Once upon a time, we ran until we got where we were going. We walked to school with nearly bare legs in twenty below zero weather. We drove our cars hard and fast, (well, as fast as cars would go then), We stayed up all night, slept late, woke refreshed and did it all over again. When elders talked about being tired, we wondered what they had been up to, after all, we never saw them work hard. We were INVINCIBLE.
Grandpa was 65+ when he helped me catch a chipmunk in the garage to sell to Jon Wenneberg for a science project. Grandma, a few years younger, was baking bread, keeping house, taking care of two grand children, and still finding time to do handiwork and visit on Sundays with good friends. There were not as INVINCIBLE as I was, but I could look to 65 and think, I can do that when I am 65.
Mother was in the San with TB and Daddy was busy contracting. Her pace was slow and Daddy made up for it; sometimes driving to the cities and back twice in one day. He went through a lot of cars in a short period of time. He said he traded them in when the ash trays got full. I had one parent who was sickly and another burning the candle at both ends. I didn't know about genetics but neither sick nor burn out was a type of life style I would have chosen. Neither seemed INVINCIBLE to me.
And then, the grandparents deceased. First Phil, then Julia, and then, Benhard at 98. I actually do not know how old Phil's first wife, my grandmother, was. Yet, they all had gotten the promise of 70 plus years. So, I was okay with it.
And then Daddy died. And that was when I realized that life was creeping up on me and I was half way to the promise of seventy years although he only made it to 67.
Mother died at eighty and I was adopted by my aunt because, now, I was truly an orphan. My brother had expired several months earlier.
It is now the time that many of us have no living parents. If we are lucky, we have siblings who we can engage with on a somewhat timely basis. If you don't, then get you * together and make it happen.
And so, we stand abreast, all of us 1944 babies, now grown up, most have grand children and some may even have great grand children. We are on the frontier of what is considered old age. Although it stings, the reality of it is here.
I have been verifying deaths of class mates this last week. Twenty three out of 177 have perished. Other names have been suggested, as a genealogy nut, I have not been able to find anything which says they are deceased.
And in some way, super freaky, you look around the circle of these people and wonder who will be next while the reality is, we only have the day we are in.
Most of us haven't been the editor of a major newspaper or a missionary in Africa treating refugees. There is a saying hanging on the wall as you come in the back door of our house, "To the world you are one person, to one person you are the world". And maybe that is what it is all about. Making a difference.
The concept of being INVINCIBLE toward someone does NOT go away. People perish. No more memories to make. Yet, if you are very still one can make that invincible connection.....an I knew him/her when....Most likely you have, at least made eye contact and that is what is saving me now.
Old Trunks was a pest. And so when I think about Bruce, who always sat behind me, I think about how I pestered him. I did the same thing to Tim, who sat in the next row. These to gentleman will always be the tolerant males who put up with me.
And Marlene, well, no one colored quite like she did, how did she make her black so black how could she press so hard? She didn't know but her George Washington done in red and Abe Lincoln, done in black were impressive. Dittos
Jane was in the same scout troop and drew her own name for the door prize.
Jim had a great party at Noper's and I wore my mother's clothes because she was in the hospital. He had wonderful freckles.
Karl was mean in grade school.
Another Jim, well, I had a major crush on him but he never knew it.
Andrea liked John. John liked everyone.
I adored, and wanted to be part of the FFA group with David, Russell, Milton, and Elton but girls weren't allowed there or to play hockey. I considered myself more of a farm kid than a city kid.
Gary had the nicest 58 black Chevy with louvers on the hood and when it snowed, the heat from the engine melted the snow.
Donna was scary and after she threw P down the stairs at RLF at a dance, I stayed out of her way. I bet she really wasn't mean.
Another Gary lived down the street from us when I was young, he gave me the willies.
John was bright and funny and on crutches for a year, (he got to get out of class 5 minutes early so he had time to get to class--when I needed crutches, they didn't let me out earlier so I brought the crutches back to the fire station).
Pam was one of the sweetest people one could ever know and so was Diane.
I adored Mike, he was going to be a priest and pray for me every day. He was one of the greatest losses to me. He had a loving, giving spirit --he must have been born an old soul.
Larry and his wife bought the Chevy and drove it to CA.
And when I am very still, I can still see Adeline laughing so hard as she walked to her locker one morning after getting off the bus. I asked her why, and she said, "There is this funny looking dog downstairs that goes rur, rur, rur" The funny looking dog turned out to be McGregor, our Scotch terrier who had traveled a least a mile including over the 1st street bridge.
And maybe, just maybe the law of I know someone that knows some one that knew Jerry and Allen well.
The twenty three students formerly of the class of 1962 died too young. Yet, we have to hope their lives where rich and full according to their standards and not ours. Because we can't all be everything to everyone.
Everyone is someone and worth the price of a memory.