I see City Limitless – Decatur and Macon County as an exciting partnership of nostalgia and forthcoming adventure. This is the same balance that inspires MacArthur’s Class of 1979 to stay connected. As with most classes, we’ve gathered for 10th, 20th, 30th reunions. As with most classes, our members are here, there and everywhere. At number 35 we started over, at 1. In October, 2014 we somewhat spontaneously held our 1st Annual Class of ’79 Bonfire. It was so much fun that our 2nd Annual Class Bonfire is this weekend, Nov. 7, 2015. During the year between gatherings, quintessential West End bar Lock Stock & Barrel played informal host to a few more casual dates, inviting friends from classes near ours.
Say what you will about Facebook, it has probably been the most widely used tool for rekindling friendships. Despite our differences in locale, vocation, and past “cliques”, there seems to be a mutual desire for this connection. We became friends again over memories of Saturday’s spent downtown, neighborhood kickball games, and hanging out at the park.
Potentially more appealing than reliving glory days is the tangible encouragement we provide each other today. Our loftier purpose is to develop a support system: to communicate that, as a member of MacArthur High School class of 1979, living in Decatur or elsewhere, you have an outlet for sharing joys, concerns, jokes, announcements, and more.
Was high school perfect? Were we deliriously happy those many years ago? Of course not. We were teenagers. The mishmash of emotions and experience that comes with it interwoven with individual struggles. Through it all we acquired resilience, perseverance and pride. The “Decatur” stamp of courage. The late 70’s and early 80’s were years of great change for Decatur. Industry was suffering, unemployment increasing, and inflation soaring. I have to admit, I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave town. I was a young woman at the height of the woman’s movement. I was going to be…. famous, whatever that meant.
And life happened; the good, the bad and the ugly. To be honest, for a good number of years, I lost touch with most of my high school friends, with the exception of the occasional reunion. Our class joined as assortment of professions and gained designations we had no idea even existed as high school students. There are writers, preachers, teachers, contractors, nurses, business owners, lawyers; the list goes on. We are parents, grandparents, partners, single, married, widowed.
Some of us are adventure seekers. Classmate Dan McMinn recently fulfilled a lifelong dream, climbing Mt. Everest. He began in Kathmandu, and reached the summit Imja Tse, also known as Island Peak. Currently residing in the Pacific Northwest, Dan chose to share this remarkable journey with his old friends, who anxiously followed from every state in the union.
With a little bit of effort on all of our parts, we are starting over with a fresh sense of purpose. No hidden agendas; friendship, support and natural linking of past with present. And even better… the future. Although we have a good size group, we hope to connect more broadly with those who aren’t on Facebook. Fortunately, we’ve pulled in the classes before and after us, and hope they know they are welcome to join this wagon train of silver and blue, flags forever waving. I’d like to say there is a more substantial and formal organization, but for now, this is our grassroots tool. Life is too short to wait for a sub-committee to convene. Jump right in!
Victory MacArthur, brave against the foe. Wear your colors proudly team, we will win we know! Blest be the tie that binds, our hearts in friendship, the fellowship of kindred minds, despite the miles and years that separate.
– Dana Sharp, MacArthur High School Class of ’79 & City Limitless Ambassador