Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The 25th reunion year

This is, I am reminded, the 25th year after graduation from high school, and I've heard there will be a reunion.

Those who knew me then might say, as some have, that my life has proceeded according to plans that were made in junior high, more or less. I might say the same thing, more or less, by the bare preponderance of the evidence. There's a handwritten essay in the archives from Mr. Sieber's 8th grade English class, or was it 7th grade, in which I wrote how I was going to become a lawyer.

Next door to Mr. Sieber's room, more or less, was Mr. Feiler's room, where he taught 8th grade civics. In his class I first learned the case of Marbury v. Madison. Indeed, in his classroom, there was an old stash of books, soon to be trashed, called Constitutional Analysis, and I took one home (by extraconstitutional means?) and still have it. That would have been more like 30 years ago. I saw Mr. Feiler at a baseball game in 1988, the summer spent clerking at the Barley Snyder firm, and he said he knew all along that I would become a lawyer.

The last time I was in contact with any of my old teachers (other than Ed Stout) was Coach Borden, who taught 9th grade English. "You people don't know how to edit," he declared in those days, "you look at the page and think, 'These are my words, I love them.'" When I saw that he was retiring from coaching basketball, I e-mailed him and told him that I have recalled his admonition many times since, since writing is mainly what I do, and good advice on writing never grows old. He wrote back that he could well recall that I was never at a loss for words.

I saw a piece on the Golf Channel the other day where the question before the panel was would you rather play a pro-am with Tiger Woods or with your mom, and one guy answered his mom, since she had been dead for some years and his dad in particular would like to see her. If I could play a pro-am with one of my high school teachers, it would be the old grey-bearded English teacher with whom I conspired for a couple of years, and who died before his daughters married, two sisters who were both cheerleaders and who both were cursed with the same unfortunate nose and who married on the same day - and I would skip the golf and send him on to see them.

I guess the teachers, particularly those no longer of this earth, don't come to the reunions, and since my tale would hold no mystery to my friends, I won't be at the reunion of the Conestoga Valley class of '83. Besides which, my dad got food poisoning at his 25th reunion.

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