Half a Lifetime

What kind of hometown is Springport, you ask? Lets see… Village population ~700; township (36 square miles) population in the neighborhood of 3,000. Pretty much all woods and farms. One golf course (used to be a field), one race track (used to be a field). When neighboring town Eaton Rapids had its homecoming earlier this month, the theme was “Hillbilly Week”, so all of the Eaton Rapids folk dressed up like Springport folk.

Big rivals Concord shut out Springport at the homecoming game on Friday. I stuck around until the end of the third quarter, when it was obvious that Springport couldn’t possibly win. The crowd held some familiar faces, people I hadn’t seen in around fifteen years, who were in town for the same reason I was.

The fifteen-year-class reunion took place at the Hotel Tavern in Springport. Of the original 67 members of the Class of 1987, perhaps eighteen participated. I didn’t mind; everyone who showed up was genuinely interested in the fate and doings of the others, some of whom were in town from as far away as Massachusetts.

To make a long story short, no-one is dead, no-one is in prison, some people are happy, some are sad, and some of the girls I never paid attention to in high school are now stunningly beautiful women. The three men who were at the bar all looked pretty much like they did fifteen years ago. Different hairlines, but the same faces.

As the evening progressed I felt recurring waves of vertigo and deja vu, memories of the same people in the same configuration, sitting at cafeteria tables, eating cafeteria food, talking the same talk at a smaller magnitude. Specific images and conversations stick in my mind: Meredith talking about her six children. Jane talking about her husband. The deep sadness in Keri’s eyes. Rusty’s pony-tail stuck through the back of his baseball cap. The angel in Nikki and the devil in Kelly. After the initial drinking binge a comfortable melancholy settled in, and for the first time in years, or ever, we just sat and talked. I finally let my high-school demons go five years ago, so this was a reunion of old friends.

We plan to get together in five years, same time, same place, and talk about what has gone before, and what is to come. Twenty years is a long time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *