Adventures in Retirement: Class reunions can change your perspective

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on October 01, 2019 with No Comments

I recently attended my high school graduating class’s 60th reunion. I have attended most of the reunions we have had in the past and even ran some of them.  However, this one was different.  We have lost nearly half of our class, and that suggested that this might be the last time we would get together with our classmates and friends. Also, since the class is smaller, we might not be able to get enough interest for another reunion.

For me, however, I began to see my classmates in a whole new light. We went to East Chicago Washington High School in a community where most parents were blue-collar workers and our community had many cultures, nationalities, races, religions and backgrounds.  Since I had no experience in any other community, I thought this was normal.  As a result, my classmates and I (with very few exceptions) treated everyone the same. We recognized and appreciated our differences, that is, each person’s our own traditions, foods, and ways of worshipping.

As a result of these experiences, my contacts with people who were different than I were normal to me and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. Prejudices meant nothing to me.

The reunion was a gloriously happy meeting of friends and fellow classmates, and a great time was had by all.  However, some time during the festivities I realized that my experience growing up with these people affected me differently than high school experiences might affect others.  I was a different person than I might have been growing up in another, different community.  My entire life was improved by my high school experience.

Through my working life and leisure experiences I often had contact with people from all over the world, and yet I always enjoyed them.  My classmates and I viewed this situation and recognized how lucky we were to live in a culturally diverse community. Surprisingly, it took me 60 years to see how fortunate I was.

As you grow and mature, attend your class reunions.  You may have a similar experience recognizing how these people you grew up with possibly made you a better person.

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About Bill Leavitt

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit for more information.

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