Twenty-five years in the making. A quarter of a century.
That's how long it has taken the Dunkirk High School Class of 1969 to put on its next full-fledged reunion, the last having taken place in 1989.
Why the two-and-a-half decade drought? Good question - no answers.
But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, our class is now emerging from its Rip Van Winkle slumber with a yeoman's effort by the reunion committee to make up for lost time.
I did not attend our 20th class reunion, something I regret to this day. When I heard what a fabulous affair it turned out to be, well, suffice it to say, I'm still kicking myself.
I won't make that mistake again and I hope that all the local alumni who receive their invitations will think long and hard about attending. It's mind-boggling that for a typical class reunion, some classmates will travel from the other side of the country, sparing no expense to attend, while those who are a stone's throw away make no effort to be there.
High school reunions are a chance to greet old classmates from a new perspective - minus the cliques, snobbery and immaturity that plagued just about all of us during those four years. A rite of passage, if you will.
But that was then and this is now. We are all senior citizens (yikes!) 45 years removed from the high school mindset. All of us have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly life has to offer. So now we come together to celebrate our successes and pat ourselves on the back for weathering the storms.
Although none of us set the world on fire, the DHS Class of '69 boasts a doctor, lawyer, (sorry, no Indian chief), a former mayor of the city of Dunkirk and a major league baseball player, among other notables.
As the class salutatorian, I have been asked to say a few words; however, I haven't been told how many are a "few." I'm still debating whether to shoot for a light and entertaining delivery or something more profound. A combination of the two seems like the best bet.
For those of you who are intimidated at the prospect of being whisked away in a time machine, don't be. If you are self-conscious that your body is not in good shape, not to worry. Neither is anyone else's. If the career you dreamed of didn't materialize, you will find lots of company. If your house, your car or your bank account pales in comparison to others, so what? If you feel like you can't measure up, you can. If you look in the mirror and wonder what others will think, remember, we all got older too.
Generally speaking, people come to reunions to have a good time, reminisce, renew old friendships and celebrate the ups and downs of what many consider the best four years of their lives. The Class of '69 has 25 years of living to catch up on. Our reunion committee is working long and hard to make this event a weekend to remember, as well as a prelude to our 50th. Please don't disappoint them.
Our 45th reunion is a mere three months away. So pick out your finest clothes, wear sensible shoes and get ready to party!
Mary Ann Herrington is an OBSERVER staff writer. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org