John Eby: Did love keep us together? Class of ’75 keeps on truckin’Published 7:35pm Sunday, July 25, 2010
Inside, we, the DUHS Class of 1975, have been edited from existence.
On the Academic Wall of Fame hang portraits of valedictorians.
Lacking ours, there was always a gap, like a smile missing teeth.
Eventually, someone shoved senior photos together and closed ranks.
We came of age in an unsettling time. Nixon and Watergate.
Fractured families, like we laughed at in prime time on “The Brady Bunch.”
Funky fashions and long hair.
Disco bearing down on us.
“Dazed and Confused” the best movie made about that aimless period.
In fact, we’re talking about doing something with the bicentennial Class of ’76.
The week we graduated the No. 1 song in the land that was inescapable on the car radio cruising around was “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille, who’s in her 70s now.
“Young and beautiful, someday your looks will be gone,” Toni taunted us, though we didn’t believe it then when we were indestructible.
We never got a shot at being the Greatest Generation.
Vietnam ended before we ever marched off to war.
We didn’t grow up with technology, but it would forevermore be part of our lives. Unlike the Greatest Generation, we were expected to adapt.
Much to my surprise we managed to hold a reunion every five years, from that first one at the VFW where everyone sat in their cliques like B lunch.
July 24 the Class of 1980, the last one I did not cover for the paper, gathered at the VFW.
There were ominous omens brooding about our get-together.
For a while the rumor went around that our Wayne Township luau would feature Slipknot, then one of its members died of a drug overdose.
Plus, our reunion coincided with National Tequila Day.
After six reunions, the luau imploded. We agreed to meet at the Wounded Minnow. I didn’t know what to expect.
Scores came — Sandy, Mike D., Loranne, Johns No. 2 and 3, Jim, Martha, Barb, Gary, Norine, Jane, Pam, Mike L., Deborah, Karen, Kim, Jim, Dana, Kathy, Patti, Jenny our homecoming queen, Richard, Ed and Leeann, Ron, Dawn, Kurt, Vanessa, Lee and Marilyn, Randy, Cynthia, Lennie, Lois, Bob and Judy.
I missed Lonni, who toyed with coming from Maryland.
We married on the exact same day almost 25 years ago and, even weirder, our daughters our Savannah and Georgia.
There were somber moments, to be sure, like hearing about an agonizing battle with breast cancer.
Thirty-five years after high school is what it is.
Tucked in the back of my mind was a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report on disabilities striking the middle-aged, and by middle-aged I mean us, the peak of the postwar baby boom, with sedentary lifestyles and obesity.
“The people I’m seeing are aging more quickly than people I used to see,” a doctor said.
I’m reminded of another song, “Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die,” by Jethro Tull. I was Thick as a Brick when it came to thinking flute had any place in a rock band, but I came around, years after Ginny led the way.
Studies show similar findings on a national level. Researchers at the University of Michigan and the RAND Corp. analyzed information from the 1997 to 2007 National Health Interview Survey and found that more than 40 percent of people ages 50 to 64 reported having difficulty doing one of nine “physical functions,” such as stooping, standing for two hours, walking a quarter mile or climbing 10 steps without resting.
Health problems cited most often include neck and back problems, arthritis, diabetes, anxiety and emotional problems.
Researchers noted that the 40 percent figure contrasted with the older group age 65 and older, who reported a decrease in disabilities during that same period.
The study, published in the April edition of the Journal Health Affairs, also found that some middle-aged respondents — less than 2 percent, but growing — need help with personal care activities such as getting out of bed, using the toilet and grocery shopping.
I’ve never understood those who shun reunions, since your histories are uniquely intertwined.
I was especially glad to see Larry, attending for the first time.
It was great seeing everybody and catching up and I hope we can do it again in 2015.
I’m reminded of a couple other songs that aren’t “Muskrat Love.”
Be True to Your School by The Beach Boys.
LeBron James forgot where he came from.
I hope we never do.
And a song by pre-Super Bowl, non-creaking The Who.
The Kids are Alright.
John Eby is Daily News managing editor. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.