|With two of my best high school buds Jerry Turbyfill (and wife Doris) and Gaylard Andrews.|
Tomorrow is my 50th Cranberry, N.C., High School reunion (the graduation anniversary was in May). Aug. 22 is the 50th anniversary of the day I walked into Bob Terrell's Asheville Citizen-Times sports department and began my adventure in journalism.
I've heard from old people all my life that "it seems like yesterday" and it does once you're at a 50th anniversary event. I look at the classmates surrounding me and wonder who these old people are, not recognizing that I fit perfectly with the blue hair, the baldies, the pot bellies, the turkey necks, sagging jowels and boobs and butts, the huskier voices, the limps, the canes and walkers, the coughs and the cloudy eyes.
I think "I'm different," but that's not the case. I'm 67 and they're 67 or 68. We've aged differently, but we share a great deal of the experience, the knowing looks, the conversation from another time. And then I look across the room and see Joyce Watson. I recognize the big, beautiful blue eyes immediately and all else about her that is different doesn't matter. She is still the tall, slim, smiling young woman I was so taken by as a senior at a new school. She was kind to me and I fell in love with her at a distance. Her boyfriend was my tackle and a quarterback does not mess with his tackle. But the memory remains. All the memories remain.
Tomorrow, I'll see the old friends, the best friends, the ones who remind me that I'm still 17, still slim and athletic, still have my life ahead of me.