Why come to the reunion? It is certainly not to glory in the campus and
walk the halls of our beloved alma mater. There is no campus; there are no halls.
Niles Township High School is a grand memory. We were the last of the Mohegans.
(The Trojan mascot limped along until the successor school, Niles East, was also
closed.) Of the original 925 graduates, 756 survive, and of that number 60 are
lost to even the intrepid searching talents of Keith Anderson. That leaves 696
classmates who could potentially make the trek to Pinstripes in Northbrook to celebrate
the anniversary of our graduation in 1961. The reunion planners expect 200. But
why come? Chances are you haven’t seen most of these people for 60 years, and it
is likely you won’t see them again. These are not, however, just any people. Rather
they are people with whom you came of age. They are folks with whom you shared
dreams, disappointments, hopes and triumphs. It was a time of first loves, first
jobs, and first cars. It may have been a time when we were our most idealistic
selves-- some would say our most naïve selves--but that is all part of the warp and
woof of life. Niles launched us, and we return 60 years later to celebrate the glory
of our survival with the people who witnessed our first steps on the adult stage.
Life has had its way with us, we return a bit worn and dog-eared, but triumphant
nonetheless. We have made many fateful choices along the way, some good, some
not so good. When I was disappointed my mother often would try to comfort me
saying, “Things work out for the best.” And, I would eventually reply, “No, Mom,
things work out, and we make the best of them.” We have made the best of them,
and that’s something to be celebrated with people who knew us at the beginning.