It seemed like just yesterday

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Just a few days ago, I had the opportunity to be around many old people and it was quite a joy. No, it wasn’t at one of our local nursing homes, although there is much joy in visiting them.

My 50th Class Reunion of Pelham High School was held a few Saturdays ago and I was surprised at how old my friends had gotten. I’m pretty sure I was the youngest-looking one there, although a few who suffered from bad eyesight asked about my white hair.

I could have spoken sarcastically, “Well at least I still have some and, by the way, why did you put that pillow under your shirt?”

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Actually I was surprised, not at the hair loss and the weight gain, but how little some had actually changed. Of course most of us spoke, superficially, the old saw, “You haven’t changed a bit.”

I was wondering how many names I would forget, but I think I remembered everyone. I might have had to silently go through the alphabet quickly, but just as I was to speak, their names came to me.

I read this comic after the reunion. “I went to my high school reunion over the weekend. Some of my classmates had changed so much they didn’t even recognize me!”

Pelham High School is a small city school and the classes back in the 1960’s were not large. We only had 65 graduates and, of those, 15 have already passed. Still, we had a good turnout for the night.

I remember one comment from graduation night over 50 years ago. The speaker asked us to look around at our classmates. Then he said, “You will never be as close to any others than the ones you see tonight.” I was so excited to be graduating that I am surprised that I remember anything he said.

There is a lot of truth in what he said. Our class scattered like all do. We probably married someone from another town or state. Our jobs and lives took us far away from small Pelham High School. The distance is not only measured in miles, but also in ways that are hard to explain.

Yet, as we fast forward from June 5, 1967, to a few Saturday nights ago, there is a realization that the bonds formed by going to grade school with the same people for all those years have not disappeared.

Calling their names and hearing their voices, which by the way sounded just like they did 50 years ago, brought back so many valuable memories. I joked earlier about the natural aging that has come our way, but there is more to life than gray hair and extra pounds.

There is true affection for those you might have called best friends. I think, as I had my time to talk, that I could have named at least 4 or 5 best friends. Is that not a great situation?

Since we had such a small class, it was great to hear from most of them as they told where their journeys of life had taken them. Imagine, a small school in southwest Georgia has sent it graduates all over the world.

One of the most touching tributes came from one who had served in Vietnam. We lost one of our members to that war and this survivor spoke emotionally about his colleague and our classmate. I’m so proud of them.

I can say this. Fifty years ago seems a long time and it is, but when we got together for one night in Pelham, GA, it seemed like just yesterday.