The High School Reunion
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Going to a high-school reunion is like going back in time and then experiencing future shock.
Suddenly there you are among the kids you knew several decades ago. Some of them, whom you have not seen since high school, appear remarkably well preserved, their faces immediately recognizable. Others have gone through a disturbing metamorphosis.
I am recognized and remembered by some for whom I have no recollection of at all. We wear name tags with a photo from the high-school year book. I search for familiar names. Girls I went out with. Girls I liked but, alas, never asked out. A girl who was stunningly beautiful then and there she is now, oh! oh! still exhilarating.
I greet guys who were in my classes, but some are missing and missed. 'You were good in math,' somebody recalls. My very best friends, with whom I have kept contact, did not attend.
High school! I will never be in such a community like that again. In my high school, in those olden days, there were no weapons or drugs or violence. There were kids who were in several of my classes and we knew each other, so different from adult mass anonymous society.
The reunion makes one think about the years. So many years, and what have we done? Yes, I have done a few things, but I think, I should have done more, could have done things better. Could have, would have, should have. Now, too late. Best not to dwell on it.
The kids grew up, got married. Some stayed in the home city, but many scattered all over. They went into diverse occupations, but interestingly a large number went into education. Maybe it reflects the good schooling we got. It was a time when some government schools did a good job. We were lucky. It was a time of optimism and we felt that our Athenian class was the best and we would go out and change the world and make things right.
Well, America has now had a couple of baby boomers from my generation as chiefs, and I can't say that this has made a difference. Most of the kids from my high-school class have done well professionally, but the world goes on as before, and worse in some ways.
College was different. I was in a huge university with large classes and only got to know a few students, all but one no longer in contact. My family moved around during my earlier years, so it was only in high school where my bonding with peers created life-long memories.
Future shock! I was transported back in time, back with my high school friends, but now they are shockingly so much older. I was seeing the present day as the future from the vantage point of the past. Their young faces and bodies were still imprinted in me, but now they are they are getting to be old! No it can't be! Reality and memory, fused and confused.
Those old high-school cliques sprung back. I reserve a place in a popular table, but I am overridden and outnumbered, and relegated to a table at the sides. After dinner, they play music from the old days, and I must say, perhaps with prejudice but I think not, that in that era, pop music reached a melodic magnificence that has not been matched since.
All too quickly, the kids left to go home or to their hotels. Like the high school days, this was now another memory. I wish I could relive it. Who says that reality is socially constructed? It is a lie! Time is a fascist that dictates what happened, and we can't change it.
So now, what? That ole high-school reunion makes me more conscious of time, the most precious of resources, and how we need to economize and make the best use of it, especially if there are big things we want to do. Economics tells us that the past is a sunk cost, and rational decisions only look forward to future costs and benefits. Easier said than done.
We need to watch out that our time does not get hijacked. There are time bandits who seek to steal time by diverting us from our most valued uses of time. Government is one of those time grabbers, putting us unwillingly into juries, making us fill out forms, taking a large chunk of the fruits of our time, slowing us down from optimum speed.
Boiled down, reality is space, time, and matter. We fret about space and matter, but it is time that counts, and the count down is scary. The high school reunion reminds me not to forget.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2004 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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