The summer of 1979 is particularly memorable for me for some reason. That may be attributed to the fact that it was the first summer break that I had my own car to drive! I went worked hard that summer at the SPD Car Wash situated on a corner of South University in Lubbock near the South Loop. When 6:00 p.m. rolled around each evening, I always had plans with my friends.
There were short overnight camping trips, golf games, and barbeques. But mainly there was a lot of mischief. I really should not repeat where we went and what we did while we were there! There are some things that need to remain in the annals of the past. I am fairly certain the Statute of Limitations has run out on all of our infractions.
Paula was an important part of our group in those days. Her dad was a professor at Texas Tech at the time and her mother sold real estate. Paula was a blast to things with! We fed off each other’s inclination to find trouble, and so consequently Paula would find herself periodically “grounded” from her gold, 1977 Toyota Corolla. But for some odd reason her mother would always let her go out and about with me. What possessed her to temporarily abandon basic parental responsibility by doing that remains a mystery to this day?
Paula went on to get her degree in Elementary Education. She has taught in a public school system in the same community for 21 years now. In about 2 weeks, she will complete her coursework for a graduate level degree in her field. She is an amazing educator. Paula is one of those rare teachers who are truly gifted in dealing with troubled, lost puppy students. For years she has taken in kids that cause other teachers to cringe. And she is good at it…
Paula called me a couple of days ago. The purpose of her call was not social in nature this time. Her mother is very ill. At the present time, her mother is in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital in their community. Unfortunately her prognosis is not good. Paula and I had a conversation that all adult children dread. We reminisced this time, but it was particularly focused this go around. We talked about her mother. I told her how much I loved her mother and valued the contribution she made to the growth of all of us.
I began the trip to Lubbock for my 30 year high school reunion by stopping at the hospital to visit Paula and her mother. It was poignant. And it was an important aspect of a trip that is focused on reuniting. I would not trade that time for anything.
Why reunite? Why bother? Most of us have a significant array for great friendships that revolve around work, church, kids’ activities and extended family. Why should my classmates turn the clock back to 1980? Reason #1 for today is: Several of our friends are caring for aging parents. Some of our friends are facing the reality of serious illness with their parents. In many case, those parents were surrogate moms and dads for us. Paula’s mom was good to me. She loved a fatherless kid who needed adult role models in his life. I have not forgotten that. Today I am grateful for reuniting, because of “Reason #1. After leaving the hospital yesterday, my mind quickly traveled back to 1979. It was indeed particularly memorable for some reason.