“Has it been three years since Lorraine?” asks one man to another at table 9.
“Three years in November,” he replies, “Three long years.”
Dad and I are at his 65th high school reunion at the UVic University Club.
“This is my sister’s husband,” says Bernice introducing me to her date, “She died in 2001.”
Bernice’s brother-in-law is the one she calls when she gets snowed in. He brought her a pail of strawberries he had picked when he arrived at her door to drive her to the reunion tonight.
We eat salad, halibut or roast beef, and strawberry shortcake.
“Sixty-five years ago, I was drunk,” says one man at our table, “I didn’t get home until seven in the morning.”
They laugh about the bonfire that night and other stories about lost friends and good old days.
“We share three things in common,” says the classmate giving a speech after dinner, “our birth, our time at Vic High, and ultimately our death.”
The flowers by the door are dedicated to the classmate most recently passed away. He had RSVP’d to the reunion but had died since.
“There probably won’t be a 70th,” says a woman at the podium, “but there will be another luncheon in October.”
She lists the names of the women that organized this event as well as the more casual the bi-annual luncheons throughout the year. The room claps in gratitude. Without these women, old friends would have lost touch.
“Other years don’t get together like we do,” says Bernice. “And our class only started after our 40th reunion.”
“Does anyone else want to say something before we all go home?” asks the woman laughing with the room. It’s eight o’clock.
With what my father calls ‘gumption’, which I must have inherited from him, I make a request at the podium.
“Would you please sing your class victory song?”
The surviving members of Victoria High’s Class of 1949 rise from their chairs, standing with their bad hips, canes and shaky glasses, and together before me they sing and hum, as well as they can remember, their victory song.
“So, how was the reunion last night?” asks Mum as she and Dad drive me back to the ferry the following day.
“Good,” Dad says, “I think Katie’s going to dye her hair grey so she can join the group.”
“They’re all good, positive people, aren’t they?” says Dad.
“Yes, they sure are,” I reply.