Coming home, even if it’s one’s high school, is no ordinary venture. After 20 of them, I’ve often wondered why I pay huge airfares and rent large cars to show up? Save the hundreds, stay home, eat out for three days and count it good. Would that do it? Hardly. So why do we go?

It must be the people—good people. What would you trade for your friends from Maplewood Academy?

I thought I’d be the only class of ’50 ancient one to trek east to show up. Not so. Jerry Pettis, the Twin Cities’ painter said he’d join me. So did Bob Parry, the Orlando dietician, and so did Julian Denler, Hutchinson tradesman who is famous for his musical saw.

Sabbath morning shone bright, and we four sat near each other so when the roll was called we’d stand tall. We were, after all, the mid­century clan–the oldest class honored. And we four stood a second time. I can see us now, representing all our colleagues, standing at attention when the school’s VP for finance announced the awesome news: Our ’50 endowment, begun 20 years ago for staff enhancement, had just passed $100,000! It was, I must admit, an electric moment of honest pride.

Where have all our colleagues gone? Out of 50 grads in 1950, about half have died. Another huge percentage are hobbled or weary. Probably both. Who would blame them for saving their huge travel dollars and their weary bones from a trek to the memorable school? But we missed them nonetheless.

There’s another reunion left, the Grand One in the skies. No huge airfares, no large rental cars. Just good people for all time hearing the words, “Welcome home.”

Loren Dickenson is a Maplewood Academy graduate from the class of 1950.