I graduated from high school 50 years ago. 50 YEARS AGO!!! That’s hard to say, hard to imagine. Really? Where did all that time go? How did it pass so quickly? I was in a great class, a class of about 650 that produced 26 National Merit semi-finalists, had excellent teachers and a whole lot of fun. This week is our reunion, which makes me think about all of our reunions…I’ve been on every committee.

The 10th reunion was in 1973. The committee had to have calling sessions to find everyone, using our high school directory to call parents’ homes, phone directories, information. We sent out newsletters, printed with a fun logo drawn by one of our artist classmates, using the name of the student paper when we were in school. We worked hard to find everyone we could. The excuses for not coming that year were mostly due to lack of funds or having babies, we were in our childbearing years. Actaully, I had just had my third child a few months before – there were many of us with new babies on the committee. We ended up with about 200 attending, including spouses. We had lost some classmates and found out that some of the people we knew really hated high school and never wanted to remember anything. Many came home to see family while they were at the reunion.


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Friday night was the night where you broke the ice, greeted everyone, met their spouses, and caught up on what was going on in their lives. We rocked out to records at the studio where we first took dance lessons. We still knew all the moves.


We had an Assembly at the school on Saturday. Some of our former teachers attended and we pretty much did a traditional assembly, as I feebly recall.

Saturday night, we dressed to impress and went to the fanciest country club in town. Hairstyles ranged from shags to intricate, high updos. The men had longer hair than when we graduated and mustaches were in. The clothes were loud, the times were fast. We gave awards for who had been married the longest, which went to a classmate who married while we were still in school, most children, most unusual profession (jockey), who traveled the farthest to get there, and best preserved male and female bodies (last time we ever gave that award). We were pretty groovy, dancing to a popular local band, dressed in the latest styles.


We published a directory after the reunion with all the updated addresses and phone numbers we had found so people could stay in touch.

By our twentieth reunion, we were kind of in a groove. We went through the same steps to find everyone, using printed labels for our mailings. The committee worked long hours, finding we had lost more classmates and couldn’t find others who had moved in the past decade. We were still using our old class directory and the phone to locate everyone. We’d lost more people along the way. The excuses for not coming were jobs, money, small children. We still got about 200 to show up.

The schedule for the 20th was about the same. We were noticing that the girls were becoming women and the guys looked like they were starting to lose their looks, or so we whispered. There were a few new spouses, divorce already beginning to take its toll. The list of deceased was growing. We had an elaborate slide show at our assembly, set to the song “Memories.” Teachers still came to the events and we realized they weren’t as old as they had seemed in high school. We were getting older, heading for middle age. There were those who timidly showed up on Friday, wondering how they’d be received, wondering if they’d know anyone, and left on Saturday feeling part of the group. We started to care less about what had happened in high school, the cliques were beginning to loosen.


We had a directory and a t-shirt to remember. This time the directory was copies of forms people had sent in with bios and pictures. We were a little more sophisticated these days. Our design was created by one of our classmates who was always an artist, now a professional one.

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By 1993, we were ready for our 30th reunion. We had lost the heart of the reunions, our inspiring leader, and others stepped up to fill his place. The committee meetings were still the most fun, catching up with each other, helping to make the calls to locate classmates. We could still find some through the old class directory, some through calling their friends. We’d lost more in the decade, our list was growing smaller. The excuses for not coming as we approached our 40s were money, children now graduating from school or in school activities, jobs. There were still about 200 there, not even the same 200. We went through the casual evening, the class assembly, the dressy dinner dance. Now people showed up on Friday hoping they’d recognize our rapidly changing faces. We had picture nametags that year. You could see how we looked in high school and look up to see how we looked right then. The women still seemed to be getting better. The men were balding, going gray, more mature, still cute!


It was fun to see if those class prophecies had come true in any way. Our beauty queens were still beautiful, our jocks were still looking pretty fit, the smartest ones were still smart. But, not everything stays the same, thank goodness. Some of those who had lived too hard were beginning to show it. The guy who got the award at our 10th reunion for cutting the most days of classes our senior year was now president of a bank. One of the smart ones who went to Rice and got an engineering degree had married, divorced, quit big business and gone to Colorado. He was Mayor of Winter Park & loving the mountain life. Never would have dreamed it, but he was happier than ever. And we’d lost more of our favorite classmates along the way. Two of our classmates met for the first time at the reunion and married a year later.

We did another t-shirt and directory, much like the last one. We were beginning to celebrate each other as much as the memories. We were an interesting bunch.

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By the time the 40th reunion rolled around, we were different, the world was much different in 2003 than in 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993. We’d been through Viet Nam, The Beatles, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the changing of the century, and 9/11. We’d battled divorce, moves, heart attacks, cancer, raising children and becoming grandparents. Some of us were caring for our parents. In fact, the excuses for not coming this time were the most varied yet. There were those with young children because they’d started late or were on a second or more marriage. There were college graduations, jobs, kids, illnesses and parents. We had classmates with AIDS. We were in the Sandwich era of our lives, between our children and our parents. Would there ever be a time that was just about us? We still managed to get about 200 to attend.

Technology was changing faster than we could have imagined and we had the internet. We purchased a website and got it up and running. This would be our last time to do the hours of phone calling. Once we got the information on the site, classmates could keep updating it as we went along, adding bios and pictures, doing the work for us. We didn’t have to do a directory and we didn’t do t-shirts. We were moving with the times.

We hadn’t cut away from the tradition of the casual night, the assembly and the dressy night yet. People still came Friday night, worrying if they would recognize or remember anyone. The pictures were on the name tags again. The Assembly was replaced by a tour of the old school, walks down the halls where some of our classmates could still find their pictures celebrating their athletic achievements. People toured the city to see the changes. We had golf for those who wanted it.

On Saturday night, we were still rocking to the band. The songs were the same, oldies now. Classic oldies…just like us. We made new friends with old classmates we hadn’t known then. Two more classmates married after the reunion. We were valuing these people who had shared our youth with us, who they had been and who they had become.

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This time, we produced a DVD that incorporated all the slides and photos from the past with current interviews. We were changing with the times and shaking our heads at the things that had gone by the wayside.

We had so much fun at the 40th and realized how many people we were losing at a faster rate that we decided to have a mini-reunion – a 45th. We did one casual night, thinking it would be mostly for classmates who lived close by. The band was guys our age, playing our music. Amazingly, 75-80 came from all over the country. It was easy and fun. We were still rocking, still here and breathing! Some could still jump, we looked older and wiser.


The 50th! Good grief! We have lost so many people over the years, close to 100 that we know about, probably more. The 50th is here. We used the website, mail and email to contact people. We’ve added a Facebook page. This reunion is about celebrating us, celebrating that we are still here. We’ll have 175-200 for this one, some who have never been before. We’ll have larger type on the name tags, but no pictures. Everyone wonders if they’ll recognize anyone or remember anyone. We have two teachers who can come…one is 92 and will speak to our group. The other is not that much older than we are – we were her first pupils out of school.

The excuses this time are children and grandchildren, surgeries, illnesses, money, busy retirement schedules, work schedules and even Japanese Parliament not getting out in time. A former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia is coming in from Dubai. The President of our Student Council and our class Vice-President both have Alzheimer’s. One classmate just had back surgery, several with knee and hip surgeries. Some are hobbling to the reunion however they can. Our will is strong, our bodies starting to need replacement parts. We are distinguished, fun-loving, casual, full of life and representing everything that happens to us in a lifetime.

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This time there is nothing to impress anyone. We’re going to be in the heart of all the happening things in Tulsa right now, right in the middle of the Arts District. We’ll meet early at a bar with a patio and then everyone can do the Art Walk, watch fireworks from the baseball stadium, get a fancy meal, enjoy their special group of friends, or tuck in early. Anyway you want it. Saturday night we meet at historic Cain’s Ballroom for barbecue, wearing comfortable shoes and casual clothes. We have t-shirts again and the band is back from the 45th, classmates of ours, to bring back the oldies. Everyone is excited to see whoever comes. We laugh that we’ll have a whole new group of friends by the end of the weekend. Our Facebook page has 70 members now and is lighting up with excitement and memories. We’ll be there with our cell phones and iPads, today’s brag books of pictures of our beloved children and grandchildren. We’ll share experiences, travel stories, memories. We’ll have our cameras! Our aging Eagles are flying in to celebrate!


I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, Rock On Class of 1963!