Dear CCS Alumni and Friends, I am
calling this a "Special Edition" because it is different than any
other newsletter I have sent out. I thought aboutt it and felt led
to share this in a way that did not get lost in other news. You can
choose to ignore this newsletter. You can choose to read it
thoughtful. I hope you will choose to respond with your thoughts and
hopefully, some positive ideas.
Oliver Perry Class of 59
But, somewhere else, someone of female gender, mentioned how great it was that the cliques in the past no longer existed and that we were free to enjoy the basic greatness of our heritage.
Thinking of that statement I remembered the words spoken by Dick Record, shortly before he moved on to eternal existence, the one who chose to remain in Cambridge and serve the community as their loyal milkman. "If we mistreated some of our classmates and community members, why should we think that they will easily forget and return with enthusiasm to our alumni "gatherings."
Although the particular member of our alumni, I referred to above, forgot all the past cliques and the related "being relegated to the fringes" treatment we frequently gave to those not in the mainstream, I wonder if many of our alumni have impressions stamped into their memories that they have NOT forgotten… and thus have little desire to be reunited with the popular leaders of their class pack?
Assuming that this is true. .. how can we best move forward? I know that I mistreated some individuals back then, and that I too was involved in a struggle for acceptance, and felt at times left out. Yes we move forward.. we mature.. but.. does every one of our classmates forget how we made them feel?
I think Oliver has a good point here and his last question quickly brought to mind a response I received to our Reunion poll. This person wrote from his heart with true honesty. I don’t believe it was easy for him to write. It wasn’t easy to read either because it hurt some people; it angered others and confused many.
.Did you attend this year’s All Classes Reunion? No If not, why not? I have not had good experiences with the class reunions although I have only showed up once to the ALL class reunion. I have been very interested to see if anyone who stopped attending or have never attended a reunion would speak up. I only saw responses from those that do attend these reunions on a regular or infrequent basis as they can do so. I feel that this completely leaves out others from speaking out. So being one of those that stopped attending I will add some of my thoughts because Pauline seems to indicate that she is interested in what happened to us. Likely, the reason lays in the experiences in our own special reunion that has turned us off these events. So, I will leave those comments in that area. For the ALL class reunion I and three of my brothers did show up to one but did not stay. We all looked around to find any of our classmates of whom we had any deep interest in seeing again. After 5 minutes none of us had any interest in staying any longer. Those we saw were the ones we did not want to have any contact with so we promptly left. I am being really open and honest. We did not give you all a chance to change our minds and I feel badly about that as we allowed our previous experiences in our own class reunion to taint us deeply.
2.If your class had their own special reunion, did you attend? No If not, why not? I have been to 3 of our reunions and due to dwindling participation these have stopped occurring altogether. The issues I saw that turned me off. Those positions that we were in high school for some odd reason seemed to dominate the reunion; if you were popular or some sort of leader in high school; it was expected that you remain so even after all these years. If there was conversation it centered on whether you were now successful or not (What do you do?). There were placements at tables and they separated us according to whatever we were in high school. I am not trying to offend anyone I just think we all can do things better.
I do not know how things are done in the ALL class reunion so I can’t make any suggestions. I wish you all well in how you do them but be sensitive to whether or not you have a bias or as Jesus puts it in John 13:34 'A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.'
I do not remember who sent it as I deleted the emails as soon as I copied them to a newsletter so I have no record of names. But the questions, still remains
….WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
The day after receiving
Oliver’s email above, I got this one from him. Since it furthered
his thoughts, it seemed fitting to add it here.
MORE FROM OLIVER: Stories and movies have been written about the dynamics surrounding high school (and even grade school) relationships and their impact on personalities years later. I personally was surprised over the feelings that I experienced last spring when I attended the football team ring ceremony and stepped into our old high school gym for the first time since 1959. I felt like I did back then…rather small and insignificant. What we have to remember is that our emotional maturity back then was not as fully developed as it later would become. Therefore our memories and feelings of high school may be called into question along with the perceptions we had of our peers.
When we suddenly transfer into a different culture with new friends, leaving most acquaintances behind at graduation, relationships with our classmates cease to develop any further. The feelings and emotions related to our classmates become suspended in time… and gradually fade into the distant past. I imagine that in some cases those memories become buried for good and in other cases they become vivid gravestones easily reread every time our memories are taken back to those years. And, we have learned, that time tends to warp some of our memories such that we would not recognize the experience if it were accurately replayed.
So, it is good to have a chance at reunion time to pick up where we left off, correct the misunderstandings, apologize for the wrongs, and bring our past immature selves up to the level of our improved adult versions… psychologists might call it therapeutic. And,, it is good to get to better know people that we passed in the cafeteria with little interaction. Wow.. some of them turned out to be really great!
My last remark is made based upon one mentioned in a previous post where the respondent said that the primary question asked at reunions related to job status, was primarily job or career related and most likely associated with one’s economic or social status. There is no question that not all careers are considered equal, nor are cars, houses, and life styles. There is a success ladder entrenched in our American cultural lifestyle.. at least a perceived one.. and few are proud to be viewed by fellow classmates as living on a lower rung. There is bond between brothers serving in the military when they are fighting on the same field.. friction between those of lower rank vs higher rank. So it behooves us when we attend alumni gatherings to focus on the things that bring us together rather than on "status" items.
And let's remember… cancer, dementia, and old age put class ladders on their sides dumping all of us on the ground. Death plays no favorites.. and everyone appreciates a warm hug, hello, and how are you, while we still have warm blood circulating through our lungs.
I love the CCS Alumni and I feel that we are a community. It makes me sad when I hear that people do not feel welcome "into the fold". Maybe there is nothing we can do but I don’t want to give up hope. If you respond and you do not want your name made public, please let me know.
Hope to hear from you,
God Bless You