In 1967 as I graduated from Beverly Hills High School, who could ever imagine I would attend my 50th high school reunion. That day arrived September 16, 2017 as Abigail and I gathered with 120+ Sexagenarians. We had crossed into a portal of time travel, as we found ourselves squinting at name tags, and upon recognizing a name, brain synapses releasing a handful of memories associated with the person standing in front of me. Some of us had aged well, others not so well, others taking the advantage of modern science to hold on to youth as dearly as possible. My reason for attending was simply to honor the fact that I could, not the case for 35 fellow students who had passed on over the years.
Hillary Turner - A girlfriend from elementary school who is a professional photographer . She wrote in my high school yearbook that she could imagine me one day with lots of grandchildren on my long knees, which leads me to the awards ceremony at the reunion. The longest married couple - 49 years, who had travelled the farthest to attend, my friend Eddie from Sweden and Jmmy Petterson, and I was the proud recipient of most children.
And then there was our German class. A group of us endured four years with Frau Glanz. I, having German speaking parents, had an advantage and surely had signed up for the duration for an easy 'A', but as Frau Glanz realized I was not willing to do the work, each successive year my grade seemed to drop, until I was no longer in her favor. Sadly, I found out at the reunion that a car accident had left her as a paraplegic and after her husband died, she ended up in a state facility. May she Rest in Peace.
Deborah Blum - This was one of the most special reconnections because her family was the reason I landed in Beverly Hills. On the eve of Christmas 1951, my parents responded to an ad for free rent in exchange for housekeeping and gardening. The location of the apartment was on Rodeo Drive by Sunset Blvd where we lived rent free for five years and remained in Beverly Hills until I finished high school. Following the reunion I attended a reading by Deborah, a film producer and writer, who read from her most recent book, Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead.
Overall, I felt the reunion left me with a sense of completion, and a realization that my high school years were mostly pleasant memories and encounters, despite the confusing time of adolescence. I felt the absence of many, whose memories of that time of their lives might have been quite different.