Thursday, September 10, 2009

When Those Franklin Lancers Fall In Line

This past weekend we had a class reunion. Not the usual high school reunion, but an elementary school reunion. That’s right, the Franklin Elementary class of 1978 and its teachers gathered to reminisce and catch up with each other. The idea grew out of a thrown together dinner a few of us had last year at a local restaurant. It was more fun than a barrel of preschoolers on a Mountain Dew high, and you can read about it here. In fact, you should probably read it to understand why we have such a strong attachment to our grade school and each other. Essentially, we grew up in a Mayberry like atmosphere that’s pretty unheard of these days. Some of us don’t want to let go of that memory. And that’s okay.

Madd Maxx, M. and me started planning the event last fall, and it culminated with Saturday’s wing ding. For months, Maxx emailed and called from Louisiana with ideas. He would text over a worry about food or RSVPs, and I would text back “Chill” or “Dude, it will be fine.” He (thankfully) reminded me to check on various things, and I did. Well, except for that CD player I was supposed to bring to the reunion. He took it upon himself to locate each and every one of our classmates, spending who knows how much time on the phone and computer. He’s a whiz at tracking people down. He should work for the CIA. Or a repo company. M. works at a bank in our hometown, so she knows where people have been hiding out for the last three decades, too. She collected reservations and money. Together, we managed to gather together many of our classmates and teachers for a Labor Day weekend reunion.

There were people there whom I hadn’t seen in thirty-one years. We all looked a little older than we did in 1978.

For four and a half hours Saturday, we laughed and told stories of spankings and classroom antics. We laughed at ourselves and our childhood goofiness. And for a little while we got to relive our innocence and the simplicity of a time when our biggest dilemma was whether or not mama was going to let us buy a metal Tom and Jerry lunchbox. Or whether the boy or girl sitting next to us was going to circle “yes” or “no”.

As I was reviewing the pictures from the reunion, I realized a common theme: Madd Maxx. He’s in most of them. Now, when I’m taking pictures I just look for a good moment to capture. I don’t really think about how many I’m taking of one person or another. And there were plenty of photos of smiles.

And laughter.
And storytelling.

But over and over again, there was Maxx.
During the school trivia game.

And the picture discussions.
With teachers.
And fellow classmates.
He was all sit by me.
And do you remember.
And while I think most of us had a really good time during that walk down memory lane, for him it was even better. It was a chance to relieve a very special time that came to a traumatic end when he had to move out of state immediately after our 1978 graduation. While he’s always stayed in touch with me and a few other childhood buddies, he has missed the 35 other kids he made memories with so long ago. It gave him a chance to catch up and gave the rest of us an opportunity to stop and appreciate how good we had it back then or finally realize how difficult of a time some of our classmates had at home then even though they didn’t show it. I now know life wasn’t all Mayberry all the time for some kids.

So Maxx, thanks for the fun during the last few months. I love ya’ more than my luggage. And thanks to my fellow Franklin Lancers for giving me an evening of laughs and smiles. More importantly, thanks for the nine years of friendship and life lessons.


maggie said...

Guess this proves that I'm definitely a Senior Citizen! My oh my - what memories!

J.G. said...

What a touching post. These reunions just might be a good idea after all!

You are so lucky to have such good friends to share your Mayberry years with.

oreneta said...

I am so impressed you got all of that together! Finding the people must have been the most difficult part of all. Goodness.

karisma said...

Sounds wonderful! Funnily enough I got an email from my best school friend today! We had been out of touch for years! She simply stated to me "I AM NOT DEAD!" LOL! Well I was happy to hear it! I love her to bits we just lost contact as she was busy chasing a career while I was raising kids. She has now joined me and is missing that close friendship we had! I was so so happy to hear from her! I really do believe friendship is forever, we just need to move and grow and learn at our own pace! I am looking forward to catching up with my dear friend and her babies!

Jason, as himself said...

Now that's just cute. I wonder if I'll ever have a reunion with any of my little ones...when they get bigger, that is.