Like many of you, I’m sure, receiving a blast from the past brings back memories long buried. For me it was Saturday evening when the phone rang and the female voice at the other end asked, “Is this Mark Rushton, the Mark Rushton who graduated from Qualicum Beach High?”
She then proceeded to tell me her parents operated the corner store near where I lived … and I remembered her, and her father’s car, her brother and even their old dog.
Cause of the call, however, was not so much to reminisce as it was to inform me that my old grad class was having a reunion, and was I interested in attending.
Reunions, of course, are supposed to be the place to reunite with long lost friends, to chat over the joys of attending a particular school, and presumably in some ethereal way over dinner relive our childhood with those we supposedly grew up with.
First of all, I never really liked school. In addition to that, the school district in which I was raised was one of the longest and narrowest on the island, if not in the province, covering an area from Lantzville to Bowser – tiny communities with few souls, that even friendships, if they ever developed, were separated by distance mostly insurmountable (at least in a day) by bicycle.
And since most of those with whom I attended senior high were from those very scattered communities, and additionally, due to the size of the grad class, were separated by classrooms and courses, I never really got to know many of them.
In fact, when I received an email as a follow-up to the telephone call, of the six people named who the reunion coordinators have been unable to track down, only one was even remotely familiar to me, and I haven’t seen him since the summer of ’67.
Where I grew up, in what is now known as Oceanside, you had but a couple of choices following the final closure of secondary education – become a logger/fisherman or leave town.
Within a month of graduation, I was one of the latter.
And of all the 69 kids who said goodbye to QBSS that year, an acquaintance was maintained with only one, and that not rekindled for at least 20 years following my move to the mainland. Regrettably, that relationship, which was tied entirely around our interests in aviation with a little “remember when we were kids” thrown in, ended with his untimely passing a few years ago.
So what, other than memories of a few post-pubescent attractions to various females, would cause me to attend this spring a gathering of a bunch of senior citizens who essentially have nothing in common save to brag about success or despair about opportunities missed?
Curiosity, of course, is a compelling motivation, so perhaps there is something to getting together with people you really didn’t know before, and truly don’t know now.
If nothing else, I can possibly and surreptitiously compare how well the years have treated some in comparison to those for whom age as not been so kind. Or possibly discover one of my former classmates has become rich and famous (the spoof movie Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion comes to mind, in more ways than one, I might add).