Bio Note: October is usually the month of class reunions (or at least, that’s when my high school class has them). Here’s one from a few years ago.
Fortieth High School Reunion
The Friday night party’s at an upscale bistro on Main Street, but we remember when it was The Busy Bee, where hatchet-faced Agnes sold penny candy, wax lips, licorice whips, fireballs that alternated hot and sweet as they grew smaller, down to their fiery cores; an old dusty-shelved dime store, where you could buy a stack of comics, then walk home by yourself, in the innocent fifties, when people burned leaves at the curb, small smoldering fires, air gritty with wood ash and leaf smoke . . . . At the Saturday dinner dance, all of us dressed in our best, black satin, spangles, sequins winking with hidden fire, twisting to the tunes from the trio. Smoke gets in your eyes. Ten years from now, who knows where we’ll be? So let’s raise a glass to Rich and Diana, who went to the prom, then married other people, met again on classsmates.com. Let’s cheer for Charlie, class clown, who dazzles on the dance floor with his swing dance partner. Let’s lift a cup of punch to the kids in the creased photo of the kindergarten circus: Sally, the tightrope walker, Mary Ann, the clown, Richard, the ringmaster. Sara is gone, and so is Carol, who died young, and Maggie, tambourine in her lap and underpants showing, who loved to ride motorcycles in the desert, hot wind in her face, didn’t see the darkness ahead, that major stroke coming. So we’re out here dancing in the light, before our arthritic knees lock up, and our eyes glaze over with cataracts or glaucoma. The road is all downhill now, for the class of sixty-three, the years whizzing by like road signs, all arriving at the same destination. What matters in the end is how well we lived in that small space where the hyphen goes. Remember the words scrawled in the margins of our yearbook? 4 get me not. 2 sweet 2 be 4 got 10. Good luck to a good kid. Love, love, love.
Originally published in Line Dance (Word Press, 2008)
©2021 Barbara Crooker
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