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REFLECTIONS ON RETURNING TO ELMHURST HIGH SCHOOL

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Open house.

More a homecoming.

I came hoping to see familiar faces. And I did. But saw so much more. The familiar Elmhurst High School gymnasium where so many school assemblies had been held, and basketball games watched, provided a central gathering place for the progeny of a proud tradition, both young and old. I saw many of the faces that are Elmhurst High School.

Most of us came to once again roam the halls, and to peer into classrooms of long ago. To somehow touch our past. And to satisfy a hunger to connect with that past. But no hunger is ever satisfied, except for a time all too brief.

The six o’clock hour found me gathered for dinner with two 1969-era teachers, Mr. Werling and Mr. Goss, and three Elmhurst alumni. What a special time we had, returning to be with those we had departed so long ago.

The last few days of school 41 years ago were exciting as we all anticipated approaching graduation. My only memory was thinking during the final week that this group of fellow students, once released into the world, would never, ever be back together again. Fittingly, the words of poet, Robert Frost, were used at our 1969 graduation . . .

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

And so it was, as we all took different paths.

But there we were on Sunday, the 13th, back in surroundings that evoked fondest memories. The library looked remarkably similar to how we left it, except for the addition of personal computers which had not yet been invented in 1969. The band room had a few changes, but yet pleasantly accommodating as a familiar scene. The cafeteria was largely unchanged, and the courtyard to its East -- minus one Tommy Trojan statue -- looked much as it did when we were students at Elmhurst High.

In many ways, time had stood still.

But had not the American author, Thomas Wolfe, said, “You can never go home.”

The world changes.

And so do we, each in our own way. Someone once made the profound observation that the only constant is change, as if “constancy” and “change” are not opposites.

We all have one.

A heart.

Perhaps revisiting our past is a reaching deep inside of ourselves to somehow verify that ours is still there.

Different world -- but same heart.

Maybe so.

Journeys of the heart are like the two roads that diverged in a wood.

They make all the difference.

Stephen Paul Leykauf

52396 Liberty Mills Court

Granger, IN

I was a resident of the Waynedale area of Fort Wayne from 1951 to 1971, graduated from Elmhurst High School in 1969, and will always consider Fort Wayne as my hometown.

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