We had many moments to remember
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
They came from Texas, Colorado, Alabama and from throughout Louisiana. They came to visit, to reminisce, to rekindle old friendships and to remember those who have gone before us. It had been 50 years since some had returned, but they came knowing that the opportunity to reclaim those memories are diminishing with each year that passes.
There was a memorial picture board with 22 of our classmates who can no longer join us, but who we honored in their absence. Sadly, memories fade, and faces that were once familiar are forgotten in time and separation. There were even some whom we were unable to locate, have never seen or heard from since that night so many years ago when we parted company at graduation.
Though I recognized most of the faces, there were some who had to remind me, not of their names, because I remembered the names, but couldn’t put the names with the faces that had changed somewhat with the passing of time. As I am surprised many times to hear, several of them have kept up with me through this column, though I never was aware because they have been away from Jennings for so long. It is always humbling to be honored with comments from my readers. It is even more rewarding when my peers offer kind words regarding my musings.
One could say that we have come nearly full circle, as one classmate recalled that we gathered for a morning-after graduation breakfast just a couple of doors down from the Goodreau camp at Morgan Shores, where we met on this past Saturday afternoon. The finger foods were plentiful, beverages pleasing, and visiting was the plan of the day and the evening before at a local restaurant. Though there was some music in the background playing softly, the agenda was all about memories of each other and experiences recalled.
There were some unable to attend because of illness or other unexpected conflicts, and some did attend even though they are battling illness and various stages of recuperation from illness or injury. Some came early and stayed late while others just popped in for short visits, but all seemed to completely enjoy the gathering.
Though the laughter was in abundance, there were some tears, as well. The tears of loss for classmates who are gone; and tears of joy when seeing old friends for the first time in many years and tears of anticipation of those who may not be here for the next gathering. There is always a bit of sadness when we see one of our own battling the ravages of age, disease, or debilitation, but for this one weekend, the priority was one of joy. So, even though the tears did appear, they were mostly lost in the smiles and laughter of stories told of foolish stunts and pranks of kids who were just enjoying being kids one more time, even if it was only in memory.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the planning committee for their work, and our gracious hosts, Judy and Darrell, but I also want to thank those who came from near and far to make this gathering special. After all, reunion, by definition, is the rejoining of those with something in common. There will never be another Jennings High School Class of 1964, and this reunion of friends will remain in our hearts for as long as they beat.
Until next time “we will have these moments to remember”.
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