Some time before he died at the ripe old age of 100, the great comedian and actor and vaudevillian, George Burns, recorded a song titled “I Wish I Was Eighteen Again.”
Not me!! At least not most of the time. But it wasn’t the case earlier this month.
We recently held our thirty fifth high school class reunion in the Chicagoland area, not far from Buffalo Grove High School where we had matriculated in 1976. Disney couldn’t even begin to create any of the magic that occurred.
We are the baby boomers. The last of them. Well, almost the last of them. The last of them have just turned 50 last year. They are the ones who are opening their mailboxes to their AARP magazines and are thinking, “I’m too young for this shit!”
We have accepted the subscription. I am resigned to my fate, so to speak. I am grateful that Clotho spun my life thread well; that Lachesis has her measuring stick out yet. (I don’t want to know the length remaining.) Most of all, I am grateful that I do not see Atropos on the horizon with her “abhored shears”.
Growing up is mandatory, what you do with it is optional.
So this member of the last of the baby boomers recalls moving to the suburbs from her south side Irish roots since 1880 and landing in “farm country” of the northwest suburbs of Chicago in the late 60’s. As it was then in days of yore. There were many others who did the same thing as has been documented in so many ways. What was borne of that were many families with similar demographics arriving in the same place at the same time.
Lots of kids the same ages.
A large group of us starting school together. In my case, from fourth grade onward through high school.
So, we were a tight crowd. Though we didn’t know that then. It was merely a given that we would all go to school together forever. At least that was the case in my little bubble of existence.
Forever ended June 8th, 1976, with a mortar board and a diploma. Everyone scattered and headed down life’s road.
High school was a good time in my life. I had my gang of friends. Our idea of a wild Friday night was pizza at Barnaby’s and the high school basketball game while grooving to the tunes of John Denver.
Okay, I admit it. I was a complete dork. Hey, it was the 70’s. Think leisure suits.
I am a historian. I keep records. I do genealogy. I scrapbook memories to save them as part of my legacy to my children. I find the past fascinating and love unlocking it’s secrets, both good and bad. I found a counterfeiter/horse thief in my family tree who ended up in Auburn Correctional in upstate New York. I think it lends character development.
Another George put me on a very special path. His name was George Bastable. He was one of my 4th grade crowd. Good, kind, athletic, handsome, funny. We ran into each other at every reunion. He was a beloved eighth grade teacher in Florida who had been lost for a while but clearly found his way to contentment and abundance.
George died of a massive heart attack on July 4th 2009.
At that point, another dear friend was abandoned by her husband of thirty four years due to a massive case of rectal cranial inversion and a bimbo on Facebook.
We need some cheering up here. A reunion! We’re not getting any younger and it is too long to wait for the 40th. Hired a company, picked a venue and a date and let the chips fall.
I was REALLY stressing about this, because I had been pushing for it since 2009. And I can be pushy. Sorry. It’s a character flaw and I am working on it. (Among several others.) My motivation is honorable in its intent. What if it was a flop?
There we were. Fifty somethings all wondering who put THAT monster number behind our names. We all recognized each other immediately and the magic began. Eat your heart out Disney; no animatronics here. The real Magilla. We WERE eighteen again.
It is hard to find the words. My friend, Steve Moore did it far better than I. I am proud to be considered a single malt friend and add his link below.
We closed the venue. We closed the bar. We closed the lobby. The hotel opened a closed restaurant for us to get us to behave. We dug up snacks and continued on until it was beginning to make sense to stay up all night. NO ONE wanted the night to end. EVERYONE wanted just a few minutes more of what existed between us, knowing the moment would slip away and become a cherished memory.
The last deed I did was to lift a glass to George. They both were there. One was a charming centegenarian applauding how well we achieved eighteen again. One was smiling knowing we knew he was in the room feeling our affection.
The memory lingers. The smiles remain. The magic abides.
Here is Steve’s link: http://www.gmancasefile.blogspot.com/2011/11/single-malt-friends.html