Linda Reardon Neal's 60th Reunion Poem

Mira Costa High Reunion
60 from the Class of '60
at the King Harbor Yacht Club
--after Gwendolyn Brooks (We Real Cool) and Terrance Hayes (The Golden Shovel)

by Linda Neal

Walking the dog under a waning moon tonight, I recall our recent class reunion, how we
have "crossed the bay;" how now, without much ocean ahead, we've become real,

literally and figuratively taken off our masks, given up our fronts, given up cool,
nothing to prove; we tell true lives, this night under a waxing moon. Lucky, we say lucky, we

are alive. This morning a young vice principal toured us through the new-old campus we left
six decades ago. New gym, music rooms, wellness hub, same beloved stadium, no old-school

shop classes any more, but our lockers stand still in old locker hall echoes, where we
waited for that certain person to come by, where we fumbled for books, pretending not to lurk,

when our hearts ached more than our knees. But nobody wanted a reprise—the ignominy late
to class. Today, Grunions for lunch and chatting over beers in a COVID-ready parking lot, we

didn't dance, didn't yell and scream and raise a lot of hell; nobody had a pose to strike,
and I confess, too tired to play, I drove myself home to prepare for the night and dove straight

for the sofa, my dog and a blanket to cuddle me up. That evening at King Harbor Yacht Club, we
ate in small groups, listened to Elvis croon in the background. Nobody dancing, nobody sing-

ing, nobody yelling for Ray Charles. but talking of sports' prowess, grade-school crushes, sin
that crept into our lives on Friday nights, mostly in dreams. Under bright lights, we

chose chicken or salmon, ate chocolate chip cookies, no worries about looking good or thin,
living this chapter still curious about the next, mourning losses openly, not drinking gin.

Hardly drinking alcohol at all, we bemoaned the absentees, we the curious ones, we
adult versions of the silly kids we were, living our futures of success and failure and all the jazz

of a life in full, with spouse or spouses—or not, living alone—or not; O how that 1960 June
sent us out, with vague predictions, to swim into ourselves on that ocean of life. We

couldn't know how grey our hair would grow, who our hearts would love, who would die
first, how fast our days would stretch us into a future that would come so soon.

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