Blog: No More Reunions for Me

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Burt Ross

For decades now I have dutifully returned to my high school and college reunions, but that is about to end. I just came back from my 55th high school reunion in Pennsylvania, and that’s it for me.

May is supposed to be perfect weather in the mid-Atlantic region of our country, but on this occasion, it was a windy 43-degree morning, and the sun refused to come out behind the clouds. Eighteen of my 130 classmates showed up — roughly 28 of the originals having passed on, and the balance choosing to stay home, which is clearly what I should have done.

We gathered at our memorial bench, which is now adorned by 28 nameplates, each commemorating a deceased classmate. I assumed we would reminisce about our fallen comrades and share heart-warming anecdotes, but I was in for a surprise.

The first classmate to speak announced that when his time came to meet his maker, he had a shotgun and it was loaded. Things were not about to get any rosier. An attractive classmate, in what looked like excellent condition, countered with, “I have a stash of pills ready for just such an occasion.” What I had anticipated would be a warm and fuzzy remembrance was fast becoming a Jonestown-like group suicide.

It actually went downhill from there. Each classmate tried to outdo the other with various ailments. One classmate announced she had hip replacement surgery, only to be countered with a classmate who proudly pointed out that he had not only suffered a heart attack, but now has prostate cancer.

I am keenly aware of my own mortality, since most of my emails offer me either adult diapers, walk-in bathtubs or cremation, but my parents each lived exactly 91 years and 20 days, and so I would like to enjoy what time I have left without constant reminders that I am descending the mountaintop.

My classmates seemed undeterred and intent on reminding me that we were getting on in age. One couple talked about how they enjoyed recently moving into assisted living quarters, and another talked about down sizing. And then came the coup de gras when a classmate asked all in attendance, “I would like to know how many times you pee during the night.” You have got to be kidding. I came all the way from California to learn how many times my classmates urinate during the night. God have mercy on me — this is far too much information.

It is now obvious to me that I have attended my last reunion. No more reunions for me!