Over the weekend I attended a high school class reunion. I can't believe 30 years have passed by since my graduation from good old North Fremont High. But what fun it was to link up with people I haven't seen in years.
During the past 30 years, we have lost 6 of our classmates. Since there were only 53 of us to begin with, those losses have cut deep. We were close friends, and though we came from a variety of backgrounds, lifestyles, & religions, we blended nicely. We still do. My husband attended a class reunion with me a few years ago and he said later how impressed he was with the way we all get along. There are a couple of reasons for that.
We learned early on that it took all of us to keep things running. Since our high school was so small, there were no tryouts for the athletic teams. If you were interested in sports (and even if you weren't) you made the team. ;) Hence, I played on our high school girls' basketball team for two years. I was also involved in Honor Society, seminary, the pep club, drama, journalism, and I served as president of the entertainment club my senior year.
Most of my classmates participated in a similar list of activities. We worked hard together, and we played hard together. We learned to respect each other, even if our core beliefs differed greatly. Nothing was gained by arguing over who was right. We marched to the beat of our individual drums, and occasionally, beautiful music was created as a result.
My husband was unable to attend this year's event. He flew out to Alaska on the fishing trip of a lifetime on the same day that I headed to Ashton for my class reunion. My date this year was one of my sons, Derek. (He's such a lucky kid . . . and a very good sport. And he didn't want his mommy driving back to Rexburg in the dark. Let's just say her night vision isn't quite up to par these days. Not long ago, my eye doctor asked if I drive at night. When I said, "Yes," he replied simply: "Don't!" I think that was a hint.)
Derek & Jan posing at 5-11
After arriving in Ashton, Derek and I met up with one of my closest high school friends, Jan, who still lives in what I consider to be my hometown. From there, we drove over to my former Laurel leader's abode where we had a nice visit.
Then it was off to the former location of City Drug, the drugstore my dad used to manage while we lived in Ashton. No longer a drugstore, this store has been transformed into a deli\pizzeria. It is now known as 5-11, and it looks awesome. And the best part: they kept the original soda fountain intact.
I worked behind that soda fountain for a couple of years when I was in teeny-bopper mode. It was a popular hangout. We served sodas, malts, shakes, a variety of fountain drinks, and ice cream cones. The ice cream used was the real stuff. This produced strong muscles as I dug out the ice cream needed for each order. ;) True character building moments.
Back: Tammy & Moi; Front: Jan & Tawnie
Since none of us had eaten lunch, Jan, Derek, & I ordered a pizza while we were there. And as we were waiting for it to be prepared, two of our former high school buddies walked in. Tawnie also graduated in '79, and she had traveled to Ashton from Boise for our class reunion. It was awesome to see her. (She hasn't changed a bit since high school. She's also as hilarious as always.) While we were visiting with Tawnie and her hubby, in walked Tammy, a young lady we haven't seen in years. She was a year younger than the rest of us---but still a good high school friend.She played on the girls' basketball team with Tawnie & me. The four of us posed together as Derek (dubbed "photo-boy" most of the day\night.) took our picture. Tammy and her husband were in town because her father was in the hospital. While I was sad to hear that news, it was a neat coincidence that we all happened to be in the same place at the same time.
After enjoying a good visit and pizza, we left the 5-11 and drove north east to the location of the reunion, near the scenic Snake River. We enjoyed more good food & visits as we spent the next few hours strolling down memory lane.
I think it's important to reflect on where we came from, and then to ponder the growth that has taken place during the subsequent years. High school is a launching pad to the future. The choices we make can determine the path we'll follow throughout our lives.
There is a special bond between those who attend\survive high school together. We face that important transition between childhood and the adult world, learning significant lessons along the way.
I was blessed with wonderful friends during that era of my life. They were a big influence during a time when my world was filled with confusion. I don't think my friends ever knew how much of a stabilizing factor they were. My father struggled with serious health problems during my teen years. Normally a very kind-hearted man who served others in a gracious fashion, he was not himself when I was in high school. Because of his illness, there were times when he lashed out in an unreasonable fashion over silly things that didn't matter. Our family took the brunt of these outbursts. It was something I never talked about. It wasn't until after his death that we realized his behavior was a direct result of his condition.
How grateful I am that my friends filled an important void. They taught me crucial things that aided in the decisions I would make. Their encouragement and example would become pivotal lifelines on dark days. We laughed and cried together, although most of them never knew the cause of my tears. I will be forever grateful for their unconditional love and support.
Two of them are gone now---they left this mortal world much too soon. Glenda was taken from us compliments of an aneurysm. Verlene died of complications from lupus. Both were solid rocks and I will always honor their memory.Verlene was the first friend I made when my family moved to Ashton. She took me under her wing when I felt extremely lost and vulnerable. We were in the same ward and we often teamed up in silliness, much to our leaders' dismay. Glenda played on the girls' basketball team with me, and we served together during our senior year on the seminary council. Her quick wit and strong beliefs impacted me greatly. I look forward to a future reunion with both ladies when we can compare notes about our journey in mortal mode.
As I think about my high school friends, I know we missed out on numerous opportunities that were available in bigger schools. I don't think any of us would trade what we gained from attending a small school. Dedicated teachers made a huge impact in our lives. The time spent together shaped us in a myriad of ways. The ties between us are eternal. This is why I'm already looking forward to our next reunion. It will be held in five years. We decided Saturday night that life is too uncertain---and we've already lost too many members of our graduating class to let too many years lag between reunions. We'll meet together soon and enjoy another opportunity to renew old friendships and relive a wonderful time in our lives.
As Derek and I drove back to his home in Rexburg late Saturday night, he commented on how neat he thought it was that we were all so laid back at our reunion. "None of you were there to impress each other." It's because there is no need. We are who we are, and we love each other for it.
Welcome to Crane-ium: thoughts, poetry, lyrics & photography of Cheri J. Crane
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