On Saturday eve, the second night of our class reunion, was the first time I have ever been speechless, albeit no fault of my own. I suffered from an unwelcomed and unexpected case of laryngitis and my vocal cords would not cooperate. So, I am taking the liberty of writing what I couldn’t express Saturday eve.
I decided to send this email to everyone, attendees and those who didn’t share the evening with us. On this very auspicious night, our class shared some moments in time that would be embedded in our hearts and minds forever. The room vibrated with gratitude and love. We were part of a collective consciousness that palpated throughout the room.
On Sunday driving north to my home, I was overcome with feelings I rarely had ever experienced. It was not like we had been friends throughout our lives, or even with each other during our high school years. Some even had bad memories and scars from those years, but that night, all that once was, faded and was washed away into an abyss. We all were aware that this may be the last time we would ever be together as part of the time capsule we shared in our history. What emerged was transformational and humbling. We felt as ONE!
I was filled to the brim with joy and a touch of sadness. So many feelings emerged during my drive back home. I found myself weeping, laughing and reflecting on one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I think the highlight was the connection I felt with everyone. We shared our history, era, place and events that we have carried throughout these 60 years. Howard Parks captured it all in a 20 minute video. In another 7 minute video we viewed seventy of our classmates who are no longer with us and at least 40-50 more that we don’t know about. Seeing their innocent faces from the past brought tears to our eyes realizing that our time is not that far away.
Bruce Rogow, our MC brought with levity the realization that our time is moving faster with every passing day and we are now in the last quarter. I liken it to toilet paper. The closer we get to the end of the roll, the faster it seems to go. We are indeed the lucky ones. Living in the present, in the moment gave way to our own mortality, so the evening had even more meaning. We soaked up each other with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for living and sharing a part of our lives. The pieces came together like a quilt that made up our past. We wrapped it around us as a reminder of how lucky we are to be alive and share this event with each other. I am confident these sentiments were shared by all who attended as expressed in a show of hands of those who want to do an 80th birthday party. It appeared that no one wanted the night to end.
I am reminded of a few lines written by TS Eliot: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
For those who did not attend, we missed you. For those who were part of this experience, treasure what will never come again.
With love and gratitude,
Joan E (Gilbert) Childs