Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Monday, August 3, 2009
And Some Are Behind The Sun
Since that time I have connected with so many old friends that I have not seen in so many years. Some, I have not heard from since I graduated in 1972. I am glad they are well, and doing fine. So many flashes of memories come over me when I see a name from long ago. Good memories.
There is a page on the Facebook site dedicated to all those from my high school that have gone on to their final class. I visited it when it first was posted, and was saddened to see so many faces that I knew well. They are all gone. Their time on this orb spent, and gone off to more "graduate" work.
Each time I visit the page I find that someone has added more names, and photos. For a small town, and only a 40 year span, there are so many that died so young.
Say what you will about social networking, but it is things like this memorial page that makes it all worthwhile. To personally acknowledge the passing of an old friend that you would not have heard of is something one rarely had a chance to do. I know, social networking is for the living, but the living are the ones that posted the memorial for the rest of us lucky enough to have survived this long, and it offers a chance to reflect, remember, and smile.
In a couple of weeks there will be a multi class reunion of many of the high school classes from my old school. Organized on Facebook, the response has been incredible. In fact, I heard today that they are over capacity. I helped organize the last one about seven years ago. It was a great success, and this one will be even better.
So, why do class reunions attract so many from our past to a common place, miles, and miles from home? Schedules are rescheduled, plans are changed, flights booked, and hotel room reserved all for the purpose of coming together with faces most have not seen in decades. There is a reason, and I believe it is to let go of the issues of the present, and for just a few hours, go back to that time when we were loosing our innocence. When life was being experienced fully for the first time. First loves, best friendships, Saturday night dances, and just hanging out with friends on a Sunday. A simple time. No real constraints, or ones that we bothered to observe, just a freedom around us that possibly would not be felt again for many, many years.
That feeling is enough to draw people from their lifes to a round table for eight at the Legion Hall for four or five hours. I'm not sure whether it is sentimentality, or plain nostalgia, but I tend to think it is far more, a deeper reason.
The remarkable thing is once we are there, and are amazed at seeing so many familiar faces, we almost immediately shift to the present again, and share stories of our life, our partner, our children, and their children. We'll tell of our adventures over the years, share our losses, and our loves all to people that we have not seen for so many years. We pick up conversations where they left off the summer before we went on to school, were married, or joined the service, and share the additional chapters of our lifes as if there had been no gap in time.
In a way, it is a therapy, this sharing of ourselves, and our lives, and to listen to others share theirs. One seldom leaves an event like a class reunion without a silent smile, and a feeling of being able to finally close the circle.
So many helped to mold us into who we are today. We are where we are today as a result of some words, some nudge, some advice, some dream felt long ago from those that will sit at that table for eight, and from the others that are now "behind the sun".
Click here for "When We Were The New Boys" by Rod Stewart. Very appropriate for a class reunion.