Shedding the years and living for the moment

Posted by Tom Camfield

So sue me. My wandering eye in capturing faces in the crowd fastened, other than on my classmate Laurence, pretty heavily on women during the annual alumni bash the other night. Sounds pretty much like the way things went in high school. Some things never die as the years go by. We age in some ways but not in others. However, we who are here and able to testify to same are the lucky ones.

If the lot of us hormone-driven students had devoted as much attention to our teachers as we did to the opposite sex, we’d all be rocket scientists today. 

People from hither and yon have taken over our local habitat, and the annual reunion of graduates of Port Townsend High School is pretty meaningless to them. But for us PTHS grads, our past is a meaningful torch to be borne forward. I graduated here 71 years ago. My father graduated in 1925 in Salem; my sainted mother was a high school drop-out in Olympia. But some of those attending this year had parents who preceded mine as area “newcomers” in the late ‘20s. I can, however, claim aunts, uncles and cousins and three children who are/were local alums from the ‘30s through the ‘70s.

Only one member of my class was back to join me this year and he’s pictured above. Yes, Laurence is that old despite his youthful look.  The calendar alone can’t send us “shuffling off to Buffalo.” He’s posed here with our shining eternal light of longevity and inspiration, Pat McMenamin Burns  of Nordland, class of 1937—who likewise belies her age in an energetic way. They tell me she still plays golf, among other activities. Laurence and I are just happy to show up these days standing erect. 

I was happy to find I wasn’t the only aging old coot who made his way back with the aid of a cane, to the local Elks facility on June 9 for the annual gathering together of the pieces of our respective souls into that grand spirit of youth based on recollection and sharing. During this traditional assembling once a year, nagging bits of despair are banished into the wilderness—and hope, if not springing eternal, is at least resurrected for a night on the town. 

My wife Jean is a young thing who was valedictorian of the class of ’50 and I sort of play keep-up on a number of fronts these days. I also sucked in my gut while limping around in the alumni crowd, in search of a hug here and there from some of the women of various graduation years.

I particularly was helped along the happiness road when approached by Leader readers from various parts of the country who also read this blog. Those such from furthest away for this year’s celebrious lifting of spirit were from Florida—Linn and Reta Dreger of Daytona Beach. 

For those whom I promised a blog this week on comic strips bearing witness to the times, in particular the Trump administration, I’m sorry to say its posting was held up by this newspaper’s unpredictable automatic censor. It may not see the light of day.

It was a revitalizing time again this year. I’ll try to do more photos at next year’s reunion and I hope we’ll all be back. But, sadly, the torch is passed numerous times every year.—making memories ever more important.

Incidentally, you outlying Leader readers are aways welcome to hit the “comment” button below and post a note to the old home town. Although don’t confuse this blog with Facebook.

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