A Tale of Two High School Reunions
L.A. blogger Ron Kaye sets aside the city's political wars to offer a somewhat bittersweet account of his Cleveland high school's 50th reunion. The piece begins with Kaye furtively noting the social terrain at the hotel in which "some 300 elderly people" were gathered: "There was no line at the bar. Drinks were cheap so I got a
double and scanned the crowd, spotting an old girlfriend. Like 90
percent of us, she wasn't skinny like she was back in 1959 when we
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Kaye's story is more like a Rip Van Winkle homecoming to a town that's changed, rather than an editorial. He realizes how fortunate his generation of pre-boomers were -- not only compared to that of his parents, who had to contend with the Great Depression and war, but even, perhaps, compared to the even more affluent children who were to follow Kaye's graduating class decades later, but who now face an uncertain future.
"Our parents," Kaye summarizes, "were the greatest generation, no
doubt, overcoming the Great Depression and lack of education to achieve
the middle class. We were the luckiest generation, spoiled and
indulged, educated and liberated from many of the cultural restraints
of the past."
Writer Erin Aubry Kaplan, whose Cakewalk blog appears on the KCET Web site, recently examined her 30th Gardena High School reunion. She, too, finds her generation a little lacking in greatness:
bash at the Long Beach Hilton saw plenty of conversation," Kaplan
writes, "but almost none of it was about taking the world by storm or
falling short of dreams or assessing where people are now versus where
they envisioned being 30 years ago."
Even here though, Kaplan
somewhat melts in the glow of her peers' recognition and reminiscences,
realizing that "we came to illuminate the past for a night, to break
away from all the war stories that accumulated too quickly after high
school (jobs, marriage, kids, illness, divorce) and sink back into the
blissful feeling of what it was like to only have to worry about
cleaning out a locker or getting to practice on time."
Reading these two piece makes you realize that no matter when any of us attended high school, it was the right time to be young.