Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

20 Years Later; a Little Bigger, Grayer, Wiser

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

20 Years Later; a Little Bigger, Grayer, Wiser

Article excerpt

MY 20-YEAR high school class reunion begins today.

It's too late for me to lose weight; even starvation won't help me hide my non-beer belly now.

There's nothing I can do about my much-too-rapidly graying hair. Oh, I've got it. It's hard to see the gray in the drawing of me that runs with this column. That's one of the joys of black-and-white.

But, unfortunately, I'll be in living color at my reunion. And too many people know that I have salt-and-pepper hair for Grecian Formula to be anything but obvious.

Today we'll tour our alma mater, Beaumont High School, and then tonight we'll attend a reception where my classmates will learn that I'm double the man I was in high school - at least weight-wise. More activities will follow this weekend.

I was idealistic in high school. I was in student government, and I guess that's what led me to write in the school paper 20 years ago that I expected to become the first black president of the United States.

I think it's pretty safe for me to tell my wife she won't have to worry about picking out that White House china at any time soon. Likewise, I didn't become the lawyer that I was so sure that I'd be by now.

I'll have to avoid the Keeping-Up-With-The-Joneses Syndrome as I go to this reunion. That will be hard. Some classmates have done really well, with huge, modern homes in suburbia, complete with picket fence and every modern convenience that's ever appeared on the shelves of Builder's Square. I, on the other hand, have a house in the city, built in 1917, that is in desperate need of a new coat of paint. I was thrilled when we installed a garbage disposal.

The guest speaker at our dinner Saturday is a classmate who's risen to senior vice president and chief executive officer of a major corporation here. I, on the other hand, am a mere scribe who puts words together on a regular basis.

My wife has refused - rightly, I guess - to come with me to this reunion. She didn't go to the same high school as I. As my former classmates and I sat around talking about how Mr. Miller used to clear the hallways and how members of the senior council spent weeks making flowers for a car in the homecoming parade, my wife's eyes surely would take on a thick glaze as her mind wandered to more interesting things, like polishing the furniture. …

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