Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Spirit of '76

I'm heading home this weekend for my 30th high school reunion. I'm going to have an advantage over many of the folks who will be there. I've read their biographies.

I volunteered to help in compiling the biography book for the reunion, and so they're being sent to me to publish. Of course, I've been reading them along the way, and it's been an experience in itself.

The high school we attended is a private, Catholic school in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The class had 206 graduates, from all walks of life. Our parents spanned the economic spectrum, from parents who were struggling to raise the money for tuition to those who owned major businesses in the Milwaukee area. (One classmate actually got a brand-new Camaro for his 16th birthday.) Most of us fell somewhere in the middle.

We went through school with teachers and administrators telling us we were one of the brightest classes they had ever had. I'm not sure any of us really believed that, and assumed that it was something they said to every class. In retrospect, however, we were a really bright class. Case in point: my GPA at graduation was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.4. I was ranked 102nd in the class. I made the top half of the class by the skin of my teeth with an A- grade point average.

Given that, I shouldn't really be surprised by the biographies I'm reading, but I'm really impressed with what we've done with our lives. We have doctors and lawyers, accountants and engineers, teachers and laborers. We have librarians, academics, a judge...and even a nun. We've had children and grandchildren, been married and divorced, and have experienced the loss of friends, family, and classmates. We've survived cancer, have traveled the world, and have now come to life in our late 40's realizing that, while things may not have worked out as we planned, on the whole, things have worked out. (Our classmate, Sister Mary Matthew noted that, "If you want to give the Lord a laugh, tell Him your plans.")

I'm very much looking forward to reacquainting myself with this group of people. How lucky we are, to have known each other and to have the chance to reflect on what we've become.


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