I am coming up on my 30th year from graduating from Whitehall High School. I am a proud Railroader. Much of what I am today, comes from my four years of high school at Whitehall with a fantastic bunch of teachers. A few months ago, while I was on the air on 98.5 WCKM, I mentioned that this year would be my 30th out of Buckley Road Tech. I also wondered out loud if we, The Class Of ’83, would be having a reunion. We had a 10th but that was it. No sooner did I mention that on the air, classmates were contacting me by phone, email and Facebook to put something together. I agreed to do so with another of my classmates. At first, everything was going fine. Then the hammers started to fall.
I graduated with around 85 people. I heard from at least 12 of my fellow graduates about their less than enthusiastic response to a reunion. These classmates had been bullied, shunned, made fun of and just downright treated badly by some of our classmates. I know how that feels. I moved to Whitehall to start my freshman year. For some, not all, I was “The Kid From Ticonderoga.” Which was odd because when I was in school in Ticonderoga I was “The Kid From The City.” I was from Troy. Go figure. As classmates were contacting the two of us organizers, others were adding their two cents. Just let it go. C’mon, that was 30 years ago. Why don’t you just drop it.
Time does not heal all wounds. Some of my classmates remember, not so fondly, what it was to be ridiculed by some that found it fun to make fun of some because they lived in Dresden. They moved to Whitehall and weren’t true Railroaders. They weren’t the pretty or popular or smart or athletic ones. Old wounds that many just put away came back to the top. Bullying happened then but they just called it making you tougher. Giving you a thick skin. Hardening you off. 30 years later, bullying is known for what it is. Bullying. For me and the other co-organizer, it was too much. We mutually agreed to step down from putting together a reunion for the Class Of ’83. There is a part of me that is sad. I always thought of myself, right or wrong, as a person that did get along with everyone. It wasn’t until I stepped back from everything to understand that for some, the reunion was like peeling off a scab and seeing the blood come running out of the wound. My bullies don’t get the time of day in my world, but that’s me. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes, you just need to know when to call it a day. To all my classmates, I’m not hard to find. If you want to get together with me, I’m not hard to find. I wish you all well.