Archived Story

Dear John/Would you change your high school will?

Published 3:38pm Thursday, August 30, 2012

Would you change your last will and testament written in high school?

— Teri Frantz

Summer is class reunion time, and, no, I would not change mine. I changed with maturity.

Teri wondered if members of old classes would change their last will and testament 10 years after graduation. Twenty-five? Fifty?

It took me three days to find mine in the 1975 Guys, Gals and Gags, directed by Texan Phil Butler. The first two pages contain an elegantly written reflection by a future creative writing teacher that concludes: “In caps and gowns we sit … paying no attention to the principal’s stale speech as he says how wonderful a class we were … last glimpses of people most of us will forget within a few years, or remember only the bad things about them. We attempt to act sophisticated, slapping our trembling hands and smiling over the nervous cries of our hearts. Our heads, resembling question marks, look at each other, at best friends, acquaintances, rivals, and we cry inside. Someday students will be saying, ‘That was such a long time ago.’

My will stands as a snapshot of that quaint, musically horrible, point in time when the Captain and Tennille promised “Love Will Keep Us Together” and we looked like Cassopolis Rangers in our blue caps and gowns.

Mine, I know this will come as a shock, is kind of snarky and about as accessible as Steely Dan lyrics. I bequeathed to the late Mr. Freeman “my ability to use big words and spell them right, too,” but my arrogance pales in comparison to some of my classmates swaggering with teenage indestructability unleavened by time.

Most read like “Dazed and Confused,” the 1993 film written and directed by Richard Linklater. It follows various cliques of teenagers during the last day of school in the summer of 1976 with an ensemble cast that launched Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser and Joey Lauren Adams. So, too, the DUHS Class of ’75 survived that universal endurance test, high school, and went on to better things.

Meanwhile, Greg Clary, who left DUHS and served as a journalist in New York, while home for the ’72 reunion, pitched a “Come Home to Dowagiac” idea for the last weekend in July, seeing if there would be interest in turning it into an annual event.

People are pretty polarized by class reunions.

I’ve never missed a reunion, but there are always those who travel hundreds of miles while many who live in town skip reminiscing because they see whoever they want on a regular basis.

What do you think, Dowagiac?

Would you change your will? Send me your thoughts on class reunions at


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