On June 2, Barbara and I attended my 50th reunion weekend at Notre Dame. The following week, we were in Chicago for a neighborhood reunion with guys I had gone to grammar school with and their spouses. The gals have known each other for more than 50 years; several had gone to high school together, and the rest had double-dated with us when we were lads.
Meeting college buddies, many for the first time in 50 years, was a wonderful experience, a reminder that college is about more than studying for exams. Most of the chatter was about the goofy things we did in those days and wondering whether today's students are as fun-loving. Or, if an engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology is as intent on chasing girls and slugging down beer as we were in those days.
The highlight was the dinner honoring the class of 1955. Alumni from the class of 2000 and others back for their five-year reunion were seated when the class of 1955 made its grand entrance, piped into the hall by the Irish bagpipers. When the bagpipers entered, the several thousand folks in the hall gave us a roaring standing ovation, high-fives and hugs. It was a tearful experience. Even more tearful was the fact that so many of our classmates and spouses had left their homes on planet Earth.
The Chicago reunion was with kids from the old neighborhood: former members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard and, later, police officers, doctors, lawyers, court reporters, manufacturers' reps, government employees, CPAs, liquor distributors, field engineers, insurance executives and a few itinerant workers.
The chatter was about those days long ago, about playing baseball and football in the street and "kick the can" in the alley. And chasing girls, many of whom became our spouses. It was also about drinking beer in the park, crashing Polish weddings and wading for golf balls in Marquette Park. But there were more sober moments. Two buddies are in the late stages of dementia, and several have passed into whatever the great beyond has to offer. It was resolved that we will not wait three years for the next get-together but do it again in Coronado in 2006. Hopefully, we'll all still be around to enjoy those special friendships.
When Frank isn't being thankful for Barbara and lifelong friends, he can be reached at email@example.com.