This post first appeared on December 2, 2007. In the second paragraph, below, I mentioned Jerry and Nadine, and Warren and Jan, friends from much farther back than college, all of whom I had hoped to see again, at our class reunion in November. Yes, it will have been five years since the last one. However, Nadine texted me, this morning, to tell me that Jan died a week ago today. In addition to being a quadraplegic with limited use of her arms and unrelieved burning pain in her spine, she had also suffered from cancer.
I am weepy, today, but I know that will pass. My sadness will gradually be replaced by joy that, as our faith tells us and we know in our hearts is true, Jan is now fully healed and whole. Not only that, but we will all enjoy another reunion, one day--unmatched by any earthly reunion--whether because we will all have died and gone on, or because our Lord Jesus Christ will have come to take up His Kingdom on earth. But my heart is also with Warren and their family, today, as they have lost a wife, mom and grandma. I pray that God has wrapped each of them individually, and all of them together, in the warm comfort of His Presence and peace.
I'm a solid week and a half behind in writing this post, but it's high time I did. I wish I'd been able to write it as soon as we returned from my 40-year college class reunion; why I wasn't able at that time is another story.
This was the first class reunion I had attended, and I'm so glad Bruce went with me. It really was more than a class reunion, for me, though; I also reunited, reconnected with Jerry and Nadine, and Warren and Jan, who were my peers in our youth group before they ever paired off; and with Norm and Judy, who were the adult leaders of our group, in the church in which I grew up. I should say they were very young adult leaders, being college students, still, when they began working with us. Anyway, it had been roughly 35 years since I'd seen any of them.
I left college without graduating for the same reason many young women quit school: to get married. My then-husband and I moved away, but we were still in the loop, to some extent, for maybe 10 years. Several years after that, tho', we divorced; that was the one of the first of the twists and turns in my life, to the point that I was out of touch with almost everyone.
During the reunion weekend, the reconnecting with old friends seemed to be filling up a hole in my soul. Even several people that I had known, but not known well, in college, contributed to that sense of being filled. I had kind of known the hole was there, but I had no idea how deep it went or how important it was--how important those people were to me. The opportunity to sit and visit, to play catch-up with each other's lives, and just to have great fun during the reunion luncheon, could qualify for a part in one of those commercials--you know, "Travel to and from the class reunion: $150. Hotel room for two: $100+/night. Seeing old friends: priceless." And the cherry on top was that my husband enjoyed it as much as I did. I've started a photo album (look in the right Side Bar), but I have more pictures to add and editing to do.*
It wasn't quite all fun, however. As I mentioned in a post below, one of my friends is now in a wheelchair. I learned from her that 25% of patients with spinal-cord injuries live with a constant, intense, burning pain that nothing even helps. She is in the 25% group. The grief I felt for her and her husband after their accident, years back, all came up again. I just wanted to be able to put my arms around both of them and make it all better, and I don't have the power to do that. Oh, how I wish I did.
But the luncheon was fun. We discovered a couple of stand-up comedians in the group; I'm not sure what they do for a living, but Eddie and Clyde ought to hire an agent and take it on the road. Everyone was congenial and ready to reminisce. It did come as a bit of a shock, tho', that both the school song and mascot have been changed! I shouldn't have been surprised; the college moved from Pasadena to San Diego in 1973, and that really did call for a change in the song. Face it--locating in San Diego, on Point Loma, is a bit of a change from being "Nestled in the High Sierras!" (I'm not sure Pasadena's exactly nestled in the High Sierras, but we did have some nice mountains to look at, when it wasn't too smoggy.) Somewhere along the way, someone must have said, "You know, we're at the ocean. We really ought to have a different mascot." So the college is now represented by sea lions, rather than Charlie Crusader. I wonder how that works on the basketball court....
I let 40 years go by before attending a class reunion; now, I can't wait for the next one. Five years! Listen, at our age, a lot can change in that time. Sigh.
UPDATE: I have completed the Photo Album for PLNU Class of '67 Reunion.