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Bianchi — Fifty years seems to fly by awfully fast

Fifty years should seem like a long time, but why doesn’t it to me?

A lot of water has certainly run under the bridge since 42 students, including myself, graduated.

This past summer we gathered to celebrate our graduation. The event took place at St. Mary’s High School, a parochial school that is still very much alive today in the little town of Sleepy Eye. It is where, if my memory serves me right, we began our freshman grade with 50 members.

I can distinctly remember our pastor, as he gave his words of greeting, "It isn’t everyday when a grade has 25 boys and 25 girls."

The number, however, was short-lived. Since it was mandatory for everyone to attend school until age 16 or finish one year of high school, many did exactly that. Some dropped out after the ninth grade to pursue their first love, farming. This worked back then.

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Today is another story. I’m not so sure it would be a good idea. Agriculture has become a much most complex vocation.

Walking down that aisle in cap and gown, I doubt any of us as teenagers could even begin to imagine that we would someday celebrate a 50-year class reunion; or live to tell about all the years in-between.

Naturally, not all were present. Some were absent for various reasons, while three had passed away. As for those who were there, it was a grand get-together. An evening of "do you remember when," "how are you doing," and "let’s keep in touch."

If you are someone who has attended class reunions throughout your life, have you ever noticed they are the one thing that tends to get better with age? With each passing one, people get friendlier and friendlier.

No longer does it matter which side of the railroad track you grew up on or if you lived in the city or on the farm. If you were a team captain, a member of the royalty, an editor on the school paper staff, a jock or a cool kid.

It doesn’t matter if you were tall or short, fat or skinny, had a bad complexion, stuttered or wore braces. It doesn’t even matter if you played in the band, sang like a bird in chorus, or were the class valedictorian. It just doesn’t matter any more.

What does matter is that you are now one of the lucky ones who is still is alive, enjoy fairly good health, maybe survived a heart attack or stroke or accident.

In all probability you have had to suffer the loss of a loved one, be it a parent or sibling; or even your child or spouse. You have learned a valuable lesson that wasn’t taught in school, that every day is a gift.

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You have come to appreciate life and learned to enjoy the simple things. Things that you never noticed because you were so busy making a living you almost forgot how to make a life.

You now take notice of every beautiful sunset, and before this you never knew a child could be so entertaining. Your grandchildren probably get almost more attention from you than your own children did. Today, there seems to be more hours in each day.

Let’s just say, you are grateful to be above the grass than under it. Yet as one fellow classmate, who always did see the bright side of things stated, "Yeah, well, but if I’m under the grass at least I won’t have to mow it!"

There’s always a smart aleck in the bunch! But then, that doesn’t matter, either, anymore!

Marianne Bianchi is a retired farm wife who lives in New Ulm, MN.

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