This is dedicated to the Homewood-Flossmoor High School class of ’75, and particularly those such as Tina Landry Otte and Scott Tomlinson that facilitated the recent reunions.

I was recently invited to join a high-school reunion back in my hometown of Homewood, Illinois.   I was not able to make it because I learned about the event with too short notice to be able to attend this time around.

However, one of my classmates, Scott Tomlinson, arranged for a regional “mini-reunion” for those Homewood-Flossmoor (HF) graduates from the class of ’75 who live in the Southern California area.  

On Tuesday, April 17th, I drove down from Los Angeles and met with Scott Tomlinson and his son Erik, Marty Leonard, and Richard Carroll at an Italian restaurant in the Little Italy section of downtown San Diego.   We had a great meal and had a wonderful time reminiscing for about 3 hours.  Marty mentioned that he thought we were starting to look younger as the evening progressed; he attributed it to the wine some of us were drinking. 

On the way home, I realized that what Marty was saying was true:  I felt a vitality that I had not felt for a long time by reliving events and memories from that intense time of our lives.   I was casting about in my mind for an image to explain how I felt, and I finally discovered one.  

A pearl is made by a piece of grit or sand which gets lodged in the shell of the oyster.   The oyster then secretes a substance to protect itself against the irritation caused by that piece of sand, and this secretion then hardens to become a pearl.   In a way, we were experiencing the process in reverse.   Our personalities were like pearls that formed at the time of our childhood, and hardened during the years in high school.   Our core being was intense and translucent as we graduated high school, but then years of the experiences of life have covered them with grit and sand which sometimes have obscured that light within.  

But then our conversations about the fun times we had and the crazy things we did acted like a sandblaster and I saw that pearl of personality shine forth again.   As Scott, Marty, and Rich and I talked about cars, dances, football games and other events that constellated our emotional lives back then, I could see that the essential spark of being that was reflected in our eyes and our smiles was as strong as it was back then, although our bodies and minds may have aged.

We were unique both as individuals and as a class, given the unique point of time when we graduated in relation to the flow of historical events of this country.   It was a privilege of a lifetime to be who we were; and I wanted to thank Scott, Tina and all of the others that have tried to contact the classmates of the class of ’75 in order to help us realize that.   


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