Last weekend was my 50th high school reunion. No need to do the math – I was only eight when I graduated. Child prodigy, you know. I went to R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas. Back in those days, Carrollton was a small town and we could catch a Greyhound Bus for a Saturday outing to Big D. Now it's one of Dallas's biggest bedroom communities – and for some reason seems a lot closer. And having been gone from there since 1971, I no longer knew my way around. I stayed with a friend I've had since the eight grade, Elaine Rigs, now Edgington. Elaine was recently released from a long stint in physical rehab and is temporarily assigned to a wheelchair. And as she had to give me directions where ever we went, we delighted in telling people that I was pushing her around and she was telling me where to go. I hope some of them got it. Our hysterical laughter may have given them a clue.
It was great seeing people I hadn't seen in so many years. Like Eddie Russell (alphabetically behind me in line for graduation) who thought I was moving too slowly so picked me up by the elbows and carried me through the ceremony. Or Duffy Oyster who copied every word I wrote in Mr. Hebert's World History class. I was always surpirsed Duffy managed to pass the class. Or Bertha Moses (now Bert), voted most intellegent of our graduating class, who's now a professional poker player. But it was my friend Elaine who was my main event. We may only talk on the phone once or twice a year, but we can always start the conversation where we'd left off the call before.
What really took my breath away last weekend, though, was when Elaine handed me a book. It was an old copy of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith, and inside, on the flyleaf page was written: “Susan Rogers, Room 203, Binnion Hall, East Texas State University.” Elaine had borrowed that book our freshman year in college and decided to give it back fifty years later. I will cherish that book for another fifty years, if I'm able. Or maybe just twenty.