On a recent Sunday afternoon, I had the most incredible experience: I sat in a roomful of 50 men and women who had lunch, talked, reminisced, and enjoyed themselves for four hours. The incredible part was that they did all that without cell phones, without liquor, without vulgar language, without loud “music,” without blaring TV screens, and without wrecking the place. All of them are white. All of them are decent and disciplined. They are, therefore, atypical 21st-century Americans. They grew up in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. They are Old School. They are not “cool” or trendy; if they were, I would have known I had walked into the wrong room.
The occasion was a reunion of people who attended schools in the neighborhood in south St. Louis where my father lived as a boy. He organized the first such reunion in 1988. One man was so grateful for the reunions that he sent my father a four-page handwritten letter describing his memories of schoolmates in the 1920s. Read More »