From, reprinted with Anne's permission.

Those High School Days

It's hard to believe that more than 20 years have passed since that rainy night when we walked across the stage, received our diplomas and came to the abrupt realization that the rest of our life was ahead of us and we had to figure out what to do with it. For some grads it was on to college or other educational pursuits; for others it was a quick entry into the workforce; and, for a few intrepid souls, it was marriage and family. We thought at the ripe old age of 17 or 18 we had it all figured out. Little did we know then it was only the beginning of a learning curve that would never end.

I've had the good fortune over this past year to reminisce via e-mail with several of our former classmates. Some of them were people I knew in those high school days. Others are ones I never spoke to in my four years at CRLS. Everyone has been great about sharing some anecdote or great memory of the years we spent walking the same halls and occupying the same classrooms. It's been a wonderful experience recalling those days and finding out where the varied paths through life have taken each of us. There are, undoubtedly, for many of us, those classmates who made an indelible mark on our heart and soul. They are the people who first come to mind when you mention the words "high school." I've been musing with one classmate that, at the reunion, a lot of minds will be contemplating the thought "If only I had said how I felt all those years ago." Of course, just as assuredly, there will be the thought process that assigns quite the opposite emotion, "Well, I can see THAT would never have worked out!" Time has likely healed a lot of wounds opened by those brief teenage romances that were destined to end before they even began.

I suppose another illusion many of us harbor about seeing old friends again is that time has preserved them in the pose they struck for those yearbook photos. It's is hard to imagine them otherwise. In the time warp of our mind, they have remained eternally young. I'm sure that a few fortunate classmates have retained their youthful features. For many though, the years of work and the joy of raising children have surely brought a few gray strands flecked through our hair and some laugh lines evident when we smile. The laws of gravity are working their magic on us all. For some of the men, their crowning glory of the late 70's is likely only a distant memory. But we are all rowing the same waters and are on the horizon of an age we could never have imagined we'd be ...... 40! It's the age that a lot of our parents were when they so proudly looked on as we accepted the parchment in June, 1980 that indicated we were set to fly on our own. From this vantage point I can finally understand how my parents felt when they watched that moment pass before their eyes.

Because I do volunteer work at the local public high school, I have occasion to revisit some of those school days and live vicariously through the students with whom I interact. The teens I see now are essentially the same as we were. Without a doubt they are more technologically advanced. They Instant Message and E-mail one another with the same frequency which we reserved for talking on the phone all afternoon, the communication method of choice back in the "old" days. Many of them wouldn't know what to do if they didn't have a cell phone or beeper holstered to their side every waking moment. I suspect that a few desperate souls even sleep with these devices tucked under their pillows in case that important call comes through in the wee hours. When I think of the "technology" we had then I have to laugh. Having an 8-track or cassette player installed in your car was cutting edge, even if the car wasn't. The luxury of even having a car increased your social standing amongst your peers. Our vehicles were probably an average of ten years old or more and had passed down through a few siblings on its way to us. Having a luxury sport utility vehicle with a CD player was as far from our imagination as taking a trip on the space shuttle. In those days, vinyl reigned supreme and nothing was as exciting as seeing the latest album cover of your favorite band or artist. Kids today don't know how much they've lost out with the advent of digital sound. The resonance of a stylus landing on a record still sounds good to me. For the sake of convenience and portability, I must confess to converting most of my album collection over to discs, but I will never get rid of that turntable.

The thought of personal home computing was still in it's infancy as I recall. I never imagined the impact it would have on my life. When I remember those days, the word COBOL is the first one that springs to mind and I envision monitors with a color range that numbered only three .... black, white and gray. Color graphics existed only in comic books and art class. If only we'd invested our lunch money in Microsoft we'd be off sailing to Tahiti (Well, at least that's what I'd be doing.) I'm know that there are those people in our graduating class that had the vision to see what was coming and jumped onto that technology bandwagon. They have presumably gone on to brilliant careers because of that foresight. For that, I congratulate them even if I do envy them just a little bit.

All these advances still don't insulate today's teens from the agonies we once faced and imagined we'd never get beyond. Acne and bad hair can still ruin a day or, if memory serves, an entire life. These kids still fall in and out of love as swiftly and tragically as we once did, and most struggle with the question of what to do with the days that lie ahead. And, just as we are now doing, twenty years from their graduation day, they will be wistful and wondering and trying to comprehend how the years flew by so quickly.

So, that's my two-cents worth on life then and now. I suppose I say all this with the hope that at the reunion you will take the opportunity to tell the people who made an impact on your life of that importance. We now have the knowledge of how quickly the years can pass and know, just as surely, the next ones will slide by even faster.

I hope at the reunion to get a chance to say hello to some old friends and meet for the first time the ones I've been corresponding with via E-mail. To all of you, I hope that the past years have been good and that the days to come are filled with happiness.

Anne :-)

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