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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

January 30, 2010


A piece of mail arrived for Mark recently giving information about an upcoming All School Reunion in Cresco Iowa. Mark had gone to several reunions in the past and had loved getting to see his former classmates. I loved seeing the pictures and noting that he was the slimmest and handsomest of all. He graduated from Cresco Iowa High School. You may have never heard of Cresco, Iowa but people who lived there have a strong attachment to it. Now Cresco has a population of less than 4000 people so you can imagine that the graduating class was quite small. The reunions of small towns are very different from those of larger cities. I graduated from Billings Senior High School and I believe there were close to 400 in our graduating class of 1949. I went to one reunion and found that, since I wasnít one of the ďinĒ crowd, wasnít a cheer leader, didnít play sports (there isnít much demand for a 4 foot 11 ĺ inch basketball player), I didnít seem to have much in common with the other alums. Also, I always had my nose in a book, had to catch the bus home, didnít have much discretionary spending money and had spent all but one year of my grammar school in a one room school house with no more than six or seven other children, mostly my sisters! Letís just say I was probably socially inept. I think perhaps the fact that most of the people who came to the reunion were local and I had spent nearly all of my adult life living close to a big city made a difference as well. That plus the fact that none of them seemed to look much like their picture in the annual.

My sister, Eunice, graduated from the Richey High School, in Richey, Montana. Unless I am mistaken, I think there were 14 in her graduating class. They loved their reunions and stayed close to each other for life. They saw each other through marriages, babies, divorces, deaths, remarriages, illnesses and everything else. In later years, they ďreunedĒ every year, usually in someoneís back yard. Euniceís best friend for life was one of her classmates, Bette.

My best friend, Mark, will miss the All Class Reunion this year. He is attending an All Family Reunion in heaven.

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