It was a weekend for reunions. In Grants Pass my youngest son and his wife attended their 10th high school reunion. Dana and Holly went to all the festivities including the family picnic where the children of the alumni of Grants Pass High School’s class of 2000 got to meet each other and play together. My granddaughter Kayla (class of 2028) was there in a pretty yellow dress that matched the color of her mom’s blouse.
In the photos Holly posted on Facebook Sunday night I saw at least a dozen grown-up kids that I knew from Dana’s school days. At 28, they all looked great with full heads of shiny hair and bright toothy smiles. The last 10 years had hardly put a blush of age on them. The girls were radiant and beautiful, the young men more handsome and confident than at graduation.
At the reunion they gathered in clusters for photos. All the Allen Dale grammar school kids were in one photo. That’s where Dana and Holly met in fourth grade. Then there was a photo of all the South Middle School classmates with Dana and Holly again and more familiar faces. I looked at them and remembered these young adults as children. The freckles were faded and the braces were long gone, but the resemblance was unmistakable.
Last weekend was memorable for them. They said their goodbyes not knowing what and how much will change in the next 10 years. Their class reunions will become even more meaningful as the decades march on. At my last reunion it was very emotional being among friends I’ve known for over 50 years.
And speaking of 50 years, Rick was in Portland last weekend for a 50th wedding anniversary celebration of a couple whom Rick has known since college. Ken was a fraternity brother at Portland State and Rick was an usher at Ken and Lea’s wedding. When the invitation to the anniversary party came, Rick was very excited about going.
He had a fabulous time. Like Dana and Holly, he smiled for the camera surrounded by fraternity brothers and friends. There was less hair and fewer teeth in these pictures, but like the class of 2000, this group glowed with the warmth that being with old friends brings out in us.
Reunions are the only way I know to turn back the hands of time. When I’m with the friends I’ve known the longest, behind their wrinkles I see the faces of the children they were when we first met. I see Jane’s blonde pony tail, Janet eating out of her blue lunch box and Roseann winning the second grade spelling bee. Our oldest friends are our best chance at time travel, whether it’s 10 or 50 years or more.
Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate’s publisher, at mthomas @triplicate .com, 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.