Sunday, July 20, 2014

Churchill High School Class of 1984: To strive, to seek, to find

Originally, I had planned to allow my pre-reunion article stand on its own merit and become the sole thoughts shared of this incredible celebration we all experienced. Then, while headed home, some words from a Tennyson poem blasted into my head and would not escape. They were words that brought it all home  reminding me just how unique our experience seems to have been.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

In the literary world, there is much debate over the meaning of the poem in its entirety and this last few lines. Some saw it objectively, some as irony. I choose to see this the way I see the Churchill High School Class of 1984; a heroic approach to the world.

We are each endowed with our own unique skills, abilities and providence which make a general "soul" of the individual. Each of us on an individual basis will be made weak by time and fate, but if we are strong in will, and do not yield, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.

As a group, I feel this unique character and bond that I simply cannot know whether others experience this unique blend of character. What we do know is that well over 100 Lancers showed up this weekend to celebrate life together. There were stories from high school which made us laugh; and there were private and personal anecdotes shared between former classmates which brought people great emotion.

We each have the capacity to have an impact on every person with whom we come in contact. It seems that this group, has used that ability to make the shared experience one which is full of positive moments.

I never knew that Tina (Vanourney) Ehrig was a transplant into this school in eighth grade. Hearing stories from others whose ability to adapt was made possible through incredible individuals brought that character even closer to the heart.

Nevertheless, what makes us all so special is really ineffable. We seem to have developed a sort of group consciousness which allows us to have individual character alongside a group character. Many of us have grown children. Many more have teenagers, and there is, of course, Navid who has a toddler and baby on the way. We have grandchildren in our collective and couples who have been together for nearly the entire time we have been gone from Churchill.

As I talked to, quite literally, hundreds of people over the weekend, it kept coming back to some form of unique bond. My wife Leslie, who is seven years younger than us, was quite surprised at our ability to celebrate together.

The fact that two nights in a row, we were able to carry on until after one o'clock in the morning speaks volumes to our collective love of life. If not something also about our love of drink!

I loved every single moment of this weekend. I will cherish every conversation, every smile, every laugh and every tear we shared this weekend. I will cherish the time on the golf course, and the laughs shared after. Karaoke Friday night was fun, but it seemed even more fun with the impromptu event on Saturday night.

Rich Shaw kicked off that festivity and, at the urging of Kim, Jack Byrne simply "nailed it" with one of my favorite "guilty pleasure songs" of the eighties. Explaining why I like that song is kind of like explaining why this group of people work so well together; there simply are not words. There are tears. Laughs. Sweat. Hugs. There is a love. What we have is rare and I think we all cherish it in our own way. Is that why we can get together and have such great times? Maybe.

But as I said prior, it really is all about the people. Kim, Michele, Amy and Jack all did an incredible job making this not just a "quickie" night at the bar, but making it an extravaganza. Without their dedication and hard work, none of this would be possible.

"All through life we cling to many errors, and take care never to examine their ground, merely from a fear, of which we ourselves are unconscious, of possibly making the discovery that we have so long and so often believed and maintainers is false."

I have a saying I kind of look at as a life mantra. If you wish to subject everything to yourself, then subject yourself to everything.

I wish I could thank every single person I talked to this weekend; every person  I shared a laugh with; every person who went out of their way to give me a hug. 

And, to answer that question posed all afternoon at the pool. yes, it was hot as hell in that suit!

We continue to strive; we continue to seek; we continue to find; we continue to never yield. Asa  group, that makes us special. As individuals it makes us better. Thank you all for a wonderful weekend. Thank you all for an amazing growth experience we called high school.

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