Well, it is Sunday night, 1115 PM, and I sit here as I have for the past 24 hours, thinking about last night’s incredibly marvelous reunion. When it came to an end, I went back to my hotel, where my wife was waiting for me, and got very little sleep.
Each time I fell asleep, I awoke, often suddenly, after dreaming about the reunion itself, or someone I knew, or some point in my life as it related to my time at Quincy High School. It was so very long ago, yet when compared to my life as a whole, it was such a short increment. But, the impact the time I spent there, and so many people who shared my time there had on my life going forward is immense to the point that I find it impossible to overstate or exaggerate. It is certainly difficult to explain to most folks. I am sure many don’t feel the same way about it as I do. But, last night, the harder I tried to fall asleep, the more thoughts and memories fought their way into my mind, which was firing on all cylinders until it started to get light outside.
By the time I noticed it was getting light outside, I found myself able to put some of these thoughts and feelings into a perspective, plug them into my own personal time line, at least in my head. It was something that probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than myself. But hey, like all of us, I look at life though the prism that our experiences have created for each of us. Some of us are better at controlling that lens or prism than others.
As I look back on those 45 five years, it seems as though when I graduated and finally left Quincy High School, leaving almost all of you I’d known there, I had been shot out of a cannon, or catapulted, into life from that day forward.
At times, as I seemingly flew through life, trying to navigate and control my journey, I encountered so many twists and turns, different roads to decide on, turns and paths to take, or not. So many decisions, many simple and inconsequential, others with long lasting consequences, both good and bad. In each case, they were decisions that I and those who loved me had to live with.
Numerous times, during that journey, which we are all forced to travel, I often felt as though I was moving too fast, with so many challenges, that it was hard to navigate properly, if at all. Sometimes, the decisions I made seemed to be preordained. Other times, it seemed that I had to scratch, pull, push myself forward, even as time passed me by at it’s slow but ever steady and unrelenting pace.
There were times when I wanted to stop, slow down, if even for just a bit. But, that was not to be. Time marches on, to its relentless, ever steady cadence, much like a well disciplined, stoic and ever determined Infantry Battalion, marching forward to face whatever it’s fate may be.
Except for last night. Last night, for me, time stood still for 4 hours. For 4 hours, not only did time stop, but I was actually able to take a breath, execute an about face, and gaze back upon the journey which I had (we all had) been launched into 45 years ago. It was like being able to stick my head up, out of the tube I’ve been in, and look back upon the road traveled.
It was magnificent for me to be able to do so. It is Indescribable in so many ways. For my part, I found myself in that safe space I have sometimes yearned for, always remembered fondly, with so many of those who had surrounded me in those days. That was before I had been flung into adult life, leaving the sanctuary of QHS forever. Reluctantly, I left the place and the people. I had no choice. None of us do.
When I graduated, I had hopes for a good future, but with those hopes I hauled with me a heavy burden of doubt and misgivings. So many of the people that I cared for, some going back to my days at the Pollard school, I had left behind.
Sadly, and suddenly, the realization came to me, that time hadn’t really stopped after all, for it was 11 O’clock, and time for us to go our separate ways, as we had done so many times before. That melancholy feeling came upon me, kind of wrapped me within in it’s gloomy shadow, and held me there. The realization set in that for most of you, it would be five more years before we would see each other again. Five more years before we, as a group, get the chance to seemingly stop the clock once more, for just a few hours, and enjoy each others company, like we were able to do back at QHS, so long ago.
Tomorrow, we’ll all get back to life, if we haven’t done so already, and for me anyway, this empty feeling will fortunately fade, not soon enough for me, as it has in years past. The feeling, for me, goes from complete joy, to bittersweet and eventually sadness. But, as I rejoin the present, thankfully, all those emotions go away. And then, I manage to smile.
Going forward, I hope to stay in touch with as many of you as I can. I love you all.