One week ago, I drove back to Wisconsin to attend my high school reunion. It has been 50 years since I graduated, and 50 years since I’ve seen any of my friends from high school. Many didn’t come back for the reunion, and I wished they would have. Like I said, it has been 50 years, and I don’t know if we’d ever have this opportunity to see each other again.
Yet for those of us who attended, it was a nice, relaxing time. Bittersweet, really.
Funny thing about memories and the pictures in one’s head from 50 years ago. I honestly didn’t recognize many. I had to read their nametags. Played football with several. Herb and I shared the backfield together. Ran track together. Herb had this carefree, daring persona about him all the way through high school. One of the toughest guys I remember.
One of the memories shared- that I had forgotten about was how Herb would scale the gym walls and beams. I know he wouldn’t, couldn’t do that now. Another story was that somehow, Herb had gotten onto the roof of the church and, with help from the building across the road, hung up a banner for our graduation. Don’t know how I forgot that.
Dang, we’re old. Some of us have hair, some not. Some in really good shape, some not.
Some of my classmates had their share of illness. Some still battling, and in at least one case, it doesn’t look like he might win the battle. He shared with me he knows, and as he shared that with me, his wife nodded. Sad. It left me to wonder how many others are winning, or losing their battles.
On a tour we took of our school (it was a co-ed boarding school that was once a seminary), we stopped at the cemetery on the campus. Some of the buried were my teachers- priests, brothers, nuns. All were members of the Salvatorian Order and Society. Some so old, their names are almost smoothed off the grave marker. Others, recent. The dirt on their grave still visible, even with grass grown over it.
football field- the bowl, as we called it, now filled with water for a pool. Several
buildings were gone. Burned to the ground or removed. Others boarded up with
windows broken, doors locked or chained shut because of old age and disrepair.
Would have loved to have gone in those buildings just to see, to remember, to
revisit. Freshen the memories, if that was possible.
looking at and visiting with my classmates and schoolmates, I was surprised at
the paths some of them took. Dan was my guitarist throughout our four years.
Man, he could play. Finger picked most everything. He could read sheet music or
play by ear. I figured he was LA or Nashville bound. Nope. He got into finance
and accounting. Would never have guessed. Pete, two classes older than mine, is
a municipal judge. Joe, two or three classes younger than me, is retired and
had worked in a paper mill. Pete, retired, worked in hospital administration
after a stint in Vietnam and the Navy. Josh, one of the smartest guys in my
class, a postal worker. John, a doctor/professor, still teaching family medicine
for a medical college. Several farmers. Another John works in HR for the UW system.
I was asked if back then, that I would have ever thought I’d have one book published, let alone eight. Nope, not a chance. I had always loved to read. But to write? Hmmm, nope. Honestly, I didn’t even know I’d be in education for 47 years and counting, though now, only part-time. But me a principal? Back then, never would have considered it. Never imagined it.
don’t know many seniors in high school who figured out their life plan and path
as they walked across the stage to pick up their diploma. My wife might have
been an exception. She knew in third or fourth grade she wanted to be a PE
teacher. She still is.
What I didn’t hear, though I imagine there were thoughts bouncing around the recesses of the minds of the attendees, were regrets. I didn’t hear any if-I-could-have-should-have-would-haves. Nor should I have heard any. All of us successful, seemingly happy. As it should be. A life well lived. Some with grandkids, others not. We ran the race and are approaching the finish line. Will receive the wreath of victory one day, hopefully not too soon. Too much to do, things to see, people to love. And hopefully, each of us will finish strong. Some will even have the kick of a sprinter or long-distance runner as we approach the finish line. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Something to think about …
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
If you head over to my author website at www.jrlewisauthor.blog/ you will find the cover and book blurb to my newest book, Fan Mail along with another short story. I should have it up and running either yet today or tomorrow early. The short story is titled The School that is a take on the high school I graduated from. The theme fits our spooky season.
While you wait for Fan Mail to hit March 30, 2023, I hope you take the time to enjoy my other work. The last four books have won thirteen awards, while my Lives Trilogy has won two.
If you have read one of my books, I would like to ask a favor. If you could go online and write a review or, at the least, give a rating on the book, it would be of great help. Both a review and a rating would be wonderful. The review could be one or two lines. It doesn’t have to be long. Just let others know you read it and hopefully, enjoyed it. Obviously, 4s and 5s are the best. Thanks for this consideration.
Connect with me on Social Media:
Author Website: www.jrlewisauthor.blog/
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Amazon at: www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /
Blaze In, Blaze Out: A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Readers’ Favorite Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!
Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. They care nothing of collateral damage. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die. https://amzn.to/34lNllP
Betrayed: Two Top Shelf Awards: 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; and Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!
Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking.
A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old
boy. Greed can be all-consuming, and seeing is not believing. No one can be
trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. So far, he has murdered eight people. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of
heroin and fentanyl. A violent gang, MS-13, controls the drug trade along the
I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes to find out who is cutting
in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an
ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay. Detectives
Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the
drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photo Courtesy of Unknown Classmate.