I went back in time this weekend… 40 years, to my high school reunion of the class of ’75.
In one math class there are hightop tables where groups of three students work on the day’s problem. When the assignment is done, they snap a photo with their phones and send it to the teacher. No paper. Students now also make jewellery and blow glass in metalwork class and there’s a well-equipped digital program that teaches students district-wide.
It was in the courtyard where the Argyle alumni whooped and cheered. Once known as the Smoking Pit, it appeared to have been one my classmates’ favourite places. Of course no smoking on campus anymore.
There are new clubs now too: gay pride which would have helped a number of confused students in my day. And there is even a cancer awareness group that meets at lunchtime.
Some things don’t change: in the hallway where I used to walk to Mr. Nakamoto’s math class, my stomach turned in familiar dread.
Later that night at the pub, I mistook a man I used to know from English class for his father. Other people don’t seem to change at all. I recognized one woman by the angle of her head as she listened to an old story — I could see her in Biology class with that same tilt, listening to Mr. Schoen. One old friend had flown in from Newfoundland and another from Ontario. Others lived in the same neighbourhood they had grown up in which allowed their children to also graduate from Argyle.
There were happy stories of grandchildren, longtime marriages and career success. I was surprised to hear from four alumni who were forced to leave their jobs because of workplace injury or illness. And there were sad stories too of those who died either from illness or violence.
As a teen I remember reading notices of upcoming 40-year reunions and wondering why near 60-year-old people would consider socializing with people from a lifetime ago. Now I understand: near 60 isn’t so old anymore and the reunion — and the people — are much nicer than the high school I remember.