Sunday, August 25, 2019

My 4 Years Of Military Service

This past weekend was my high school class of 1979's 40th reunion. The event was held in St. Paul and because of recent travels and other commitments, I was unable to attend. A couple good friends from high school did go and kept me posted via text and phone calls on how it was going. There were two events, a social on Friday at a bar on Grand Avenue, and a multi-school social/mixer at The Lexington Restaurant, a place where I worked many hours in order to pay tuition and afford movies, records and all of the other things a 17-year-old finds to use his money for.

I've only made it to two reunions in 40 years, my 5 year and my 30th year. Because I am working on a memoir about my years at old Cretin High, it would have been nice to make it to this one and talk the book up a bit. As it turns out, I left any promotion of my writing and my books to my good friends Pat and Peter who did an admirable job of plugging for me, from the sounds of it.

My years at Cretin were not bad in any way. I'm sure there is no one alive who would say their high school years were the best of their life, and I am in agreement. It was an awkward time of puberty, change and discovering who we were and what our life pursuits would be.

Cretin Father/Son Banquet
L-R Me, Timmy (Step bro), Pat Kopp
Some people come away with a few lifelong friends from their high school years and I am among them. Two of the tight-knit group of five of us friends have reached out and reconnected with me on a couple of occasions. (One of them has even blogged about his Cretin Years. Check it out here.) It appears our friendship lives on one chance meeting after another over the years. Also, the power of Facebook has brought a few of my old classmates back into my world view after having lost touch for years.

There are many things that I remember vividly about my days at Cretin. Things like

1. The fall mornings on the football field marching to the timing of a snare and bass drum.

2. The awkward excitement of "mixers," dances held in the auditorium with the intent of mixing the boys of Cretin with the girls of Derham.

3. Religion and Military classes in the same day - a strange mix of church and state.

4. Pizza Fridays at the cafeteria, Proms, Inspections and so much more.

When I was in high school, long hair was still around and as military students we were forced to keep it short. So much of my identity at that age was tied to my hair and I wanted nothing more than to grow it out. Then, when I graduated short hair was back on the way in. Just my luck. As fate would have it, during my late college years, I started losing it altogether. Today it is just a fleeting memory - all of it.

My friend Pat termed my nostalgia for the past and my regret for missing the reunion with a beautiful acronym, FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. He pretty much nailed it. Because, despite my tendencies toward aloneness and introversion, I do have an extroverted side that needs feeding occasionally. Plus the fact that in 5 years when the next reunion happens, one or more of us may not be around. I take none of that for granted anymore.

So to those of you that did attend, I hope it was a good time of reconnection and a great look back. They weren't our best days, but they are part of our story - a story I intend to revisit with my book,Cretin Boy, when it is finished (2021?)


Until the next reunion, (2024) we are all tasked with continuing to write our story and hopefully give something back to the world we get to live in.

Blogging off...

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