As my 50th college reunion approaches in June, lists are beginning to go out. There’s a list of those planning to attend, a list of “maybe’s”, a list of clear “no’s”. There’s a list of those who have donated to the class gift. There’s a list of decease class members, two of whom died while we were still in college. Mary was killed in a car-train collision at the small Lackawanna station right outside campus. Kathy died from a recurrence of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My College of St. Elizabeth class was tiny — 126 students, all female. I knew both girls of course, although Kathy and I were the closer friends.
I suppose the deceased list reminds me most of life’s unfairness. Kathy and Mary certainly drew the short end of the stick, neither living to be 20, and here are the rest of us at 71 or 72 getting ready to celebrate long lives, albeit ones led with varying degrees of happiness. There’s something to be said for just getting the time, and the chance to make of all those years whatever any of us did.
A 50th reunion feels like a bookend of sorts on those college years. About 40 of us are coming; I doubt many will return to campus in 5 years. More and more are moving out of New Jersey. Travel will be harder at 77 than it is at 72. I’m not sure the interest will be there. A 55th reunion, for some reason, lacks the cachet of a 50th and feels in some way redundant.
I’ve stayed in touch with a few friends from college, mostly by email. That will continue, with or without the physical presence that a college reunion can bring. I have no idea what will be a priority for me in my 77th year, or what I’ll be able to do to express those priorities.
Best take full advantage of this jaunt back to Convent Station.