Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Walking Memory Lane- A Time of Reunion

Walking Memory Lane, Time of Reunion
The moment the last bell rung on May 29th, 1969 to now 40 years later seems all at once yesterday and vivid, yet distant and unattached like cells in my brain. August 29th, 2009 reunited classmates, who came from as far away as Japan to reminisce about old times, fun times, and the carefree days of our youth.
The reunion started with the meet and greet. The room was buzzing with smiles, hugs and old people. For a moment I thought I had stumbled upon Happy Trails To You Nursing Home. There was a table where we cashed in our tickets for wine, beer or other spirits but we had options on Geritol, Ex-Lax, Viagra with 4 hour warning label, or Grecian Formula at another table. Realizing I had entered into a production for a new reality show” Born to be Wild Baby Boomers Tire Easily” I quickly got past the denial stage of age and onto acceptance. Why waste time I grew old just standing there.
Reunions at this point in our lives spark fear and trepidation in some. Questions come to mind like, what if I don’t remember names, faces and do I measure up and most importantly can anyone see my Depends through my pants. None of us can see or hear at this age so recognition is quickly remedied by taking a quick peek at the name tag. Yes, I peeked while maintaining eye contact, while the other eye darted, scanned and uploaded the photo and name tag firmly attached to everyone’s chest into what’s left of my processing unit and matched it against the FBI’s most wanted list. This way, I appeared to be mentally intact with a brilliant memory and I think I fooled no one.
It’s easy to mis-associate at this level, like placing names with occupation or how you remember others. While shaking hands and speaking to a couple of classmates, Paula came up and made a gesture like she was playing an air guitar and said” Jeff, are you still playing music and do you still have a band?” “ I play some guitar but only to myself behind closed doors in a padded cell” I replied. She told everyone standing there, “I use to love to go and watch Jeff and his band play.” “It was so much fun” she continued. I thanked her for the kind comments about my music and band that I never had. It’s okay Paula, we will get you some help soon and thanks for the fantasy.
On the way to the rest room, I heard my name being called out behind me. Hearing voices at this age is a bad connotation. Most mass murderers claim they heard voices. I continued on but the voice wouldn’t leave me. Slowly I turned to look and I saw Richard waving at me to come over to his table. I first I thought he was swatting flies, but I ambled over to be safe. “Jeff, do you think Cabo is a good place to retire to?” he asked. “I’m trying to convince my new wife that it is” he continued. I’m nodding my head and pursing my lips and said “I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s great” I replied. “You are still in the travel business-- aren’t you?” he queried. “I was in the freight business for many years and long ago, but not the travel business” I replied. Sorry Richard, you’ve lost your first argument with your new wife but I think I can get you and Paula a group discount at The ‘Home.”
Men are lucky to live this long and never have to make a name change unless we convert to an Islamic Terrorist Organization and become jihadists. Being able to still pronounce names, most no more than 2 syllables like Bob, Jack, Ed, Sue, Gayle, Jim, Pat and Leslie is refreshing. Imagine that I changed my name to Akbar Said Mohammed Ephat- Try putting that on a name tag in small letters. Now along comes Paula imitating an explosive device saying, “Akbar- do you still blow things up?”
Women through divorce or death of a spouse may have 4-5 last names now. I think I saw this on a name tag. Linda (Jones, Smith, Woods, Brady, Martin____________) McNeil. I asked her what the blank was for after Martin and she said no sense in stopping now. I thought it was a brilliant retirement plan.
The DJ’s spun music of our time which I personally thought and still do was and is the best. White boys still can’t dance! When we were young we would get a bit intoxicated and relaxed and our brains would trick us into thinking we had soul. This would translate into our bodies through some metamorphic chemical mutation and make us bust out into” I feel good, like I knew I would” with all manner of jerking motions. Now, we don’t need intoxicants to convince us of this. We have less brain cells now competing for our bodies so while we still think we can bust out the moves; we can’t remember why we still can’t dance. It’s all good.
The time, as expected, passed quickly. In our younger years we would shut everything down and ask why everyone was leaving at 2:00 a.m. By 9:00 P.M. our spouses were in a complete coma of boredom, looking at their watches wondering when it was all going to end. By 10:00 P.M. we all had missed our bedtimes- As we departed there was still some Geritol, Ex- Lax, and Grecians Formula on the table, but there was a run on Viagra!
The world is much different now than as we knew it but maybe it’s a matter of perspective. When we were young we saw the possibilities before us not the dangers, nor the disappointments life dole’s out. We only saw the positive and us in it and how we would change things for the better. Have we succeeded? What has changed as a result of us being out there and does it matter? I submit that things have changed and it does matter in the sense we took our places, made our moves, immersed ourselves in whatever it was that drove us. In that effort we all made contributions to those around us regardless of how large or small we have made a difference. Hail to thee AHS class of 69.

1 comment:

  1. I think we have made some changes in our small way... It was an interesting evening, no question!