Mike Cline column: Grab your canes, walkers because another class reunion approaches
Wife Julie and I have a high school reunion coming up. Reunions are like Jerry Lewis. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Doesn’t seem to be any middle ground.
And since I’m penning this (typing actually), the opinions expressed are mine, which may or may not be shared by my spouse, even though I believe she enjoys reunions (not Jerry), too. Just trying to keep the peace.
Some classmates won’t attend a reunion because their high school years weren’t very pleasant. I respect that. No reason to slam your hand in a door the second time. Others don’t attend because of the distance factor. It can run into some money.
I’m close to the old home town, so it’s very easy for me to attend. And even if I had to travel a good ways, I’d make every attempt to do so because I love our class reunions. My years in high school were very enjoyable, so I always look forward to seeing folks who were a big part of that time of my life.
Our graduating class has had several of these gatherings already; however, this will be the first one to be held which is actually accurate in terms of time. Eleven years after graduation, we had our 10th reunion. Eleven years later was our 22nd. But this time, by golly, we’re right on the button.
Our last gathering was four years past, and yes, late time-wise. Consensus was it was a blast. Immediately, a number of my fellow grads suggested we not wait another 10 years for the next. With our earth clocks ticking louder and louder, perhaps we should have one in five years. So we went with it. The time has passed quickly. And sadly, since our previous get together, we have lost 11 classmates. Looks like the five-year spread was a good idea.
The class of which I am/was a member numbered 254. As of the date of this writing, 32-two are no longer with us. I know this because of something that came from our gathering four years ago. Right after we were all together, my friend who served as committee chairman last time, suggested we should have our own website. Everyone eagerly agreed. “Yeah, that would be great,” all of us replied.
Then he looked at me: “Mike, since you recently retired, you might have a bit more free time than those of us who are still working.” I quickly was thinking a website might not be such a good idea. But when he applied unbearable pressure to the hammerlock in which he held me, I warmed back up to the idea. After all, if I were to build and maintain a cyberspace address for the class, both arms would really come in handy.
I began the project almost right away and continue to maintain the website on nearly a daily basis. It has been a lot of fun. And it has been a big success.
The people from whom I chose to lease our internet space have told me 35-40 percent participation is the average. Of the remaining 222 of us, 129 are registered members. According to the built-in feature on the site, that’s 58.1 percent participation. Thank goodness they furnished that info.
The batteries in my calculator are dead. If I had to do that math myself, I probably would accidentally stumble onto a formula that could keep the federal government running.
Now we have an easily-accessed database of where classmates live and an easy way to stay in touch. And we saved a bundle on postage for this reunion, because most of the communication was handled via the site. Yet another financial blow to the U.S.P.S.
So, these days, when I sign up for things and medical charts ask for my profession, instead of stating “retired,” I can claim “webmaster.” The doors of opportunity that have opened for me because of this is incredible.
None. The title of “webmaster” and a 10-dollar bill will buy a box of Starbucks K-cups. And have you noticed that a box of Starbucks K-cups is priced the same or higher as other brands and contain two less servings than the others? Shame on them.
Oh, yes, the class gathering. I guess it stood to reason that some current committee members (of which I am one) would use the logic that since I man our class website, it would be easy for everyone just to send their reunion payments to me. (LOOK OUT) Apparently, the committee members would rather, to avoid any of them being treasurer, risk me getting my grubby little hands on all that moolah. I told them I’d do it. So I’m a pushover, big deal. And I wish to assure everyone that I have no extensive vacations requiring large amounts of cash planned in any exotic locations before our event. Not Brazil, not New Jersey, not anywhere.
Judging from the reservations coming in, we’re going to have a really nice turnout. I’m thrilled because, so far, there are six or seven coming who have never made it in the past. It should be great to see them after all this time. And scheduled to attend are two friends who were passengers on the church bus involved in the recent horrific accident near Knoxville, Tenn. Hopefully, their injuries will not force a changing of their plans.
I’m really looking ahead to this night and keeping my fingers crossed all goes smoothly. I know there won’t be any “cat fights” with me as the center of attention, so I’m confident. All of the evening’s activities are not yet firmed up. I can tell you that limbo and hula-hoop contests were eliminated right away. Still being considered are walker races, but all tennis balls must be removed from the legs of all walkers. And Hoveround races are a possibility, as long as the Hoveround is not used in a bumper car manner.
Those still reading along have probably noticed that I haven’t yet stated exactly which reunion this is for my high school class.
Not a chance.
Mike Cline’s website, “Mike Cline’s Then Playing,” has expanded and now documents all the movies shown in Rowan County theaters from 1920 through 1989.