Thoughts on a 50th High School Reunion

Last night I attended the first night of the class of ’65 50th reunion of the “ Last Great Class” from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines Iowa The emotional experience left me in an introspective mood. It seems that life often chooses us rather than us choosing our lives. I have been very lucky in the life that chose me while others have sufferred the ” Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Life has not been kind to some of my classmates and yet here they are 50 years later still a member of the class of 65 a large but strong family. Intellectually you understand that people die but it is a shock when you see the pictures of 65 of your high school classmates who are no longer with us.
I have written and re-written the rest of this several times this morning trying to capture the emotion and the thoughts and I find that I can’t capture what I want to say so I’m going to let Tennyson and Dylan Thomas do it for me.
My feelings for my classmates where we have been and where we are going can be summed up by these, my favorite Tennyson stanzas, from Ulysses

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

And Dylan Thomas….

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light


About safrisri

I was a school teacher until retirement. I have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. Now I'm the guy sitting on the porch with an opinion on everything.
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3 Responses to Thoughts on a 50th High School Reunion

  1. Deb says:

    Beautifully written, as always….. I love to see a new post in my email. My 45th is coming up soon, and your writing has convinced me to make sure I attend. Thanks for the reflection, and for the poetry — both long loved but seldom re-read by me.

  2. Cindy Schultz says:

    This is a weekend of many mixed emotions. I married someone in the 1965 class and am a 1967 graduate. Many memories, an appreciation for how special our high school was, and also sad to see those who have left us. Personalities seem to be the same even though the bodies have changed. Hard to believe 50 years have passed. Thank you for the post.

  3. CES says:

    Best part of my 50th Roosevelt reunion was talking with my prom date, introducing her to my wife. My wife and my prom date have become close friends and quilting partners Reunions are rich with ‘what might have been’ and thanks for your reminder that “Some work of noble note, may yet be done,”

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