Reunion Time Forty Years On; Where Did That Come From?

If truth be told I am not really sure when I actually got old, it is not like you suddenly have a lightbulb moment and realise that oh my goodness I have just got old. Billy Connolly gives an extremely funny anecdote of his definition of realising that he had got old when he found a grey hair in a certain private part of his anatomy. Fair play I suppose, but is that the only criteria for realising that out of nowhere you are age wise, anyway an old person.

Not quite sure when I realised that I was actually old until I realised that next week I will be going to my College reunion at the Hopwood Arms in Manchester where those of us who joined De La Salle College in Middleton, Manchester in 1979, will be reuniting for a night or laughter and recollection. If you say it quickly 1979 does not sound that long ago. But actually it is especially when most of us who moved there were 18 or 19 years old, which of course when you are about to turn 60 seems very young. I should have gone last year but the cancer card got played and I was in hospital. It is strange getting old, I had a good chat to my elder sister Liz, about this she said that she had been to a reunion and it was quite surreal. The reason being that all the people who knew each other as young people, were suddenly the same characters with the same mannerisms and expressions except they were old and in some cases unrecognisable.

And when you think about it, all very true, however there is something sobering about realising that actually to use a cricketing analogy, you are entering the later stages of your innings, at the crease trying to bat away the grim reaper for as long as you can. In my case I was lucky to survive a very sticky innings when Mr bowel cancer came into bowl, only some very skilled fielding from the NHS managed to prevent me being stumped out completely, clearly over and out, followed by the long slow walk to the final pavilion or indeed cemetery. However, for now I am delighted and fortunate to still be here and am thoroughly looking forward to seeing dear friends who shaped my future life as we all did for each other, from those days to these.

The best thing about such events is that you simply over the course of four decades forget so much stuff that used to go on. Looking back now they were brilliant times with some very funny and gifted people who in fairness looking back went on to do great things. The vast majority of course as teachers and indeed a fair few are now retired, that also of course makes you realise that the sands of time are busy running their course. What I am seeking to avoid if possible is the more common denominator conversations about various medical ailments and challenges with mobility. I would much prefer to talk about the events of the past and the joy that was shared, as distinct from the ravages of age manifest in the present. Besides after the last year I fear that I would have to much information to share about all that malarkey.

So, I greatly look forward to the great get together, and energise all those friendships and memories. And maybe more important recall all those adventures and challenges that we all experienced together back in the day, in the hallowed halls of Hopwood Hall and the campus. It may have only been three or four years of your life, but it had an amazing impact on just who you became and the life that you lead, Full report to follow, but for me considering it will have been 1 year and 3 days from being sent to hospital to have my life saved I will make the most of it as in truth I almost died so life needs to be lived , celebrated, and cherished, which I will continue to do.

Written by Austin Birks

September 6, 2019

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