Summer is the time for high school reunions. Staples’ class of 1975 gathered last month. This week it’s the 1980s; next weekend it’s ’70’s turn.
Inspired by his weekend last month, Jeff Ford — still a Westporter, as well as a Staples parent and “06880” reader — sent along these thoughts:
My senior year quote in the Staples yearbook began with a quote from Charles Dickens:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…
Inspired by reading A Tale of Two Cities in 10th grade, I thought at the time (and still think) Dickens captured our high school experience perfectly.
Fast forward to the present. As I reflect on the 35 years that have passed since I graduated from Staples, and the wonderful experience I had catching up with fellow members of the Class of 1975 during our recent reunion, another Dickens quote (from David Copperfield) describes how most of my Staples classmates and I have strived to live our lives since we graduated:
Whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.
Talking with classmates during gatherings at Longshore, Staples, Bobby Q’s, Compo, Dunville’s, The Duck and elsewhere, we were inspired by the success our classmates have enjoyed — from enriching their minds to enriching the minds of others; from getting married and raising families to having loving relationships with their partners; from serving our country to performing on Broadway, television, radio and the big screen; from having successful careers working for a wide variety of institutions to creating businesses and public service organizations; from counseling others and helping others become empowered to helping protect the rights of others; from staying in Westport to traveling and living all over the world; from creating public policy to creating wondrous art, music, theater, literature and knowledge.
A common theme that transcended many of our discussions was love of family and friends. We spoke of our relationships with our spouses, partners, children, parents and others closest to us. We spoke of friendships and fond memories from Staples, as well as junior high school and elementary school. We spoke of what it was like to spend our entire childhood in Westport and what it was like moving to Westport while in high school. We spoke of both our enduring and failed relationships and of loved ones who have passed on. We spoke of our children’s successes and challenges. We spoke of our parents who are still living life to the fullest, those who are slowing down and those who are no longer with us.
In contrast with our high school days, rather than spending most of our time with our closest friends and cliques, over the course of our reunion weekend many of us engaged a broad spectrum of our classmates.
In contrast with Hollywood portrayals of high school reunions, we remained non-judgmental regarding the lives and appearances of our classmates. When we didn’t recognize or remember each other, we warmly laughed off how many of us have changed in appearance over the years, how full our lives have been and how large our graduating class was. When we truly didn’t know each other at all, we simply introduced ourselves.
Over the course of our 3-day reunion weekend we talked, laughed, sang, danced, reminisced, rekindled old friendships, established new friendships and had fun. While, like our high school years, our lives since graduation have been filled with the best and worst of times, our reunion weekend was simply the best of times.