The following article was written for the "Golden Memories ... A 50 Year Reunion Celebration" September 2014. We've kept this in place as a reminder why we all need to attend every reunion. Hopefully you'll return here and read this often ...
In 1964, our graduating class at Rapid City High School was one of the largest in the Midwest. Despite our class size, we were a band of brothers and sisters. We fought and argued together; laughed and cried together; worked and studied together. Our “Golden Memories ... A 50 Year Reunion Celebration" Sept. 19-21, 2014, is an opportunity to look back at those days, reconnecting with long-lost friends and sharing highlights of the journey along the way. If you haven’t already decided to attend, here are 7 reasons why you should!
1) Old friendships are gold -
Old friends have a memory of the same events, the same mode of thinking. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” You can’t make old friends. Reconnecting with long-lost comrades can be inspirational – and great therapy.
2) People are precious -
There’s a reason why older classmates attend their class reunions. They know that people are precious – especially old friends whom you haven’t seen for half a century. Recent graduates don’t come to reunions because they haven’t figured it out yet. They think they have forever to renew old friendships. They have no idea that, later, 50 years will seem like weeks. In retrospect, the only things that matter are faith, family and friends.
3) Life is short -
Sadly 140 of our classmates have died. We can take comfort in the fact that our class’ survival rate is higher than most. But for those of us who remain, life is finite. Few of us live our lives like we’re going to die one day. It’s easy to forget that we will never get back the moments gone by. As Mark Twain said, “Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly; kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that makes you smile.” The “Golden Memories ... A 50 Year Reunion Celebration” is one of those moments that will make you smile.
4) The high school you is not the real you -
Some people don’t want to attend their high school reunion because they’re not the same as they were in high school. No one is the same. Everyone has changed. We were embryos in high school. Our senior pictures – though amusingly nostalgic – don’t represent the real us. They are “pre-us.” We were works in progress in high school. By learning what our classmates have become – and by demonstrating what we have become – we expand our horizons.
5) The peer pressure is gone, so we can be ourselves -
Fifty years ago we often said or did things because of peer pressure. As we’ve matured, we realize that peer pressure isn’t important. A half-century later we can be ourselves, comfortable with who we are. We no longer have anything to prove by showing off.
6) It is never too late to repair a relationship, ask for forgiveness, or thank someone -
Old humiliations sometimes keep people away from reunions. But those who find the courage to attend a reunion are surprised to hear heartfelt mea culpas from old nemeses. Mending a relationship allows one to live life with more compassion and enthusiasm, according to the experts. That’s reason enough to say “yes” to the "Golden Memories ... A 50 Year Reunion Celebration".
7) Members of the Class of ‘64 were special people ... and they still are!
We had many diverse talents back then. In high school we used those talents to make a difference in our school and our community. We’ve continued to make a difference ever since – a difference with our loved ones, with our friends and with our fellow citizens in towns and cities all over the world. Some of us have stayed in the Black Hills, and some of us have left. But each of us still has that special something that made us proud to be members of the Class of ’64. And that’s good reason to reunite after 50 years.
Compiled by Mike Cooper 2014