I received news of our 50-year class reunion about a year ago. A class of 152 high school students would be asked to reunite in Columbus, NE on Labor Day weekend – and yet I really didn’t know a single one of them. And it was a confession made to me by Margaret Ericksen Egleston in an email—we weren’t part of the popular crowd—that made me think: Why would I want to attend this reunion of once vibrant teenagers whose lives I crossed paths with at a dull, low point in my life? A time where my actions were monitored by a highly controlling mother who believed the world would end (“Armageddon”) before I reached the age of twenty.
But after I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of attending. Maybe I would finally get to know people who I should have made friends with during that troubling period in my life. I must confess that I wanted to visit with Donna Ewert Dubsky and Margaret. Both of them had read and enjoyed my book, Growing Up in Mama’s Club, which describes my childhood.
My wife Helen and I organized our summer so that the class reunion would be the frosting on the cake. We left our Tucson home on June 30 and spent fifteen days at a rental home in Estes Park, CO. Then it was off to stay with friends in Long Pine, NE. (If you’re interested, I blogged that visit in July.) We followed that with four days in downtown Chicago and over a month in Grand Rapids, MI where we raised our children and where I spent 33 years of my working life. We arrived in Columbus Thursday evening and enjoyed an excellent meal at Dusters. On Friday morning, I visited with my 90-year-old mother, who still believes Armageddon is imminent. We showed up at the VFW Hall at 5:30 PM, where the reunion commenced.