How can it possibly be 35 years since I graduated from Holton High School in northeast Kansas with eighty-two other outstanding classmates during that crazy cusp period of transition — the 70’s ending and the 80’s just beginning. We were all born at the very end of the baby boom at a time in history when the country was experiencing tremendous social change with the civil rights movement, election of John F. Kennedy, the space race, the Cold War and Beatle mania.
Many of our mothers stayed home to care for us while our fathers went to work. However, many of our moms were the first to work outside the home, including mine, but she still took wonderful care of us without the benefit of much assistance from my dad in preparing meals, completing house chores and shopping duties. My mom would get frustrated with all the house work that fell on her shoulders. This resulted in a serious family meeting, the preparation of a chore chart, division of duties and a good talking to by good old dad. This regime would last for a few Saturdays and eventually it would fizzle out mostly because Mom was tired of nagging us Hauck kids to get our chores done. Kids are just terrible at chores. Eventually, Mom and Dad were making enough money that we had outside help from a local women who helped with the laundry, ironing, changing of the bedding, and housecleaning. My mother was so happy and we were quite spoiled. I remember sleeping in until noon during the summer, drinking a Carnation instant breakfast drink, riding my bike to the pool, swimming for hours, eating frozen Zero bars, riding home, snarfing down a home cooked meal my mother had prepared after working eight hours, helping with the dishes if it was my turn, heading out to play with the neighborhood kids until the bell was rung to come in, bath, maybe a little TV but usually nothing good was on, and then bed. I had a wonderful childhood sheltered from much that was happening in the world around me. I remember Vietnam from the black and white footage and the nightly news that my dad always watched but the sound of Walter Cronkite’s voice always reassured me that everything would be all right.
When I had C3, the first act my mother made was to hire a maid for RM and I to help us survive those first two chaotic and wonderful years after our third daughter was born. God bless you, Mom. We continued on with outside help both with child care and house hold duties. This assistance allowed us to create our own business, travel for work, advance in our positions, and continue our education. RM and I have used every combination of juggling work and family. We both worked full-time, we both worked part-time, I stayed home with the girls full-time, he did too. Somehow we managed to get them grown and in a flight pattern from our Ashland nest that appears to be in a good trajectory for them and for us.
But 35 years have passed by in a blink. I remember vividly riding on the 5 year high school reunion float around the Holton square and looking forward at the 25, 30 and 35 year reunion floats and thinking, wow, those guys are old. They say that 50 is the new 40 so I am sticking with that philosophy. I am starting to get aching joints, trouble reading small letters on the thermostat and on menus, and worries about falling down (and I often do) but we are counter punching with a regular exercise pattern, medication, and bifocals. With the experience I have gathered over these 35 years, I feel very confident in my work, in my relationships and I am enjoying the freedom to do just about anything I set my mind to do.
So, when we gather over Memorial Day week-end, dear classmates, let’s not worry about the years that have passed but let’s plan for the years to come. Let’s commit to live every one of those years to the fullest and hope that many of us are able to return for many more reunions to come. To the class of 1979 — I hope to see you on the float this year. We may look like a bunch of old codgers to the class of 2014 but who cares. These recent Holton grads are only beginning on their journey. We have 35 years of experience and I think, while these experiences do show in the lines on our faces and the thinning of our hair, we came out the better in the end. So let’s pop the tab on the can of Coors Light and celebrate.