Copyright © 2005 Henrietta W. Hay
Forty Years of the Class of '65
September 2, 2005
Last week I felt honored to be invited by my son Dave to the picnic which closed the 40th reunion of his Grand Junction High School Class of 1965. It was the largest class that has graduated from GJHS.
Statistics vary a bit, but there were well over 600 in the class originally and nearly all of them graduated.
Several of these kids I have known since their first grade. OK, so at 58 they are not kids to anyone but their mothers. I have been able
to stay in touch with a few a few others through the years, but most of the faces were strange until I read their name tags and saw their 1965 pictures. It was great to see them.
A comparable event in spirit if not in time, was the 50th reunion of the class of 1930 of Englewood High School, which I attended.
High School reunions are very distinctive phenomena. The emotional level tends to be about the same, whether they take place in Colorado or Maine or California. In addition to Dave's reactions, I talked to a number of other members of the class and even a friend who attended her 40th in South Dakota. They told remarkably similar stories.
The 10th reunion is generally quite formal. People are on their very best behavior and dressed to the nines. They want to convince everyone else how far they have come, how important they are. After all, they were kids when they saw each other last. Now they are adults and must prove it to each other.
By the 20th, I am told, they really don't care what the others think.
Real life has settled in and they have discovered that "the world ain't as easy to conquer as they thought 20 years ago." They are more informal in dress and behavior. Many are on their second marriages.
Most are parents. And they are still a bit stiff with each other.
The 30th was more relaxed, but my "research" didn't turn up anything
especially distinctive about it. Maybe it was a prelude to the 40th.
It looks as though the 40th is the high point in High School reunions, at least this one. My consultants agreed that this one was the most relaxed and the most fun. It was an experience filled with laughter, love, remembering hugs and a few tears for those who are gone. It was an emotional experience as they wrestled with their past demons. They talked with each other about how insecure they had felt in High School and how surprised they were to find that fellow students had really liked them. One of the women said, "58 is a wonderful age to be. It seems that as baby boomers we are moving into adulthood and are almost comfortable in our own skin."
At 91, I think I can agree that 58 is a great age.
The 50th Reunion is a different story. There were 60 in my class and there were over 30 of us at the party. Many of them I had not seen in 50 years, and we were busy getting re-acquainted and talking about High School days and our families. There was sadness for those who were gone, but it was a wonderful, quiet evening of remembering.
"Reunion" -- a beautiful word. Best wishes to the Class of '65.