When I land at the airport I head North on State Road 436 toward Orlando. The 30 minute ride from the airport to my parent’s house in Winter Park carries a lot of memories for me. When we stop at the traffic light on Lake Underhill Road (there are a LOT of traffic lights on SR 436) I stare at the enormous overpass for the East-West Expressway and think about the house on Hermosa St only a few blocks away. I lived in that house through the 5th grade. Just past the Expressway, on the left, is the shopping center with the barber where my mother sent me with her last $20 bill. Somehow, I lost the money on the way there.
When I was a boy, riding my bicycle to the barber, $20 was worth a lot more than it is now.
I’m heading to WP in November for my 50th high school reunion. Why would someone want to go to their 50th high school reunion? I have attended previous reunions. They can be 50 recitations of the Summary of Your Life in 25 words or less. A better approach is to offer the three biggest things that I want everyone to remember about me.
Plus, some people don’t have fond memories of high school. And yet, the people you knew then aren’t the same people they are now. Believe it or not, some of them changed. They grew up. And some of those people aren’t even alive.
I played on the basketball team at Glenridge Junior High School and the football team at Winter Park with David Alcorn. David was a great guy. He and I sat the bench on the basketball team until one game the Coach sent all of us bench warmers in to finish a game in the 4th quarter. David, bless his soul, fouled out before the game ended. Lee Ann Inman, a cheerleader who knew that I normally sat the bench, congratulated me at the end of the game. I expect to see Lee Ann at the reunion.
David died of a heart attack in 1985.
|Yours truly after a morning session of 2-a-day football practice in the August heat of Florida|
In high school, Margo Roman took me on my first trip to a synagogue. I listened to the Rabbi speak, and that was the first time that I ever heard the word Holocaust. I immediately knew what he was referring to. Margo is now an internationally renowned veterinarian. I hope to see her at the reunion.
I can remember the first time that I ever heard about Hobbits and Frodo and Sam. And the Ring. I was told about “The Lord of the Rings.” “But you have to read The Hobbit first,” the boy told me. The boy was Randy Brown, and I expect to see him and talk about Gandalf at the reunion.
What happens when one of your children read the epistle in your yearbook from your High School girlfriend? I hope to see the former girlfriend at the Reunion and tell her all about it.
I try not to focus on regrets, but I have a considerable, consistent cadre that increases with age. The faces and names that stare back from the Senior Year Yearbook pages represent, one would hope, individuals who have morphed into different people.
You only get one chance to attend your 50-year HS reunion. I don’t want to miss the opportunity and add one more regret to the time that I have left.
What are the 3 biggest things that I want everyone to remember about me? To find out, you have to come to the reunion.
Beautifully written, Mike. Thanks for sharing some of your memories from WPHS and returning home. JoelReplyDelete
What a great read. I can't wait to find out. See you at the reunion!ReplyDelete
I am hoping there will be a zoom component for those not traveling due to Covid. I remember you being such a straight and honest guy who was serious yet had a laugh that would surface. You were smart and better in English AP than most better than I . I always felt I could depend on you .ReplyDelete
Michael, what an amazing and selfless life you have lived. Thank you for sharing some of your experiences and memories with us. I look forward to reading more of your articles. In addition to your amazing life lessons and experiences, you are an excellent writer/author. I will be happy to see you at the reunion; to personally thank you and shake your hand.ReplyDelete