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Class reunions can make new, unexpected friendships

August 1, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Class reunions ought to be put in the same categories as birthday parties and New Year's Eve.

They're inevitable. They're exciting. They make you wonder why things are as they are. Well, they make me wonder.

And what I wonder is how I could let people I used to know fall out of my life.

Last weekend was my 45-year class reunion from Eagle Grove High School, but the get-together fun started the Sunday before when Tom Martin, a 1965 graduate of Southeast Webster High School in Burnside, came back for his reunion and we met for dinner at Tres Amigos. He lives in Texas, but roams the country for his job.

You might think there'd be nothing to say to someone you haven't seen in 45 years, but from the time we sat down and started to talk - and, oh, did we have good times to talk about - it was as if there had been no time lost at all.

The same with my own reunion. It was as easy to talk to former classmates now as it was back then. Of course, back then it wasn't so easy with some of them, so when I realized friendships had developed, those friendships were both unexpected and unexplained.

I wrote those words in a note that Saturday night, and they keep wiggling through my mind. Unexpected, certainly, because - and I'm supposing I'm not the only one who this has happened to - there were people at the reunion I hadn't said 100 words to in all six years of school, from seventh grade to graduation.

Unexplainable, for sure. No one could have foreseen these new friendships.

So that, I think, is the value of a class reunion. After 45 years, all those things that hurt your heart should have shriveled away enough that two nights of full-out fun could erase anything bad that ever happened.

My eraser got a big boost when eight of us crawled into Ron Emerson's boat for a trip around Lake Cornelia. OK, I'm the only one who had to crawl in. My equilibrium problems made it iffy, at best, whether I should even try to get into the boat. I was hoping for a gangplank and steps, but no go there, so two of the guys held onto me as I gracefully - as gracefully as a baby beluga whale - got into the boat. It took three of them to get me out, two pulling and one pushing. On my leg. Pushing on my leg.

After the brats-and-burgers social on Friday, the Saturday banquet gave us one more night of happy. We had an auction to raise money for the scholarship fund our class has with the school system, and by the end of the night we'd raised nearly $10,000.

You're darned right that's a lot of money. My class is a good class. Good people with generous spirits. And now I can happily say they're my friends. The kind of friend it's easy to talk to and fun to be with.

It took me long enough to find this out, which is sad because it's likely been that way since I've known them and I just didn't allow it to happen. That's the beauty of reunions. Reunions let it happen.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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