Words from Pedro Avitua's Facebook page. They sum up feelings for a lot of us. Thanks Pedro:
I just spent the last three days reconnecting with many of the people that were there during the formative years of my life. The Covid pandemic caused the event to be postponed for so long that it ended up being a combined gathering of the Exeter High School graduating class of ‘70, ‘71, and 1972. So it was jokingly dubbed the, “50ish” high school reunion.
The only lie I heard was one that I used, or was used on me, or that I heard as I caught on conversations going on around me. It was, “You haven’t changed a bit!” We were a roomful of liars!
We had all changed. Apart from the obvious outward appearance, there were the invisible marks that our lives and time had left on our characters and our souls.
There was a lot of white hair that had been washed of it’s beautiful colors by the harsh light of day. But rest assured that one day it will have it’s own well deserved golden hue on our final graduation day.
There were the wrinkly crinkles in the corners of the eyes and our lips were put there by watching and smiling at our mates, children, grandchildren, and best friends as they enjoyed their own lives.
Our ears were a bit larger because of sitting through many hours of listening to our loved ones’ problems and/or joys. And our noses had accordingly grown too from afterwards butting into their lives with advise or opinions. …wanted or otherwise. We loved them that much that we felt we had to give them the wisdom of our experiences to ease their pain, ease their path, or build it better.
Our gaits are slower from chasing the stars, our children, the grandchildren, or the brass ring. We have now learned to choose our battles. We don’t need to run so fast after every green light. Getting there is the goal and a slower sprint, more direct, and at a better pace is more productive.
Many of us were physically warped and bent over. The result of having to carry the weight of the world. Providing for yourself is hard enough but some of us have family, family’s family, adopted family, and global family to support or help support. Some of us even expanded responsibilities to include a corporate family.
So, yes, we all changed. We left high school as grubs with high aspirations and came back a half a century later as full-blown butterflies. The world had left it’s varied and colorful designs on all of our wings. Each a different and wonderful tapestry as proof that we had gone out and changed the world and the world had changed us.
For three days we were able to enjoy and celebrate each other’s lives. I saw some tears. Some on you and some on me. Some were of sadness but many were tears of joy.
Now some, if not most of us have made pledges to be more inclusive of each other. I know that if I asked you to, “Keep in touch!”, I meant it from the bottom of my heart. And, if you made me that promise, know that I will expect to hear from you. Or, I will hound you until you do.