In a few minutes, I'll start getting ready for my 45th high school class reunion and I find it hard to collect my thoughts about the occasion.
When I graduated from high school in 1964, life was chaotic because of the assassination of President
Kennedy and because of the Vietnam War.
In high school, I knew a lot of my fellow students but had a pretty small circle of friends, mainly those who worked with me on the high school newspaper and those who shared my political interests and activities.
I'm not quite sure what to expect, other than seeing a lot of classmates where I know the name, but I might be slow in putting it together with a face. There's also the realization that we all are at the front end of being senior citizens. My mother was 55 when I graduated, compared to me being 63. Back then, I thought she was old.
What stands out in my memory from 1964 is the draft for military service and the Vietnam War. Given my age, my life was regulated by the local draft board, a group of local citizens who made life and death decisions for young guys in our area. It all seemed to blatantly unfair given the perception back then that their sons always found some kind of deferment from service.
The year I graduated there was growing civil unrest over Vietnam. The polarization had to approach or exceed what we are seiing now. Anti-war protesters took over buildings and disrupted meetings.
There was a general distrust of the federal government, particularly President Lyndon Johnson and the military leaders who were prosecuting the war. People accepted they were being lied to about the war
as the protests grew.
I remember that the magic number back then was "12" which was the number of credits you had to take in college to be considered a full-time student and stay out of the draft.
The war ended and my life continued and went in different directions from my hometown. I'm interested to see how others have fared. How has life treated them? How are they handling this stage of life? Are they happy?
For me, I'm very happy. It has taken me awhile for my heart to fully wrap itself around the source of the happiness, but I'm getting there. I'm learning that it's not a matter of being retired, but refired. I feel that heat coming back to the point it had reached when I graduated.
It's more focused and more intentional, but I'm seeing it more clearly as I get older.
A sidenote; our 25-year-old son came home this weekend to attend a wedding. My advice to him, hang on and don't let go.