By Art Gallagher
The Bergenfield High School Class of ’76 had its 35th year reunion this past weekend. Thanks to facebook I’ve reconnected with many friends from my youth and attended my first reunion since graduation.
I suppose the good news is that I wasn’t the heaviest or the grayest member of my class in attendence. It was fun catching up with and remembering so many old friends. It felt odd pretending to remember others.
There were two people I got reacquainted with at the reunion that reminded me of how much the world has changed in 35 years.
I don’t remember who was designated “most likely to succeed” in my high school year book. The guy who succeeded is Glenn. He retired a year ago from the Bergenfield Police Department. His take home pay from his pension is $20 per month less than it was when he was working, so he says. He’s now a full time dad to his 10 year old son.
Bob probably should have been voted most likely to succeed back in 1976. I knew from facebook that Bob became a medical doctor, which impressed me. Seeing Bob on Saturday night for the first time in 35 years I congratulated him on his success. “You’re a doctor!” I said. “I have a family practice,” Bob said, without an ounce of pride or joy.
Family practitioners are small business owners. Bob and I had more in common than I realized. Life was sweet for us five years ago. Our educations and hard work were paying off and the future looked bright and comfortable. Now we are both facing a great deal of uncertainty and second guessing the choices we made decades ago. We’re getting squeezed by institutions we can’t afford to fight and by circumstances beyond our control.
The choices Glenn made look pretty good in hindsight.