Jim of the Ann Arbor Public Library had been scanning in old copies of the Ann Arbor News, “So of course I was searching for my name, and your name came up near mine in this list of Merit Scholarship finalists.” The article lists Pioneer High seniors who were presented with awards and scholarships at the 1972 Senior Banquet. That night, Anne received the following awards:
- National Merit Scholarship
- Michigan State’s Alumni Distinguished Scholarship
- Michigan Competitive Scholarship & Tuition Grant
- Classical Club Certificate
- Mahlon Buell Science Award
I was sitting next to her that night, as I sit next to her tonight, almost forty years hence. Of the five awards, the second one was far and a way the most important. It meant a full ride scholarship to Michigan State University. She actually was able to get two degrees out of these monies. In his emails, Jim went on to update us on the doings of some of the named classmates. A lot of them became doctors, but then they were all smart kids.
Anita married a guy in foreign service and lived in Russia for a while. Carol had a kid despite her diabetes. Mike died in a diving accident. Carl is a doctor in Pittsburgh and comes back to town to play in a rockabilly band. Jack is a doctor in a Detroit suburb. Kathy is a doctor and still lives in town. Marilyn works at the U of M hospital. John owns a local record store. John was just in town, his parents live in the same building as my parents. Paul died of AIDS. His sister was my son’s kindergarten teacher.
Forty years is a long time, more than a lifetime for some. Hopefully just half of one for me, knock on wood. I can still remember that night. Anne was so excited, but I was clueless why. No one else knew, but she did. I saw the telegram later. When they called her name for the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, our cafeteria table erupted. She still gets cachet from that award when she speaks to today’s seniors. Her point, you don’t have to break a sweat to get a full ride. You just have to work hard in the classroom.
Our fortieth, high school reunion will be this fall. I’ll go as the dutiful spouse and will surely be asked, “So, where did you go to high school?” and then “Oh, which year?” Such is the price of anonymity, but for one more night, I’ll be able to bask in her reflected glow, and love it.