State of the Reunion

Reunion is just another way of acknowledging that you’ve reached another milestone in your life where it is time to revisit what was. This past summer, some people from my high school class decided to put together a forty year reunion (how can than be if I’m only 39?) but in another country. There were only forty-eight of us back in 1970 when we graduated. And even with such a small number we had cliques. Having the so-called celebration overseas was another way to maintain the clique facade after so many years. So you can imagine that less than half our class showed up showed up.

A friend got a hold of the pictures from the weekend and passed them along to me. I was surprised to see a certain fellow who had a mound of hair when he was seventeen turn out to now look like Kojack. There was one female classmate I did not recognize at all while another looked old enough to be my grandmother.

Every once in a while I bump into a classmate who still lives nearby. He or she may have taken on a new shape and look, but the voice and spirit is the same. It’s like forty years are frozen in time and the same dynamics of how we relate to each other has never changed.

Time out- I’ve already been interested in the construction of words. Re in front of a word usually means doing the action again. For example, retake is to take again, reorganize, to organize again, etc. I’m guessing that our word of the day “reunion” means to put something back to what it was at one time. Maybe, I suppose. But it is not a permanent union that comes out of it- that’s for sure.

For that matter, what about the word rebuttal? It means to present your response to someone else’s assertions. If that’s the case- what is a buttal? Is that where someone assets that they are going to kick your you-know-what and your rebuttal is a way of saying “just try it and I’ll kick yours even harder”? – okay, time in.

There is also the family reunion thing. With three siblings who live elsewhere- two of them in another country- it is very rare that we all get together. The last time we were all under the same roof was when our father passed away a year and a half ago. The time before that was when a sister’s daughter got married three years ago. That time all of us including our father and mother shared the same breathing space for a few short hours during the wedding ceremony and reception. My father was “living” in a nursing home and we were able to take him out for a few hours although it was not easy as he was not able to even stand.

When my brother and a sister moved overseas in 1995 we had no idea if and when the seven of us (including parents) would all share the same roof again. And when it finally happened more than ten years later, we continued on the same path of jockeying for who was the ringleader. We had inherited from our mother the disease called “needing to have the last word”.

Five years ago, my mother and I went to visit my brother and sister overseas. We also had an opportunity to go to a party given by a cousin, the son of my father’s remaining breathing sister. Also attending was a cousin, from my father’s oldest sister who had also departed. The five of us took a picture together- “cousins”- my brother and sister, myself and the two cousins. We had etched a permanent record of the offspring of three of the six siblings from my father’s own generational family.

It is a sobering thought to know that the next generation of my siblings’ children one day many, many years from now will have similar type of reunions.

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