Saturday Single No. 243

The invitation came in an email about three months ago: The classes of 1971 from St. Cloud’s two public high schools – Tech and Apollo – would gather for a forty-year reunion in late June. I clicked my way to the appropriate web page, clicked “I Will Attend With One Guest” and pretty much forgot about it.

Oh, I went to the whiteboard in the kitchen where we keep our calendar of events and put the reunion in the list of summertime plans, but beyond that, I gave it little thought. And the months and days flitted past, and the reunion is tonight.

I should note that the two high schools merge their reunions because the 1970-71 school year was the first year of Apollo’s existence; those who graduated as Eagles in 1971 spent their sophomore and junior years as classmates of those of us who graduated as Tigers at Tech. When we had separate dinners for our ten-year reunions in 1971, we realized that there were too many married couples and simple ties of friendship that bridged the gap between the two schools for separate celebrations to make sense. Since then, the celebrations have been combined affairs.

And that makes for a lot of people: Each high school’s Class of 1971 numbered about 450. Add spouses, and if only a third of the folks show up, you’ve still got about six hundred people wandering around a ballroom. So I imagine it will be quite a throng this evening at the El Paso Ballroom in the little town of St. Joseph, about ten miles northwest of St. Cloud.

I’ll be there with the Texas Gal. This will be the first reunion I’ll have attended since our twenty-year gathering in 1991, and her first Tech reunion of any kind. I’ve not really stayed in touch with anyone from high school although since we’ve moved to St. Cloud almost nine years ago, I run into old classmates from time to time.

So I’ll see who’s there, and I suppose I’ll spend some time quietly assessing whether the years have treated me more or less kindly than they have my classmates. Since life touches us all in so many ways, there’s probably no real answer. And the slight trepidation I feel – as if I were walking back into high school itself this evening instead of into a gathering of folks in their late fifties – is unnecessary.

I suppose there’ll be a band or a deejay, some kind of music that we can dance to, if we choose. And though neither of us dances in public very often, I might be able to get the Texas Gal out on the floor once or twice. It depends on the music, of course. I doubt, however, that anything we hear on the dance floor tonight will be as danceable as the record that was No. 40 in Billboard the early June night we graduated from Tech or Apollo forty years and a few weeks ago:

Here’s “Funky Nassau” by The Beginning of the End. It eventually peaked at No. 15, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.


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