Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Class of 2009

Well, here I am at my Mom’s in Pennsylvania. I arrived this afternoon to attend tonight’s Downingtown High School’s class of 2009. Each year the graduating class invites the class celebrating their 50th anniversary as guests to their graduation. I am a member of the DHS Class of 1959 of fifty long years ago. It is a cliche but it hardly seems like fifty years. I know that all of the members of tonight’s graduating class don’t realize how fast the next fifty years will fly by. They will find out, oh will they ever.

I wasn’t sure how to dress for tonight’s occasion. So I wore tan Docker pants and a yellow Eddie Bauer shirt. I considered a suit but thought that would be too much clothing on a summer night. Oh was I ever wrong. First of all, tonight was overcast (thank goodness it didn’t rain because we were sitting outside in a football stadium) and chilly. The temperature hovered around 58 degrees. Five members of my class also attended tonight’s ceremonies and were dressed in suits. I told them I was retired and I don’t wear suits or ties anymore. Still, I felt underdressed. Which is a shame because people do judge and react to you on appearance and I do look so good in a suit and a tie.

I took many pictures and a few videos of the occasion which I will post on future blogs, Facebook and You Tube. I can’t post one of my original pictures on this blob posting because I’m at my Mom’s computer and she doesn’t have my camera’s software for downloading my pictures.

As members of the 50th anniversary class we wore ribboned sashes. Yes, I have a picture of two of me in a sash. That is one thing I never had draped over me before, a beauty queen type sash. There is always time for a first, even at this late stage of my life.

I must say that we were treated very kindly and with respect for the organizers of the event, especially the superintendent of schools. She corrected the program that had my name as "Walter Tipton" (where did they get that?) instead of my name "Ronald Walter Tipton." She wanted to correct my name because she would be announcing it at the ceremony which she did. I was very proud to stand up when she called my name (along with the other members of our small contingent of the DHS Class of 1959.) I thought we might be shunted aside like some old relic but they actually did treat us with some deference. They even supplied us with a bus from the cafeteria where the reception was to the football field, the site of the graduation ceremonies. We really didn’t need a bus. It was only a little over a block away. But, it was a nice gesture.

Tonight’s graduation ceremony was for Downingtown West Campus. I was also invited to the graduation ceremony for the Downingtown East Campus (held tomorrow night at the same location) but I think I’ll pass on that one. While tonight’s ceremony was fun and interesting, once is enough. I have no desire to sit through another two hours valedictorian speeches and of award and diploma presentations.

After the graduation diplomas were all handed out and the mortar board caps were tossed in the air with a mighty cheer, we 50th anniversary Old Folk exited the field first through an honor guard of students of this year’s graduating class. Passing all those young faces that bore nary a wrinkle I couldn’t help myself when I said to one astonished redheaded young man "See you in fifty years!" Upon hearing that his face broke into the broadest smile I’ve ever seen. Oh young man if you only knew what you’re in for. He doesn’t know that the next fifty years will go by so much faster than the last twelve. But he will find out then he will be standing in the spot I stood in tonight. Perhaps he will remember me and then understand what I meant when I said "See you in fifty years!"

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