunion events: “Having a blast. Like these people much better now that we are all old!” I’m sure that some of the old rivalries and competitions have pretty much faded after half a century. I sort of keep up with a few of my high school classmates by reading their facebook posts from time to time. I’ve sent condolences to them on occasions such as the deaths of their parents. The truth, however, is that I don’t feel particularly close to those people. I’m one who chose a career path that means that I’ve never lived close to the town where I grew up. After attending college 80 miles away, the closest I ever lived was 400 miles away from my home town. That is a different experience from those who stayed in our home town. And both of those are different from someone like my sister who moved away, but moved back after 30 or more years.

My life has been so full and interesting and challenging that I haven’t had much time for nostalgia. The future continues to beckon me and attract my attention more than the past. I read about history from time to time and I don’t think I’m completely uneducated about historical matters, but I am more excited about the present and future. When I have some time for quiet contemplation, I don’t often think about the way things were. I was fortunate to grow up in a loving family in a very beautiful part of the world in a time when we had lots of freedom to live and explore and grow and learn. Now my life continues to be filled with family and the joys of living in a place where I can spend a lot of time outdoors.

If my sister and her friends are feeling a bit old after 50 years, the thing that makes me feel a bit old is the fact that this summer is the year of our son’s 20th high school graduation anniversary. How did we get to be the parents of a son who has been out of high school for 20 years? Those years seem to have gone by very quickly from my point of view. They included a few momentous road trips. I helped him move back home from Los Angeles for a brief stay before he returned to the west coast. I helped him move from Portland, Oregon to Chapel Hill North Carolina - a 6,000 mile round trip. Then after moving across the continent, he did it again, moving from North Carolina to Olympia, Washington. That move was paid for by his employer and I didn’t help with it, but I did fly out and help him move from Olympia to Mount Vernon. By then he had two children and a third on the way.

Our daughter is currently living in Japan. It isn’t her first time of living over seas. She also lived in England for two years after she finished high school. Neither of our children are the stay at home type when it comes to sticking with their high school classmates. Their high school experience was different from mine in many ways. We moved as a family as our son was starting high school and our daughter was beginning middle school. Their elementary school classmates were left behind and their high school friends were new friends to them. They also attended a very large high school where they didn’t know all of the other members of their class - it was quite different from my experience with a class of about 50 students.

Since my sister is two years older than I, I expect to hear about a 50th reunion in a couple of years. I don’t know if I’ll attend. Time will tell. Right now, I don’t feel quite as old as my sister.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!