Monday, September 28, 2015

"Lost in the Fifties..." ~ Class of '55 Reunion

Husband's high school class reunion (60th) in Salina Kansas, as it turned out, was a pleasanter experience than expected - for us both.

There were some 50 to 60 attendees at the casual "mixer" meeting on Friday evening. Some people had travelled from as far away as New Hampshire, Michigan and Colorado. 1955 class members, according to notes on display, are now scattered through most of the 50 states, with Arizona and Florida vying with the home state, Kansas, in the double figure league.

A sad, but inevitable, inclusion was a lovingly prepared display, made up of photographs from the school yearbooks, of all those class members who are known to have died since 1955. The proportion is thought to be: around 178 still on planet Earth, from a total of 250 students in the 1955 graduation class. Not bad! It was sad to note, among the memorialised, a youthful photograph of my husband's best friend from school days and beyond, his nickname, "Z". We had attended his funeral in Wichita a few years ago.

On the lighter side, there was a fun display of some pages from the school's yearbook listing graduating students' "Pet Peeves and Future Plans". Husband's contribution went like this:

There he is (in the bottom photograph) with two re-united classmates. The lady on the left very kindly extracted three items from her scrapbook and put them in his keeping: two poems he had written, and an article, with his photograph (below), mentioning some of his doings.


mike said...

Accolades to anyjazz for his interest seeing how the seedlings developed into mature trees. I've wondered about some of my old classmates, but never enough interest in knowing to inquire about the next class reunion. I've moved around a lot in my adult years and I'm not on any social media, so I'm still underground, presumed missing or expired.

On one of my many trips back to Kansas, I made it a point to find two of my buddies, classmates. We were an odd trio, as I was from a poor family and they were at least middle class, if not above. Their parents had advanced degrees and held high-level positions; I always enjoyed visiting their homes, because they had the accouterments: one had his own photography darkroom where I learned to process black & white film, the other his own spacious loft, boy-cave over the garage, where he kept the latest pornography (Playboy magazines)...LOL. Fast forward twenty years and both were living in a commune, unkempt, many children with various women, drugged-out and heavy drinking, no goals beyond that day. I was very dismayed!

Off topic - PBS' "POV" ("Point of View") documentary about Mark Landis, an art forger that donated his forgeries to museums around the USA as original art in the name of philanthropy, was excellent. It aired Friday night. It's available for viewing online or on the PBS Roku channel. Note that PBS has recently updated their Roku channel and it requires an update of user info and password. I had to do a search for "POV" on the Roku-PBS channel and it comes-up in "Arts & Crafts", then find this might be able to find it faster by searching "Mark Landis". Fascinating, quirky, very entertaining...worth watching!

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Were you able to hold your own in conversation, or did anyjazz interpret the British accent?

Twilight said...

mike ~ Your story of how your school buddies' lives turned out reminded me of one of my all-time favourite TV programmes in the UK (has been screened here too I think) - "7-UP", tracking the development of a group of youngsters from age 7 to retirement. I think there's a blog post somewhere on it, and we've talked about it in comment before.

Thanks for the recommendation - I shall make a note to look for the Mark Landis prog. via Roku/PBS.

(again) ~ Funny you should ask that! I mentioned to anyjazz, during the drive home, that it was nice to feel my accent was easily understood for a change. We came to the conclusion that the usual Kansas accent is more standard US-speak, without all the curlicues of the Texas and south Okie accent, it makes it easier for people to understand native English. I do enjoy hearing the Texas/Okie accent, but can see how it's less easy for those speakers to relate to straight-ish English, at least for those who aren't used to hearing it. Not that I had any deep conversations with husband's old class mates. Exchanges were fairly limited, and the room quite noisy (as might be imagined!) I had one very kind, sweet comment from a lady who said that she was intrigued by my posture, and had I been a model. LOL! LOL! All the nagging about walking with my head down in my youth must have done some good then!

Sonny G said...

Glad to hear it was an enjoyable experience for ya'll..

I graduated and never looked back and have no desire to ever do so.

I was a mainline Liberal among the born again and again and again:) conservatives.

I think the dye was cast at 14 when having heard all the Born Again BS I could handle, I asked the teacher why she and so many of my class mates were certain that their All Mighty had made such a horrific mistake at the time of their original birth , that they felt the need for a do over or 5~! She turned Purple, left the room and I was treated like the " AntiSonny" for the next 4 years till I could get the hell out of there. oh yea- 23 of what should have been my graduating class quit before then , 5 were pregnant or had given birth already and 3 were in youth prison.. I felt happy not to have been among the Born Again crowd as it seemed they didn't fair to well in life.. lol lol
3 days after grad day I left and went to NY, got a job-changed my haircolor- got a nose job and changed my last name.. NOW, that's a true REBIRTH :)
bye bye class of 1973 and good luck to ya.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Oh my! :-) Thank you for contributing your own experiences here. LOL! I had a message hammering in my head during any conversation...."do not mention politics, do not mention religion!" I didn't! Thankfully they didn't either.

Good for you on your own successful re-birth. I guess we all shed various skins as we go through life, and we come out the other end somehow different. I know I'm way different from the school day me. Along the way a few much loved and respected individuals helped (whether they realised it or not) to bring out another version of me, one previously hidden. ;-)

anyjazz said...

A good accounting of our brief meeting with a room full of strangers to you and also to me. I talked to maybe five of them whose names I recognized but I had little memory of our contact while in high school. As you say, it turned out much more pleasant than we had feared.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ Thanks! We, like some others there, were a wee bit "out of the loop" as compared with what could be termed 'the serial reunion attenders' who were likely to recognise one another quite easily with just a maximum of 10 year intervals between meetings.

It was good to see so many there and looking and sounding fit and well. Those few struggling with physical disability remained still in good spirits too!
I loved the idea that your friend Donna, with whom you'd researched the whereabouts of some lost class mates, staunchly pooh-poohed any idea of this being "the last reunion". In spite of her being probably the most physically challenged of any, she was the one most keen for the next get-together. That's positive thinkin' for ya!

Kaleymorris said...

I'm glad y'all had a good time! I say y'all because I can remember being quite certain I would never use the term when we moved from Kansas to Oklahoma. But it has turned out to be a useful word.
As for "accents," I remember a co-worker's husband gave a group of us a ride home one snowy day. We chatted a bit on the way. After he dropped me off, he turned to his wife and said, "She's not from around her, is she?" I had been about a dozen years away from Kansas by then. It always surprised me to hear I sounded so differently when I grew up just next door.

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~ Thanks - we did enjoy it - glad we went.

Kansas is next door US-style yet by British standards it's a fair stretch away - from SW Okie land anyway, where locals have been infected with that famous Texas drawl y'all!

In England, in the north-east especially, around Newcastle-on-Tyne and Sunderland, it's said that at one time different streets in the same city had their own particular dialects! That must have been fun for strangers! :-)

I don't say "y'all" much but enjoy writing it.