The Farm Chronicles: Class Reunion

A lot of people have told me that they never go to their class reunions. Some say they have nothing in common with their former classmates. Others say they haven’t seen them since they graduated, so why would they want to see them now? The Southeast High School Class of 1973 doesn’t feel that way. We were a pretty tight-knit group of 150 people. Truly a class of overachievers. Many were sons and daughters of farmers and factory workers who knew what it was like to have to get up early and do the chores around the house or milk the cows or feed the livestock. We were not the generation that sat in the house weekend mornings playing video games. We worked. We played. We created.

Recently, our class held its 50th reunion. About 60 classmates along with their spouses or significant others met at the Deerfield Town Hall in Ohio to celebrate the occasion. Gone were the old clicks and associations, even offenses. The scholars, the jocks, the nerds, the hippies, whatever, joined together for a few hours and enjoyed the type of friendship that living life over half a century brings. We laughed a lot. Told stories on one another. Caught up on family and time. I learned things about me that I never knew. One of my classmates from grade school said that I was special because I had sandwiches, not with bread, but with buns. And she knew that I had a plan because I had a satchel to carry my books.

Two other classmates recalled a time when I brought them back from Columbus where I went to college. I had an old ’67 Chevy Super Sport that I bought for $450 with my graduation money. They reminded me that I was a crazy driver as they were bouncing around in the backseat to the point they were nauseous after the three hour trip. Another told me about how I pulled up during a track meet and pushed him across the finish line so he could get his letter in track. Others talked about the times we were showing horses. Still others remembered my dad. We were all part of each other’s lives in some way. We contributed to one another. And even with the passage of time, we can pick up where we left off.

A highlight for me was Rose Braunns, wife of my very best friend Sonny (who passed on). She came up from Arkansas to be with us. Jimmy Hostetler, class president, gave her the mic to say a few words. And she spoke with the same kindness and admiration that Sonny would have toward our classmates. Many, who never knew her, came up and told her how much Sonny had meant to them. That’s the kind of people I grew up with and they are true, wonderful Americans. The type of folks that you would love to be with. It’s the America I knew and loved, even today. If you have forgotten friends or folks you haven’t seen for a while, say a little prayer for them, let them know you are thinking of them. You never know your impact! Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” Life is tough. It’s better with friends.

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Bill Wilson