Bless those that made it all happen this evening, from a distance of 46 years between the students we once were, and a 1975 Class Yearbook. We’re here to celebrate a faithful promise, the weekend of July 16th, 2021. We couldn’t have known last year that our 45-year reunion would be stolen away from our class. The ill effects of Covid-19 spilled over into what the Class of 75 could have easily re-named, the Covid-20 pandemic. So much has changed in our lives by now, only to come back around and remain the same. At this stage in our lives, 46 years beyond that final chime of the school bell, we’re here together as one. There are no bookworms, no teacher’s pets, no troublemakers, and no class clowns,. There are no great nor small, no rich nor poor, and not that one with anything to prove. We were setting in motion the wheels of a party of a class in “sum total,” of one united people. Each one of us leaning on each other, and each other leaning in the same direction that time mandates we must obey.

A good time is truly being had by all. The stories they tell, the timeworn memories they share, all touched with laughter. Aware that life at times can be a struggle, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was hurt, pain, loss, or loneliness, that some may be secretly harboring within. If any existed, they were checked at the door and those cards are held close to the vest. It’s easy to see, the trust that exists from that one common place in time we’ve shared in life...as classmates. It’s that one single thread that binds and weaves a lasting quilt of friendship.

There are tables placed with class photos dating back to grade school. Could be to prove we haven’t changed, or conversely, to try and guess who in the heck was who. As I evaluated the pictures, most everyone was recognizable, even dating back that far. A separate table was set up to recognize the classmates we’ve lost since graduation. I counted 22 students we’ve lost and 22 candles that were flashing and flickering warm and bright. Each person meant something and had an impact on the Class of 75. Maybe a science partner, a study hall friend, a date to the prom, or maybe someone’s last first kiss, each was a stone to the foundation to our Class of 75. Though we’ve lost those Classmates through the years, their memories will still render our Class just as whole, even in the absence of their outward showing.

This Reunion weekend, though just a sliver of time in comparison, will end as fast as it began. I know all too well that this “stone of fortune” gathering will soon desert us. Soon the smiles will fade, the sadness will fall heavy, and goodbye will be the only thing left to say.

Once again, like so many times before, we’ll leave each other in our own directions just as we did 46 years prior. It has to be that way. I’ve always felt that every parting is a death in its own way. I’ve only to patiently wait for that next Reunion for that next breath of life. A breath that won’t come soon enough.

NOTE TO DIARY: I’ll miss my friends.

J.D. Francis is a Waverly businessman and developer who also writes a monthly feature called “Cattin’ Main.” He can be reached at jdfranpaint@msn.com.