Thursday, August 1, 2013

40 Years? Really?

Last week, Jan and I took a trip up north to attend my 40th high school reunion. Hard to believe it's been 40 years! We had a good time, as we combined the reunion with some other stops along the way to see some friends and relatives.

Tuesday, we traveled to Lynchburg, VA, where we spent the night with one of Jan's college roommates. We had a good time catching up. On Wednesday, we drove north to Ashburn, VA and spent a couple days with a nephew and his wife. We did a bit of walking, around their neighborhood and the nearby town of Leesburg. Friday morning, I went with our nephew and played full court basketball for an hour. I survived and I'm actually proud of myself. I played under control, and my mind (which sometimes thinks I'm still in my 20s) didn't convince my body to try something I would regret. I didn't feel too bad the next couple of days. Just a little sore.

After I showed the young guys how to play the game, we traveled to the Rockville, MD area for the reunion as well as some sightseeing. We took a detour to a town near Baltimore where we spent the afternoon with another of Jan's college roommates, along with her husband, father, and daughter-in-law. We had a great time talking and reminiscing. It was good to see them again after a number of years. Friday night found us at a reunion dinner/happy hour. It was good to see some of my classmates, once they told me their names. For some reason, none of us looked the same as we did 40 years ago.

Saturday morning, we got up and took a trip down memory lane. We drove through our old neighborhoods, taking pictures of the schools we attended, the houses in which we lived, the place where we met, and the church where we were married. We also stopped and visited my parents' graves, where I found that I still get choked up after almost seven years. It was good to see the old places, most of which looked pretty good. The yards and playgrounds seem to have shrunk quite a bit over the years. So many memories came to mind during our travels that I couldn't begin to list them here.

After our trip around the past, we went to a cookout where I caught up with even more of my classmates. Again, I remembered them after they told me their names. There was a class picture from 1973 on one wall in the house. It was amazing to see how much hair we all had back then! We ate some good food, had a few drinks, and remembered the good times we had back when. It seemed like a simpler time because we didn't yet have the responsibilities of careers and families. We were the ones who were going to change the world, and some are doing that, although in smaller ways than we imagined. Most of us have grown up to be responsible adults who are doing some good. We have changed, in ways beyond the obvious physical changes. Some of the changes are good, some are not, but the group that graduated from high school in 1973 really doesn't exist anymore.

Sunday morning, we headed for home. On the way, we stopped to see another nephew and his wife, along with their two year old son and their six day old daughter. We went from a bunch of memories to a family that was making their own memories that they can tell about 40 years from now. I got to hold our grand-niece and it was good to hold part of the future. It will be fun to see how her life unfolds, as well as the lives of all of our grand- nieces and grand-nephews.

Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can't go home again. Maybe you can't. Maybe you can, but it's not really home. Or maybe, all of our past experiences form the home we're in today.

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