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Do we really want to pass this way again?

Tamie Meck

There’s a theory, called the seven degrees of separation, that’s based on the supposition that each one of us is but seven people or less away from knowing anyone in the United States. I’m putting that theory to the test.

Two sisters went to school in Aspen in the late 1960s. Their names were Patty and Karen Schneider. Today, Patty would be about 43 and Karen about 45. When they moved to El Jebel in about 1970 I lost touch with them. I was good friends with both of them during their short stay in Aspen and would like to find out where they are now. Their mother’s name was Anita, and I believe she was an artist and a Holocaust survivor.

I thought about Patty and Karen these past few weeks while reminiscing about my days at Aspen High School. I graduated 25 years ago this week, you see. With that momentous 25th anniversary looming – yes, 25 years of sweet freedom – I’ve been infested with a sentimental bug. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, my maudlin mind has been telling me, to go back and see all of my old classmates and relive some of those wonderful high school memories?

Well, no, not really. First of all, I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. Second, with a few exceptions I’ve kept in touch with most of the people I really cared about in school, the friends who saw me through some tough times, and vice versa, like Teresa, Alison, Rob, and Debbie. Sure, some of them drifted away, but I hear they’re doing fine.

Still, it’s easy to get all mushy over the past and long to talk to old friends. I’m obviously not alone. A visit to the Internet tells me that contacting former classmates is a booming business.

You’ve probably seen the advertisements popping up all over your screen.

“Is Dirk still a jerk?”

“FInd old friends: click here.”

I went into a website called Classmates.com and, this is kind of creepy, the words “Hello Tamie, look who’s waiting to hear from you” popped up on my screen.

I clicked on the little icon and there I was listed among 10 other Aspen High School alumni of 1978.

That’s great, except that I graduated in 1977.

At least they got the quirky spellings of my name right. The site allows me, for just $3 a month, to be contacted by former classmates, or anyone for that matter, via e-mail or the site, and I can contact anyone paying their monthly dues.

It’s kind of a handy thing, since, just before our 20th class reunion, I found out I was on the MIA list. In this case, the reunion planners could have also picked up a local phone book.

We had some great (and not so great) people in our 104-member graduating class. They went on to be accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, teachers, architects, athletes and coaches, mechanics, silver miners, and computer geeks. They are inventors and heroes like Neil Beidleman, award-winning filmmakers like Greg Poschman, politicians like Larry Beer, and professional musicians like Lee Satterfield. Many are parents and some are now grandparents. Some were millionaires, some became millionaires, and others are still living as simply as their parents did way back when.

We also have a few alcoholics and drug addicts, and at least one convicted murderer. I know of only two classmates who died.

It’s fun to comb back through the old Silver Queen yearbooks and see everyone in their bell bottoms, bushy sideburns and shag haircuts. If you’ve seen the Fox series, “That ’70s Show,” you’ve seen us.

Our class motto was “We may never pass this way again,” after the popular Loggins and Messina song of the 1970s.

Like Kathleen Turner in the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married,” I wouldn’t mind passing that way again. It’s that “if I knew then what I know now” syndrome. I’d be different, I would get consistently good grades and graduate with honors. I would eat healthy foods so that I wouldn’t gain weight, and I’d be the basketball and track star I should have been. I’d have the confidence to pursue my dreams instead of thinking that accomplishing dreams was for “other people.”

I’d pay more attention to my teachers, study more history, and finish that glass-top cherry table I started in woods. I’d prove to Mrs. Smith that I have artistic abilities somewhere inside me. I’d keep in touch with Patty and Karen Schneider.

I’d gladly suffer the heartaches, the humiliation of not having a date to the prom, or any high school dance for that matter, I’d do my homework again and sit through boring classroom lectures again, only I’d be better at it. I wouldn’t wreck my car at 17. I’d never smoke or do drugs. I’d make a real difference.

But I’d only do it under one condition: I’d have to end up here in this town, with my friends and coworkers and, above all, my family.

How does that Loggins and Messina song go? “I may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.”

Tamie Meck is a Post Independent staff writer. Her column runs on Tuesdays.


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