ANGELS #8…50 years later:

For me high school reunions are a blast. Number one: I’m a people-person. I just like people (pets are good, but people first, please). When actually in high school, I’d hear people talk about classmates like they were a-holes. I honestly don’t remember any, but when young and insecure I’m sure there were some a-hole moments in there. But, in my years at an all-boys’ private school I don’t remember any. Maybe not having girls around at that susceptible age to muck things up helped? But 50 years after graduating I guess we gain some perspective. Who’s going to come to a reunion and be an a-hole? Wouldn’t make sense. Unless it’s that the a-holes stay away, it should reinforce an optimistic view point that there really aren’t any a-holes, just occasional lapses into a-holism for one reason or another. 

I still hang around with many of my grade and high school buddies, but there were some guys I would love to see who don’t show up. Since I was on the planning committee (mostly absentee since I live out of town), I had the list of attendees. I called several, talking some into coming, but several, for some reason, refuse… a guy I went to grade with I really enjoyed and a guy and his wife Mary and I used to double-date with just won’t show up. I don’t get it, but to each his own, etc. etc. I certainly won’t judge. It was just delightful to see all those guys that were there. Some that grew up rich no longer are. Some were poor (me), but are rich now (not me). There were judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers, carpenters, plumbers…you name it. Some look pretty much the same, some older than our 68 years. A lot of bald and white heads, anyway. I was pleasantly surprised that many were highly successful and nobody complained about their fate in life. There was a pharma-psychiatrist with a t-shirt with an image of an irritated-looking guy with a cat lying at his feet sleeping, maybe licking his paws. It read: “An experiment gone wrong. Pavlov’s dog.” A medical doctor with a long pony-tail… the list goes on.

One guy I really liked, Bob D., always volunteers to help out and is on the reunion committee. He’s a good guy and has a great sense of humor. A guy there I hadn’t seen since high school gave me a compliment that I looked the same as in high school (I still have all my hair and my mother’s Irish and Scottish genes). I thanked him. Bob said: “What are you thanking him for? He just told you you looked 68 in high school.” Cracked me up. Bob’s an angel. A retired attorney, he had a daughter who dove into a shallow pool and ended up paralyzed. Although an academic and great adopted sport athlete, she passed away due to her condition. We’re members of the same poignant club as I’ve lost both a son and grandson. He now lives summers west of town on a lake at a Camp Courage loving and caring for his campers.

Got to talk to anther angel: Randy H., who was a great guy but I hadn’t thought of in years and when I saw him his face it light me up and brought back a favorite memory. He and a friend I loved, Barney, who passed away, and I bonded one night helping The Trashmen, a local band with national recognition, carry their instruments and equipment into their venue. Got in free and watched back stage. Very cool. I had also wrestled one year when I got kicked off the hockey team. Randy was in my weight and we bonded much more personally, if you get my drift. God, what a sport. The longest six minutes you can imagine. He still works with inner city kids as a phy-ed teacher at wrestling and other sports. I could tell from the gleam in his eye how much he enjoys it. Sports is melting pot. Nobody is rich, or poor, or black, white, red, or yellow. You’re on the same team, in the same culture. If you count on each other everything is cool. Randy’s cool.

There are other stories I could tell. I couldn’t or wouldn’t find an a-hole in the bunch. Lot’s of angels, though.