Alumna amnesia: diplomas in the Dark Ages | PostIndependent.com
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Alumna amnesia: diplomas in the Dark Ages

The announcement arrived in a heavy linen, cream-colored envelope with a matching invitation.”Oh, for the love of Pete, who’s getting married NOW?” I said to husband-head as I brought the mail in. “At our age, it’s probably a second or third marriage. A fancy invite is a little much, don’t you think?”Husband-head wasn’t too interested in a wedding invitation. But then, he wasn’t even that interested in our own wedding, either …”I guess it’s better than the alternative,” he shrugged. “It seems we go to more funerals than weddings nowadays.”But it wasn’t a wedding invitation at all.”It’s a graduation party,” I said as I read it. “Someone’s graduating from high school.””Now THAT is a little strange for someone our age,” husband-head pointed out. “Who is it?”It turned out to be the son of a couple we know.”Do you think the party is really for him or for the parents?” I asked husband-head. “Who do we give the gift to?”Husband-head thought about it for a moment.”Well, technically, we should probably give a gift to the graduate,” he said in a rational tone of voice. “But I’ll bet the parents are pretty excited, too. So let’s give them a flashlight.”Ummm … a flashlight?”Yes,” husband-head reasoned. “It represents the light at the end of the tunnel. It signifies that some day the graduate may actually leave the house, stop borrowing money and pay for their own car insurance.”I tried to think back to my own high school graduation.”Wow, it was so long ago, I can’t even remember it,” I said in awe to husband-head. “And, come to think of it, I have no clue as to where my high school diploma is.””That’s because diplomas were probably chiseled in stone in those days and it’s now hanging in a natural history museum somewhere,” husband-head suggested.Shut up.”Either that, or you just didn’t go to the ceremony, seeing as you didn’t attend classes,” he said simply. “Or … maybe you didn’t even graduate at all …”He laughed and slapped his leg, for some reason thinking the whole idea was a hoot. But the doubt led me to call my girlfriend in California, who had been my best buddy in high school.”We graduated, didn’t we?” I insisted hopefully.”Yeah, by the skin of our teeth,” she said, laughing. “The week before graduation I had to shoot basketball hoops for five hours to make up credits and you had to do time in an ‘English As A Second Language’ class with a bunch of Vietnamese kids.”Not exactly something I wanted to remember.”And did we have a graduation party?” I pressed.”Yes and you decided it was high time that you told everyone in our class EXACTLY what you thought of them all during the past four years,” she sighed. “We ended up throwing a pillow case over your head and putting you in the trunk of the car to get you to shut your trap …”When we hung up, I decided not to relay that particular story to husband-head.”So, what did you do for your graduation party?” I asked him curiously.”Well, I remember we tossed up our caps right after it was over and one came down and bonked some chick right on the nose and she started to cry,”husband-head recalled with a laugh. “Then we went out to my buddy’s Chevy Camaro and blasted Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ on his stereo.”The only thing I remembered after graduating is that my parents gave me the ultimatum of either going to college or getting a job.I also remember that I didn’t like either of the alternatives. But I ended up doing both.And after moving in and out of my parent’s home for the next several years, I don’t think they actually breathed a sigh of relief that I was really gone until I got married 15 years later.”I’m going to give him a copy of that movie, ‘The Graduate,'” I decided as I filled out the RSVP for the party and hummed the old Simon and Garfunkel tune from the soundtrack.”And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson … Jesus loves you more than you will know …”Husband-head looked horrified.”Uh … honey … that movie was from 1967 – he won’t know it,” husband-head warned.Sure he will.If he visits the natural history museum where my diploma is hanging.


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