Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's Really Been 39 Years

In about two weeks I am heading to the hinter lands of west Texas for my high school reunion celebrating 39 years since graduation from dear old Colorado City High. I know 39 years has absolutely no symmetry to it; nothing like 25, 30 or 40 years. I think the oddity of it fits my somewhat out of sync graduating class and people of our particular birth year where everything we did and experienced was just a tick off center.

Marty and I were both born in ’54, dead in the middle of the baby boomer generation. We graduated from different Texas high schools in 1972 and we have always believed our classes were a kind of bridge between eras.

We were too young to be a real part of the upheaval of the 60’s, the civil rights demonstrations, the antiwar protests, Chicago, Watts and Woodstock. On the other hand we were much too close to the 60’s and we wanted to be counter culture enough to eschew the yuppie, disco crowd (thank God). It seems we don’t really have an era, unless it would be the era of being on the cusp.

Musically we bridged the psychedelic era, progressive country and bubble gum. The Beatles had broken up, Waylon and Willie were just being found, the Archies were the leaders of bubble gum and the Bee Gees were just way too, well they were just way too. In 1972 we had “American Pie”, “Nights in White Satin”, “Ben” and “Puppy Love”. No wonder we are all a bit schizophrenic.

Politically we were awash in sea of chaos and confusion. Our older brothers and sisters railed against the war and the draft or railed against those railing against it. In 1973, our first year in college, President Richard M Nixon stopped the draft. We lost that particular freak flag before we could really fly it. In that my lottery number was 24 I was thrilled to lose this marching issue. I’m embarrassed to say I cast my first presidential ballot in a very self-serving manner and helped elect a felon.

In spite of our somewhat confused era, or lack thereof, our classes soldiered on through life. We participated in and were the recipients of great change morally and socially. Women gained, freedom of expression expanded, lives became more chaotic, jobs offered less security and nothing was static.

Our era, that thing that defines you as a special generation, is simply the era of change, an era of radical, amazing, frightening change. Maybe that’s why having reunions every so often instead of 10 years suits my class just fine because we have always been a bit off center. I know I look forward to the every so often years to reconnect with those who have this era in common.

For me this reunion will be different because of Marty. She always enjoyed going to my class reunions. Over the years she become acquainted with many parts of my history and really enjoyed these trips treating them as a type of psychological archeology. A lot of my old class mates know Marty and have enjoyed her quick wit, humor and ability to keep me ever so humble.

Alas, I don’t think she will make this reunion. It would be just too hard for her and for me too. It makes me a little sad and a lot nervous to be facing all of those memories alone. When you have been together as long as we have, being alone, going solo, makes you feel like a part of you is missing, like maybe you aren’t completely dressed or your zipper is constantly down, you just feel a little out-of-sync, a tick off center; sounds about right for a 39 year reunion.

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