Like art, this picture truly says a 1,000 words and signifies thousands of memories and hundreds of hugs and KISSES. We still do that, even at our age.
So much like the proms of our younger years, I didn't want this weekend to end. Yet, here we are, once again, back to daily lives in homes from Arizona, to Washington and nearly fifty states in between, We were grade schoolers when Hawaii and Alaska became states and Sputnik was launched. The race to space colored our lives with a sense of adventure, while we came face to face with issues of race in our nation. We were in junior high when the Arms race escalated, and we thought our young lives would be cut short by atomic bombs from Russia. During high school President Kennedy was shot before our eyes, leaving our lives jolted and shaped by history. Through it all we were kids, we had our friends, our clicks, our own ups and downs. We grew apart.
Fifty years jetted by us, and we came together as Wardogs, as one.
I've pondered how we lost track of each other, even best friends seemed to fade away. Why? How? I asked. What happened? My answer came on the first night of the reunion on a yellow bus ride out to the Spook Light.
|We all claimed to have seen|
the spook light.
Sitting in front of us was a classmate I had not seen in fifty years. He'd written us a letter for our 25 reunion, that I would never forget. He said that he was researching medicines that might one day cure alzheimer's disease. There we were on a yellow Miami Oklahoma school bus, bouncing down Highway 10. I taped him on the shoulder, "Aren't you Tom Haskins?" I asked. Instantly, we relaxed, introduced our spouses and all began to chat about how we'd met, where we lived, and what we were doing now. Agreement was easy on one subject....retirement is the greatest. During the conversation I wanted to know more about his research, but instead I learned the answer to my "Why, How, and What happened to us questions." After graduating from TU where he met his wife, Vera, he couldn't get a job because he was eligible for the draft. One single word that changed our generation for ever, but never with the honor of our fathers'--the draft.
March 8, 1965 combat troops landed in Viet Nam. I had my answer.
|Larry Irwin, gives us the details of the|
historic Coleman Theatre.
We stayed out late at the spook light, sat up even
later in the hotels and told stories. The next day
some toured the Coleman theatre, ate a Ku-Ku burger, drove
|Happy Birthday Sara|
|Dena Anders, 100 years young and a living|
reminder of childhood times.
|Ann can still hula hoop.|
Saturday we laughed and looked tired, but rallied and talked all day long....By evening we came together and shared our grief with the loss of 56 classmates. One by one their names were called, and tears flowed as we remembered their youthfulness, their energies, their time....
|C.J. and Randy|
|Letty and Bill Smith, neighborhood friend...|
|Candy, one of my new friends for life.|
|The Morning After: Susan, Richard, Marsha|
Yes, we said, "Remember when...." followed by laughs, giggles, tears, and awes, but more than that we discovered how much we've become like each other. Life has brought us closer with every fiber of our souls and hearts. We truly came together as a class, apart no longer but wrapped together in the bonds of friendship.
As Rev. Russ Martin said after every game, "When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He marks--not that you won or lost--but how you played the game."
Thank you to all who made this fabulous reunion possible.
**Look for a future story on All Who Have Served.
***No, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease for our generation, but there are drugs being tested that might someday help those the age of our grand children.