Recently I attended my 50th high school reunion. We had 180 of us who graduated as the last class from Stowe High School in 1966 (our districts were merged and in 1967 the Sto-Rox district was founded) and for our reunion some 55 classmates gathered together in our home town of McKees Rocks.
Although I stayed in my hometown after graduation and have lived in Stowe Two my entire life, most of our classmates moved on to other communities and/or states. Some I would see from time to time, but most folks I hadn't seen since our 10th reunion in 1976. It was an interesting and fun evening.
It also reminded me of how powerful early and regular experiences imprint on us. As I roamed the banquet hall, spending time with this and that graduate I was beamed back to days in 1960 through 1966 when we were learning about life and how we fit into the greater community. We laughed and told stories, struggled to remember the details, and perhaps stretched the truth a bit when we reminisced. In a way a lifetime had passed, yet it seemed like yesterday we reveled in the innocence of these days gone by.
These folks, representing some of my longest social capital, though we had gone on to our own paths, were bonded in the world of our collective memories. We hugged, laughed and even shed tears for the 48 graduates who were no longer with us. Our personalities and, in a way, our character, was forged in our collective experiences.
After the celebration, we all went on to our present worlds, but this short pause, this opportunity to go back to these days gone by, served us well. It helped me appreciate these long lost aspects of our social capital, and to recognize that the person I am today is vested in the people that I spent so much time with all those many years ago at Stowe High School.