Reunion time again: Years seem to be passing too quickly

It has been more than a year since I moved into my current wonderful apartment. Truth be told, there are boxes in the basement I haven’t gone through yet. And there are items that, as organized as the move was, I haven’t been able to track down.

That’s a factor of how efficiently and quickly the move happened, most likely. By the time I left the old address after the final load was trucked away, the crew unloading at the new spot was pretty much done putting things away.

So a few of these “away” spots, I don’t know, which is why a find I made the other day is, to me at least, akin to buried treasure.

It’s my high school yearbook and it has been years since I thumbed through it. The yearbook was in a canvas bag with some remnants of the planning process for the last class reunion almost five years ago, so that has been how long it has been since my copy of Negaunee High School’s Pioneer 1976 was in my hands.

And as you can guess, this being five years later and all, another class reunion is being planned. Honestly, the years pass by … zoom. With each year, 12 months has gone by ever more rapidly.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into our class president, Dr. Peter LaFreniere, who has had a dental practice in our hometown for many years now. Pete said he had been talking to my cousin Andy Prusi, another classmate, and they were shaking their heads when talking about what’s coming up, namely our 40-year reunion.

“When we were 18, we thought 40 was so old,” Pete said. “Now we’re 40 years past 18. Where does the time go?”

Indeed. The other night, I finally sat down with the old yearbook. First, I read what my classmates and other friends at NHS had written to me in the front covers, the back covers and other available spaces. A few entries made me laugh, some made me tear up.

“Always remember that student teacher who …” Nope. Don’t remember him.

“Never forget that night at the Villa. You know the night I mean …” Oops. I forgot.

When the excitement of high school graduation was over, my mom, bless her heart, told me to put the last names next to the entries from my friends. At the time, I thought she was daft. Like I’d forget? Well, mom, as always, was right. Quite a few first names I would have instantaneously been able to match to a last name, there were a few that might have had me scratching my head.

Just how many Debbies were there at NHS in the mid-1970s, anyway?

As I re-read the yearbook, I was a bit shocked at how very young we all were, really. Oh dear classmates: We were so excited to be graduating and be “grownups” at last. It’s not until the world beats you up a bit that you realize being a grownup isn’t always something to wish for as you deal with sorrow, sadness and all sorts of pain.

Some classmates haven’t attended a reunion yet. And I get it: for many people, high school is a time they would much rather forget. But each time a reunion is planned, I carry the hope that some of those beautiful faces suddenly appear at our gathering. Of course, they might not appear exactly how they did in 1976. But they will always be beautiful to me.

The people you graduated with share memories that no one else in the world could understand. A certain word, a particular photo, the right song can bring a moment rushing back.

As best I know, we’ve lost five members of the NHS Class of 1976. Moose, Kena, Susie, and Buster have all been gone for years, but sweet Collette passed away just two years ago.

That makes me hope even more fervently that some long missing classmates make it back to Negaunee for the 40th.

As our class song says, “We may never pass this way again.” Classmates, please come home.

Editor’s note: Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.