Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coming to Together

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.
Just like in life, between the tears of reality that the war had played an active roll in changing all of our lives, we also found time to come together, to laugh, to share pictures of families, and to genuinely listen to the lives of our friends, our classmates.  We've said good-bye to over fifty classmates, but for those of us who came to the reunion we created a new bond of friendship with each and every class mate we came in touch with, and even those who weren't able to come to the reunion were in our hearts and stories.  

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
through old neighborhoods, played golf, celebrated birthdays, jumped into a hula hoop
Dena Anders, 100 years young and a living
reminder of childhood times.
Ann can still hula hoop.
to see if we could still twist and turn, relaxed on the patio, and then danced the night away at our Mutt Hutt reincarnation. Like Cinderella's coach and dress, our reunion nametags were for good the Mutt Hutt from Sept. 24-27.  

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....
In memory 
C.J. and Randy

Letty and Bill Smith, neighborhood friend...

Candy, one of my new friends for life.

Roosevelt kids
The reunion provided us time to share our current lives and to be humbled by so many who have done so much in these fifty years. Roy Underwood and Bill Smith humbled us with their program that honored "All Who Have Served."  We were entertained by Wendy Songe, and Jana Jae while we enjoyed a delicious meal.  The night lasted as long as we could carry on, camera shots were flashing all around as the hours counted down.  
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.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your class - the Class of 65 sure has seen it all! I'm the Class of 81 but it'll be no time at all until my 50th reunion is here. 50 years, in the blink of an eye. Wow!

  2. Looks like a fun time! nv

  3. Wonderful post, Letty! Thank you for sharing your 50th Reunion experience… and one phrase jumped out at me...
    "we discovered how much we've become like each other"
    … as that is something I found true for me and my classmates. We were largely molded by the time and events we lived through. My cousins a couple years younger, and some of my siblings younger than that, have a different take on life, different politics, different views of the future (however, those few who have continued to live in the Deep South are more like me).

    I was so glad to be with so many kindred spirits for the weekend of our reunion. It’s fun following up with those on Facebook, and discovering that we laugh at so many of the same things, have similar concerns, have strong spiritual beliefs, and big hearts. High School Reunions can be wonderful things! mm

  4. What a great tribute you wrote in honor of our class reunion.....brought tears to my eyes, but, joy to my heart....and thank you so much for making me "a new friend forever"........keep up the writing. You have such a unique talent...don't waste it...share it with us!!! candy