14 May 2015

Fifty Years On

Another year and another reunion. I remember when I arrived on the campus at Roanoke College in 1965 that in progress was the 50th reunion of the graduates of the class of 1915. I remember thinking to myself: Oh, Lord, these people are so old. I will never be that old. What I probably meant is that I could not imagine myself portly in shape, wrinkled in visage, returning after having lived a life when actually I had just begun the life I was to live. Ironically, I suppose, then it was not death I anticipated (even feared) but life. Though both groups wandered about campus a bit disoriented, those elders possessed a certain confidence having at least a life of fifty years behind them, while I walked directed but bewildered toward a life unknown that lay before me.
            And so now it is moment of the 50th reunion of my high school graduation. I possess pictures of myself and friend in caps and gowns; I know who these two were but I am only partly aware of who they are now. And I stand in my classroom before my students in exactly the same position that I stood 50 years ago before the returning graduates of Roanoke College. But I think that maybe something has changed; certainly the world has altered considerably and dangerously continues to alter. I read the news today, oh boy!
            But there are things that remain exactly the same and I think it is those things that trouble me. For then I didn’t know them as things . . . but when I consider them now I experience feelings I had then, and I suddenly understand my life so much differently. I think memories are often suspect, but perhaps feelings are always true and there is much to be learned from them.
            In any case, I am not portly though I am somewhat wrinkled. And I head now out to a yoga class so that I remain somewhat flexible if not supple.


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