My First High School Class Reunion, Part 3 of 3: Through the Years We Persevered

Crest of Marshall Public Schools
The 2014 reunion dinner of my 1957 Marshall, Missouri, high school class closed on a wistful level. Sandra Hilton Bucksath read a poem by classmate Ben Swinger who could not attend. He wrote it in 2002, five years ahead of the fiftieth reunion. I enjoyed the poem’s humor and insight and called him for permission to publish it. He did not title his poem; that’s my
doing, so fuss at me. 

Through the Years We Persevered
By Ben Swinger

Every ten years, as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail.
A reunion is planned; it’ll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.

I’ll never forget the first time we met
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.

It was quite an affair, the whole class was there,
It was held in a fancy hotel.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And every one thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.

The homecoming queen, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety six.
The jocks who were there had lost all their hair,
And the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.

No one had heard about the class nerd
Who’d guided a spacecraft to the moon,
Or poor little Jane, who’d always been plain,
She married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we’d decreed “most apt to succeed”
Was serving ten years in the pen.
While the one voted “least” now was a priest.
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

They took a class picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short or skinny, the style was the mini.
You never saw so many thighs.

At our next get together, no one cared whether
They impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal,
By this time we’d all gone to pot.

It was held out-of-doors, the lake shores,
We ate hamburger, coleslaw and beans.
Then most of us lay around in the shade,
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.

By the fortieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren’t dead had to crawl out of bed,
And be home in time for their pill.

And now I can’t wait, they’ve set the date.
Our fiftieth is coming, I’m told.
It should be a ball, they’ve rented a hall
At the Shady Rest Home for the old.

Repairs have been made on my hearing aid,
My pacemaker’s been turned up on high,
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled,
And I’ve bought a new wig and glass eye.

I’m feeling quite hearty, and I’m ready to party;
I’m gonna dance until dawn’s early light.
It’ll be lots of fun, I just hope that there’s one
Other person who can make it that night.

What was special about your last high school reunion?

Image courtesy Marshall Public Schools. 

 "The owl is a time-honored emblem of knowledge and wisdom." Part of opening ceremony of Future Farmers of America.

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