Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. — From the television show The Wonder Years
The beauties, the jocks, the popular crowd
Make an entrance, heads held aloft.
Still strong of body, smooth of skin, untouched
By challenges they couldn’t or wouldn’t face.
The geeks, nerds, shy ones, and unknowns
Slink in hoping not to draw attention.
Who’d have thought they’d grow into attractiveness?
All grab name tags, then gravitate to special friends from before.
Funny how the old cliques persist, years after graduation.
Five or ten years out, talk centers on accomplishments.
Who has married, how many babies, whose job is most promising.
There are golf outings, tennis matches, bowling, and such.
Drinks flow freely, and so does the food.
Fast forward to the golden years, when things typically slow down.
Weathered hands fumble for name tags, grateful at last
For a chance to put names to faces, to call a halt to
The endless “Bet you don’t remember me” game.
An assortment of canes, wheelchairs, and oxygen tanks appears.
The aging beauties and athletes don’t look one bit better
Than their counterpart nerds, geeks, and unpopular classmates.
Most are familiar with pain, have shaken hands with illness and death.
Talk of grand-babies, retirement, and which surgeons are best
For replacing knees and hearts grabs the attention of all present.
A slideshow reminds them who is no longer among the living.
Activities include sit-down dinners, coffee, and a tour of the old school.
Funny how the cliques fade away, the older classmates become.