AT THE start of the year, the Messenger group chat dedicated to our high school batch suddenly sprung to life.
After more than a year of what seemed like a lethargic presence on Messenger and being sniped with only a few updates, prayer calls, and ocassional actual chitchat, its lights were turned on like Christmas lights, with Jose Marie Chan singing “Whenever…”
This time, “new” members finally began to check in, one at a time, as though they were spies coming in, out from the cold.
Though that in itself might be pleasing to hear, what we are, are really old members, with much weaker knees now so to speak, just getting together and revving up for a planned 50th-year class reunion.
In this time of Covid though, the spoiler alert on the horizon threatens that this might just be like one of those zoom affairs common in our quarantine norm.
Now, it’s more than double everything, with updates galore, personal and otherwise, coming in from London to California, Davao to Manila and finally out elsewhere. Sometimes, one-on-one convos (inside a chat room imagine) dominate the room, to be then punctuated by inserts of prayer memes, jokes and even Trump and anti-Trump news (wouldyabelieve).
However, gross and dark as it may seem for many, what is usually one of the first things that golden “jubilarians” ask each other when they gather for the first time? They ask, who among us is dead already.
Years ago, this was pointed out to me by a former classmate (now a doctor) when I happened to meet him at a clinic.
He pointed out how sad and funny it was, that the usual batch banter had once been filled with lively updates about adventures, hobbies and family.
Nowadays, he continued, it had slowly been downgraded to one grim question: who died. Sadder still, the more recent the occurrence, the more shock-value. (Imagine a long haired hermit with a placard that says, The end is near!
True enough, that had been among the first queries during the recent group chat, and to go further, a list of the fallen had to be made for everyone’s info.
Despite all of the above though, the fact remains that these are but a drop in the bucket of things. After all, who would dare rein in a bunch of old men into keeping up with an assigned topic if they, for the time being, wanted to blabber like children? They are going to settle down after a while, and it’s not going to be nappy time, promise.
Come December, we all have to come up with an output that will celebrate the gold ingot of our being high school brats fifty years ago.
Thus, the chat room, while still undergoing the opening quirks of a newly-discovered venue for meeting old classmates, will eventually quiet down and go back to its intended purpose: as a planning area for what’s to follow. Surely, the overall significance of a 50-year reunion cannot be lost on everyone as comes only once in a lifetime.
Presently, it hasn’t come to that yet. Organizers are still trying to contact the lost sheep out there somewhere in the covid countryside.
However, with each newcomer herded in to enlist, his tales from far and wide are always a delight for all in the chat room. No wonder it’s difficult to hone in on what’s the plan for December when the present is already such a gift.
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