Today I wandered down memory lane as Jesus College Cambridge brought together students who matriculated in 1964 for a celebration lunch. On arrival we were given a name tag and copy of the college photograph from 50 years ago. I was startled to see my youthful self on the second row, peering through glasses with my hair standing upright. Scanning my peers in the photo I remembered a surprising number but wondered who they might be amongst the crowd of grey-haired men in front of me.
We moved to set places for a sumptuous meal (eel, duck, etc. etc.) To my joy I found myself placed between the two other geographers in our year. I had recognized both of them in the photo and fifty years on they had weathered well. One was a top sportsman gaining blues for cricket and football who continued into top head teacher roles. The other became head of geography in another significant school. The banter we shared surprised me by our depth of recollections about each other. We shared about our journeys since with a quality of interest sharpened in some mysterious way because we belonged together 1964-7.
The passing years are marked by some sadness. Several of our friends have died and the next reunion planned for 2024 is some way off! But the predominant mood was one of thanksgiving for the opportunities we have been given and lives lived so far. To be able to look back with thanksgiving is a real gift and today I received a surprising present.