Saturday, May 25, 2013

Embracing a past

We stood together one last time. All forty-eight of us. We stood there leaving twelve years behind. Teenagers eager to be on their way to life, standing together one last time. The class of 1965.

Well, we did all leave Franklin Monroe High School heading out our various directions. Some moved away. Some stayed. Some of us had families and grew older. Oh, wait, we all grew older. Those who stayed in the area kept track of one another. Those of us who moved away didn't do quite so well. It seems that now that we are older, those old friendships mean more. Perhaps we just look at life a bit differently realizing that our childhoods' were growing up times with these people. Perhaps it is embracing a past with people who remember.

Gene and Sandy were high school sweethearts. They made a point of trying to get our scattered classmates together at their home. The last time I was home two years ago we gathered around their yard laughing about old times and catching up on news. The men sat at one end of the yard and the women (still giggling girls) sat at the other. The years melted away. Distance and years hadn't changed that bond that tied these students together. Old pictures were passed around as well as the '65 yearbook. We had all gotten older, but the bond that once was seemed to erase the years and pull us together once more.

Once more I am heading to Ohio in a couple of weeks. My plan was to stay with Sandy and Gene. Gene loved the class gatherings and had even personally informed class members that once more the class of '65 would meet. On May 10th we lost Gene. I found myself overcome with memories of high school years and Gene's kindness to everyone. He always had ready laughter and loved his friends. Suddenly the miles were all to many. The class gathering was too late. Time did not hold still.

Sandy and I decided that we needed to continue with the plans for the class to meet. Gene would have wanted to have us all together. And, perhaps, we need each other just a little more now. Many of us will come from some distance to see faces of those we last saw on that day we graduated from FM. We will gather in memory of our good friend Gene Bridenbaugh. We will gather because it is a good thing to embrace those who have passed through our lives. It is good to laugh with those who remember a time when we went from children to adults.

Sometimes reunions and alumni gatherings happen with the local people not realizing how important those events are to those cannot be in attendance. Sometimes we don't get a second chance to see a classmate. And, perhaps, just perhaps, we might renew an old friendship that we grow to cherish even more.

I am going to spend my birthday weekend in Ohio. I can think of no better place to be than in the place of my roots and with friends of my heart. Each trip home is a rebirth. I learn to love deeper, to cherish more and to never say 'good-bye'. Believe me, Gene will be at our class gathering. He wouldn't miss it for the world.

1 comment:

Axiesdad said...

"...it is a good thing to embrace those who have passed through our lives." I love this. It's one of those statements that just stops you in your tracks and says, "Think about this." By the time you are our age (I was class of '62) so many people have "passed through our lives" most of them will not be coming back again.
Thank you for sharing these feelings. I hope you will find something at Things my Grandkids Should Know that will stir something for you.