Monday, July 10, 2006

Reunion 2006

Here is a poem I read at the 35th reunion of the class of 1971 of Wawasee High School.

Reunion

Full circle we have come
to a gym such as this--
once the nexus, the heart
of small towns like ours--
a hardwood-floored temple.

In gyms such as this
we congregated
Friday nights
for the blessed rites
of basketball.

In gyms such as this
the sacrament
of vaccine
on sugar cubes
spared us
from polio's scourge,
from crutch and iron lung.

In gyms such as this
were Jonah Club Fish Fries held.
We shared fishes and loaves:
deep-fried cod
and Wonder Bread.

In gyms such as this
we gathered
for judgment,
costumed for Halloween.

In gyms such as this
we gathered
for drama, for comedy,
for music.

In a gym such as this
restless adolescents
became
robed angels, proceeding,
singing Adeste Fidelis,
mounting risers
to become
a living Christmas Tree.

Outside gyms such as this
our chariots awaited--
the cars of the fortunate sons:
swing low, sweet GTO,
Corvette, Camaro.
And the cars with character--
Mary Ellen's Dragon Wagon,
Susi's Studebaker.
And the mundane rides
of the rest of us--
Volkswagen, Falcon, Rambler.

In gyms such as this
we
sweat,
cheered,
danced,
laughed,
cried,
fought,
loved.

In a gym such as this
we gathered
for commencement--
the beginning to all
that lay ahead
and now lies behind,
beneath the dust
of three decades and a half--
an end to school,
a farewell to friends.

Friends,
full circle we have come
to a gym such as this.
Let us savor our memories.
Let us savor our remaining time.
Let us savor the night.

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