Approximately 100 alumni and some spouses were in the ballroom of the Towson Golf and Country Club recently for our 50th reunion. Entering the lobby, I heard "You haven't changed a bit" being said to everyone. If that were true, we still would be residing in developments like Woodcroft or in brick bungalows near
In the context of recent political conventions, we alumni could ask, "Are we better off than we were five years ago, at the last reunion?" The first answer coming to my mind is: We are definitely better off than the 66 on the list. The only other reunion I attended was the 45th. By then, I was a retired principal from the other "ville" (
I'm not absolutely sure what "better off" means, but in the summer of 1962, we were altruistic adolescents with the world stretching before us. None of us used canes or popped statins. We were not worrying about retirement income or the real estate market.
It's sobering to consider the future when the majority of your life already has taken place. At a reunion, you come together as a group because of a shared past moment. It is an occasion encouraging reconnection and reconciliation. Some classmates boasted about all they have accomplished since high school; others revealed it was the only time that really mattered. All of us have lost money in the stock market, and many of us have downsized. Conversations drifted into doubt about the direction of America and what effect this might have on children and grandchildren. Becoming a part of the lives of two little boys, the grandchildren of close friends, has changed my perspective on very young children. They have an effortless optimism that adults want to last forever.
Some Parkville High alumni have reason to feel that things are worse now than five years ago. However, most of us embraced our 50th reunion, believing we still have some contributions and adventures left in us. A bit too old to be baby boomers and yet too young to be part of the Greatest Generation, we are searching for a place in history. We are elderly adolescents, trying to find our matured selves within a complicated society that values youth even more than when we were young. We continue to redefine ourselves, facing the future again, hoping it will stretch a while longer.