Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Just Walk Beside Me...

I just returned from spending a weekend in my hometown celebrating my 25th high school reunion. This was only the 2nd reunion I've attended and attending both of those has made me regret not attending earlier reunions. We spent 3 days attending various events and it was a weekend FULL of laughter. My husband, who was not in my class or even from my state, enjoys my class reunions and hanging out with my classmates. I believe without a doubt our class is one in a million!

As I was driving home tonight after church and remembering the weekend's events our class motto suddenly came to mind. I remember just over 25 years ago writing down the words of a slogan I'd seen that stuck with me, and was later adopted by our class as the motto when I nominated it:

"Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me, and be my friend."

It struck me just how true this motto is for the majority of our class. No we haven't all kept in contact the past 25 years. Many have moved away. Even more have stayed.  Some have no interest in the reunions. But there are connections despite the years and miles that just can't be explained. Some classmates I visited with at the reunion I haven't seen nor spoken to in 25 years. Some I have kept in touch with, and some I keep up with on facebook. Still others I didn't even recognize and had to ask who they were!

There are many photos I missed taking, particularly the night of the class dinner. Somewhere in the evening I sat my camera down and didn't pick it up again until just before we left. I got busy visiting with old friends and missed many photo opportunities. I regret the missed photos, but I don't regret taking the time to visit at all.

I don't know if it's because we were a small high school in a small rural town or exactly what it is that makes us share the bonds that we do, but I know there's an unexplainable bond that just seems stronger each time this group meets. It is my hope that as the years fly by that bond doesn't weaken but instead remains steadily growing stronger. I have found that friendships from my youth remain intact and added to that are friendships with those I did not hang out with in high school but am enjoying getting to know now.

The West Plains High School Class of '89 Reassembled 25 years later:

I attended school in West Plains throughout my childhood, however I moved from one rural school to another just prior to 3rd grade. I was reunited with my Kinder-2nd grade classmates once we reached high school. This photo reminds me of being reunited with my South Fork pals way back then. Joby and Tom are part of the South Fork group:

Nikki and I were friends in high school and later worked together when I lived in Missouri many years ago:

Jesse and Christy and I all worked at McDonalds after high school. Christy worked morning and Jesse and I were on the closing crew. If I remember correctly Jesse was one of those responsible for my closing initiation involving a sink full of mustard! Yuck...but fun memories!

I have fond memories of freshman PE when Karmen and another classmate were determined to teach me to do a back handspring. I was never successful but they made the attempts fun. Karmen is the backbone of our amazing class. Without her I'm not sure our reunions would go so smooth. She does a fabulous job of organizing and making sure everything comes together.

I am sure the greatest laughter of the weekend was spent during our class scavenger hunt. Teams were formed and we raced all over town as 15 clues led us to places that no longer exist but in our memories and photos. Our team, Andy's Angels, all crammed into my suburban and succeeded in beating all the other teams by almost 300 points!

An example of one scavenger hunt clue that took us to where the old Imperial Bowl used to stand and where we acted out bowling for the camera:

One of my favorite reunion events is our class float trip. Our trip is always led by Kurt and his wife and they are an absolute riot. Here they are ducking as we made our way under Patrick Bridge:

I have yet to find a place in Texas I like to canoe as much as the rivers back home. My husband snapped this photo of me taking a picture as we floated downstream:


This is just a small sample of the memories made. I sure look forward to what the 30th year reunion will bring!

I am very proud to be a class of '89 Zizzer!!!


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