As our older alumni "age out" of being able to attend our luncheons and as growing numbers of them pass on, it is becoming obvious to our committee members that there will be a time when our group will diminish to the point of being unable to continue. While we don't anticipate that happening in the immediate future, it is something for all of us to think about. That is why we encourage all who can to attend our luncheons and various McKinley events. Where we used to mail out over 900 newsletters every other month, that number has shrunk by about 200. And the majority of those 200 are not with us any more. So, think about joining us for lunch... and remember that your first luncheon meal is free! We will be glad to see you!
Ed Bronczyk, Frank Hauff and Charles Guerrero
ANNUAL FALL McKINLEY DINNER/DANCE
The Fall McKinley Goldbug Dinner/Dance will be on Friday night, September 14, 2018. It will be at the same place as the last few dances: Andre's Banquet Center on Telegraph Road. The cost of the dinner and dance and drinks is $30 per person. All money for the dinner/dance should be sent to Marilyn Hellwig, 3208 Country Hollow Drive, St. Louis, MO 63129. Make your check payable to McKinley Alumni Committee. Mr. Steve Warmack, the McKinley Principal, has offered to have McKinley open on the Saturday after the dance, September 15, for those who may be interested in touring the school and seeing all the improvements. When making your reservations for the dance, please indicate it you are interested in touring the school the day after the dance.
The classes of 1968 will be celebrating their 50th Reunion at the dance. When sending in reservations, please be sure to indicate that you are from one of the 1968 classes so we can determine how much space to reserve for your group. If you have questions about the reunion, contact Ned Mahon at (636)386-5813.
If you are not planning to attend the dance, but would like to tour McKinley the day after the dance, please send a note to Marilyn Hellwig or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to have an idea of how many people are interested in visiting the school so Mr. Warmack can be prepared.
Tom Kiske from the class of 1961 sent us this thoughtful article about "The Sevens." We really enjoyed it and we hope you do too.
"You get old and you realize there are no more answers, just stories." Garrison Keillor
My classmates and I are in our 70's. We've earned our "7" buttons.
Such a great gulf separates 70 from 17. Literally a lifetime. In so many ways we are no longer who we once were. Why then do we so often find ourselves looking back on our days at McKinley? Why do we read the newsletter? Why do we visit the website, attend luncheons and reunions?
To some extent, of course, just because it's fun. Our memories are mostly fond ones. Lasting friendships were formed, adventures were undertaken, lessons learned, challenges met, laughter shared. Maybe we reminisce too as a form of escape. Aging can be a sobering experience, robbing us of energy, appearance and capability, inflicting aches, physical and emotional. No wonder we want to return to a time in Tennyson's words: "we were that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven."
But if that's all our visits back to Goldbug days are, they'd be no more than the mental equivalent of an old movie or TV show playing on the screen of our minds. American Griffitti, perhaps or The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Entertaining, nostalgic, but devoid of deeper import.
I believe something far more important is going on when we reflect on Fast Times at McKinley High. Something that goes to the heart of what it means to be human. Socrates once proclaimed the unexamined life is not worth living and it may be that as we sift through our memories and re-tell the stories of our youth, as we share again our sometimes silly, sometimes sad adolescent episodes, as we examine them from an adult perspective, we transform a disjointed, disconnected jumble of individual days and deeds into a more cohesive sense of who we are and how we fit into the universe.
Thomas Moore says youthful experiences don't just come and go; they happen and then stay with us, continuing to "play out as important themes in our very identity." When we left McKinley to continue our education or launch careers and families, our lives became busy and hectic. We were focused on the future and had little time to think of the past. Now as elders though, it seems our minds naturally turn back to when we were kids. As we call up events from earlier days, turn them over in our minds and discuss them with classmates, it's like we're drawing stones from the stream of time and polishing them smooth in our hands. As they become gem-like, sometimes we see facets we missed before in our impatient rush toward tomorrow.
There's an inescapable irony in the fact that now, when our supply of tomorrows is limited, we find we still have much to learn from our yesterdays. We 7's may be less active, but maybe we're more contemplative. We are growing not just older, but deeper as well, so that as we mentally walk McKinley halls again, patterns begin to emerge and we come to understand how the contours of the human spirit were molded by those long ago events, friendships and feelings.
It doesn't always happen. It doesn't happen for all of us, and when it does, it's seldom an instantaneous flash of insight. It's not an "Aha!" moment. Instead, it's a slow shifting of perspective. Perhaps Matthew Arnold said it best:
"(You) see the world from a height, with prophetic eyes and a heart profoundly stirred, and face the fullness of the past."
It's a gradual dawning, a slowly emerging awareness of the shape and texture and hue of an entire lifetime - a still, small point of speechless wonder at the immense, evolving universe in which each of us occupies a pivotal place and plays an indispensable role.
And so with the newsletter, the website, the luncheons and reunions, you may find you're not so different after all from that 17 year old you once were. To age, after all, doesn't mean you lose all the other ages you used to be. And when you find that unaltered center, that calm and changeless core within, it could be that you've caught a glimpse of the warm, glowing perimeter of the human soul.
And I wonder, in our moments of silent reflection, with the smiles our memories bring, are we in some subtle way preparing for graduation? But hey, at least in my mind that won't be a sad or somber occasion. We'll be with our friends and maybe this time instead of trudging down the aisle to that stodgy old "Pomp & Circumstance" dirge, we'll be grooving to the Diamonds and stroh-oh-oh-lin' across the floor. Remember? "Feels so good, take me by my hand" . . .
The next McKinley Goldbug luncheon will be Wednesday, June 20th, 2018. It is necessary to make a reservation to attend the great gathering of Goldbugs.
To learn more about our Luncheons, including directions to the Royale Orleans Banquet Center, please click "Luncheons" on our menu above. To print the required reservation form, please click on the photo to the right.