It’s unfathomable that a quarter century has passed since I walked the stage toward my high school diploma in Independence.
I think I shook a few hands of then-Independence School Board members. I was mostly oblivious to the other 350 or so William Chrisman students who were either cheering, laughing or sitting silently at the old RLDS Auditorium.
Twenty-five years since high school ended.
I try to put that in perspective for my daughter Addy as often as I can. She is constantly quizzing me on “what things were like” when I was her age or a teenager. How school “went” for us back then. What I remember learning.
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She asked me recently if everyone took pictures at my graduation.
“Not at all. We didn’t even have phones then.”
That provoked a massive gasp from my 6-year-old. No phones? Nope. No texting or photos taken from our phones? Nope.
“So, what did you guys do?” she asked, truly perplexed.
Well, we graduated, hopped on a bus that night to Lawrence, Kan., did an all-night project grad event and came home in the morning. Very little of it captured on video or film (I think I have one photo of me walking down the aisle to get my diploma) and, during the entirety of the event, all eyes were on the stage, or toward our classmates chatting away the boredom that is the buildup to your individual recognition.
I had to stop myself before I got all “times have changed” with my daughter. I didn’t walk seven miles to school in the snow. I threw the newspaper to make money when I was 10. Had my first job at a restaurant at 13.
For the most part, I embraced the mind-boggling changes that I have seen in just a quarter century since leaving William Chrisman High.
But then I bend my brain to think of what graduation in Lee’s Summit will be like for Addy in 2029.
If life has changed this much since 1992, I can’t fathom what technological advances and other cultural and civic fluctuations will occur by the time she makes that long walk toward her diploma.
As my class comes together for our 25th reunion in a few weeks, it has me pondering what I’ve accomplished since and what is ahead for myself, my daughter, my career and her future.
In those 25 years, I’ve held jobs ranging from bartender to publisher. I have kept in close contact with some classmates, lost complete touch with others I considered close friends and mourned the passing of a few along the way.
In the years and decades since graduation, I have run into teachers that made a significant impact in my life, and those interactions are more meaningful as an adult than I could have ever imagined.
I can tell in my daughter that those influences are also meaningful to her. Of course, to a 6-year-old, the best-case scenario includes always having your kindergarten teacher around.
“I think I might stay in kindergarten another year,” Addy announced to me recently while on a walk and passing her school.
Not a chance, kid. In fact, I think 2029 is going to get here all too quickly.