I got invited to my 40th high school class reunion this summer. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a mistake because it sure didn’t feel like 40 years had passed. It sounded like something my parents or older friends would be going to. When I did the math, it came out to 40 years but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
As I thought about it, I reflected back on what has changed since those days. For me personally, a lot has changed. Since I graduated from high school, I
- Got a college degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
- Got married (once) and found my life partner. Have been together for 35 years and counting.
- Have two sons, who are great guys.
- Lost my older sister, Ann, who passed away.
- Owned about 17 cars.
- Owned two houses and one condo – now living in one I built in central Mass.
- Turned a 3 acre overgrown corn field into a beautiful homestead.
- Worked 31 years for the same company – held 16 various positions, started as a computer programmer and ended as VP and officer for a fortune 500 company. I worked with hundreds and hundreds of people and got to travel all over the country.
- Learned all about computers and technology with my job; installed everything from the earliest PC’s, minicomputers, phone switches, networks, routers, modems, to the largest mainframe computers.
- Became a licensed life insurance agent and was registered with NASD to sell securities; learned all about investments to help manage my own portfolio.
- Was the Finance Director for my town for 8 years; learned all about municipal finance and budgeting.
- Co-chaired a fund raising committee for our town library to support a $1M addition – raised $400K.
- Retired at age 54 after working every year since I was a sophomore in high school – first job: rock picker in a potato field, last job VP Technology Operations.
- Climbed all the 4000 ft. mountains in Maine – best / favorite hike: the Bigelow Range.
- Biked over lots of this country (Iowa, Montana, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Maine, Mass, NH, Vermont, Utah) wore out a lot of chains and tires averaging 3,000 mils/year. Owned 5 bikes at one point. Best trip – riding thru Glacier National Park with my son Liam.
- Started furniture making as a hobby; Made lots of pieces for our home and for family and friends
- Learned to ballroom dance (forced to by my wife); now you can’t keep me off the dance floor; favorite dances: swing and zydeco
- Learned to ride a motorcycle at age 54; now own a cruiser and like to explore the back roads of New England.
- Learned to play the mandolin at age 46 and developed a love for bluegrass music.
- Weighed about 160 lbs. when I graduated and had a 32 inch waist. At one point weighed 235 lbs. Now weigh 180 lbs. and have a 36 in waist
- Had brown hair; now have less and mostly gray, a much larger forehead, and a gray beard.
When I was in high school, things were different than they are now. Every generation has a different point in time perspective on how things have changed. For me some the differences are the following;
- There were only rotary phones and usually only one in the house
- There was one TV in the house with no remote and no cable
- We bought and listened to our music on vinyl 33 rpm or 45 rpm discs – there was no iTunes, Pandora, or Spotify
- We ate meals as a family at a table, not in front of the TV. There were no microwaves
- There were no computers, internet, email, cell/smart phones, gaming consoles, cable TV, or digital cameras
- Credit cards were rare – we paid for things with cash or with checks
- We rode bikes to get to our friend’s houses
- A first class postage stamp cost 8 cents, there was no FedEx of UPS
- Gas was 36 cents/gallon and there were gas station attendants to pump your gas
- Major beer brands: Bud, Schlitz, Pabst, Miller, Narragansett, Carlings Black Label
- There was still a draft
- We played outside a lot; favorite pastimes were playing basketball and going to the beach
- We went to MacDonald’s maybe twice a year as a treat; eating out was rare
- Shopping Malls just started to be developed
So, I guess a lot has transpired since I went to high school. I sure wouldn’t want to go back. I’d take back a couple of years it I could, but my take on the past 40 years in mostly very positive. And I can only image what this list will look like in 40 more years.