Some of you may know that, together with the Buckhannon-Upshur Class of 2011, we just celebrated our 10th Class Reunion. I was part of the group which helped to put the event together and though it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, I’m quite glad I won’t need to help organize another one for several years.
Throughout the planning of the reunion and the event itself, I learned a great deal and came to a few conclusions. As many of you may also be celebrating a milestone class reunion this summer, I hope you won’t mind if I share them with you. (And if you do mind, you of course have the luxury of putting down the paper!)
Firstly, I realized people move. You don’t require a reunion to figure that out, you say? I suppose I didn’t either, but as I compiled the list of grads along with addresses, I quickly discovered to what an extensive degree my graduating class has spread out in ten short years. Some of us have stayed on in our hometown, but many have found opportunities elsewhere. Yes, many of our class are accomplishing great feats all across the country. The point of this conclusion? That Buckhannon-Upshur, and more specifically, our Class of 2011, is actively impacting a much broader part of the world than just our small hometown. That makes me proud.
Secondly, people marry. Or at least they have companions. Part of the reunion I enjoyed most was meeting the spouses or significant others of classmates—people I’d never met before, yet with whom I had a common bond. Stories were shared of high school days and those “plus-ones” received new insight into their companions’ younger life, often before they knew each other. People marry into families and gain in-laws; now I realize they marry into graduating classes too and the Class of 2011 is the beneficiary of new classmates.
Thirdly, people change. I must admit when I began to receive the RSVPs for the reunion, there were some folks I was less than thrilled to see again. Either due to strained relationships in the past or old resentments, I was sure some reconnections wouldn’t be pleasant. What did I learn? People change. In the ten years since graduation, the mistakes of our immaturity had been forgotten and though we may not have been friends in high school, now we were united by a common age, a common history, and new friendships could be forged, replacing old animosity. Yes, people change, people grow, people mature—I certainly have—and I’m happy to report it was almost exclusively for the better.
If you read my columns with any frequency, you’ll know I usually write in threes. Patterns or sequences of three are pleasing to the eye and to the mind; therefore, I try to stick to that rule. However, today I must break that rule for my fourth and most important reunion conclusion: People come home. I sat for an hour or more talking with one of my very first friends from elementary school that evening. He now lives in Tennessee and it had been the full 10 years since I’d last seen him. Our ‘reunion’ was heartwarming. I was fascinated by his career and life in the big city, I was charmed by his Italian bride and the story of their romance, but mostly I was glad he decided to come home, if even for just that one night. You see, old friends—true friends, always come home to us and that is something for which we can all be thankful.
If you’re having a class reunion this summer, I hope you come to similar conclusions, I hope that you have as much fun as I had, and to make this sentence complete with three wishes—I hope you don’t have to plan and organize it! Best to all of you, and…Go Bucs!