When we were kids, we’d often hear our elders say things like, “Don’t get old!” or “One day you’ll wake up and discover that you’re ancient.”

Well, as usual, they were right. In August, I’ll be attending my 50th high school class reunion.

How could it be that a half century has passed since I marched into the gymnasium at Skowhegan Area High School to the strains of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” with some 250 other classmates?

In 1974, we were in the throes of the Watergate scandal and President Richard M. Nixon resigned.

Maine horror writer Stephen King released his first book, “Carrie.”

The Rubik’s cube was invented.


The top song of the year was “The Way We Were,” sung by Barbra Streisand.

It was another world. In 1974, a loaf of bread cost about 35 cents. Can you imagine? A dozen eggs, less than 80 cents. You could rent an apartment for about $150 a month and the average cost of a home was $36,000.

Amy Calder is shown in her high school yearbook photo in 1974. Contributed photo

A mere 50 years before that, Calvin Coolidge was president. It was 1924, and my mother was 2.

Wheaties cereal and Milky Way candy bars were introduced in 1924. A dozen eggs cost about 25 cents and a gallon of milk, 28. You could buy a car for between about $100 and $265. The average cost of a home? $2,500 to $3,000.

Yes, it seems forever ago. I won’t be here in another 50 years, but many of you will. Imagine what the cost of a home will be then, or a rental?

This is all to say that time flies. Each year of our lives goes by faster than the last.


Just five years ago, I attended our 45th high school class reunion. Everyone looked pretty good. We ate, told stories, and laughed. We recalled high school successes, antics, favorite teachers and those not so favorite. Kim was there, and Cheryl, Donna, Dawn, Kathy, Jay, Susie, Marge, Mary, Jeff, Betsy, Donnie, Ben, and many more.

Those we have lost were memorialized on a special display table: Holly, Richard, Wally, Eddie, Michele, Debbie, Diane, Bruce, Allan, Carol, Sean, Tony, Don, Brent, Jamie, Danny, Vincent and Peggy. Since then, that list has grown.

When we graduated, we were a class of 250 out of more than 1,000 enrolled at the school, which now has just 725 students. Time marches on. Or as my mother used to say, “Tempus fugit.”

Amy Calder, far right, plays Ethel Toffelmier in a rehearsal for “The Music Man,” in a photo included in her 1974 yearbook. Contributed photo

Ours was the first freshman class to enter the brand-new high school and progress through four years there. It was the first time we girls were allowed to wear pants to school. We could actually wear jeans — a boon! Bell-bottom trousers were especially popular.

The first class reunion I attended was my 15th. Before that, I lived out of state and deemed myself too busy and removed from high school days to return. I was hesitant to attend that year, recalling some aspects of high school that weren’t so pleasant, such as the cliques and competitiveness and peer scrutiny.

But I was pleasantly surprised at the camaraderie and respect we shared, 15 years later. We had grown up. We were delighted to see each other, this eclectic collection of people who had spent most of our young lives together, learning, discovering, developing interests, sharing secrets. We left school as children but reconvened as adults, enriched by time, and experience.


I have attended every reunion since then and look forward to our 50th where, no doubt, time and distance will fade away.

In that three-hour bubble, we will exist in both past and present — 1974 and 2024, with little thought of the 50 intervening years. Then, we’ll scatter to the winds.

Time is funny that way.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She is the author of the book, “Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published in 2023 by Islandport Press. She may be reached at acalder@centralmaine.com. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com

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