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Classmates Gather 50 Years After High School and Get a Letter From Their Late Teacher – Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Jul 21, 2022
10:50 P.M.
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The class of 1972 of Miami Beach Senior High School received an invitation for a school reunion – more than 50 years after their graduation – and they were all excited to come until someone unexpected showed up and reminded them of something they had long forgotten.

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On a bright sunny day in South Beach, 68-year-old Erica Sanders received a beautiful invitation addressed to her as part of the class of 1972 at Miami Beach Senior High School.

"Honey, what is that?" her husband asked, noticing her focus on the invitation. He was sitting on the couch reading the paper while Erica had gone outside to pick up their mail.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Wow, it's an invitation to a high school reunion! This is exciting! But I have to wonder who's organizing it," Erica answered, still staring at the paper in her hands.

Erica and Alejandro frowned at Henry as they thought deeply. Suddenly, the music stopped, and the sound of a microphone echoing interrupted their conversation.

"Why?"

"Because they didn’t bother to have a reunion after 10, 20, 30 years. It's been 50 years, for God's sake! Am I missing something?" she added, looking up from the paper and pursing her lips in deep thought.

"Maybe, the idea was that it should always be after 50 years," her husband suggested.

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"Perhaps… but I just can't remember," Erica replied, shaking her head. "Why don't I remember?"

***

Alejandro Gonzalez received the same invitation a few miles away, and he also thought it was odd that they had never gathered before.

But his wife was excited. "It doesn't matter why you're gathering now. It should be exciting to see your old classmates, right?"

"Well, we're all older. Some of them might not be alive anymore, and our teachers… well, some of them were old, old in 1972 when we graduated. But I am curious about this," Alejandro commented.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Let's go together. You can ask questions there, and hey, you'll also get to brag about your business, your family, your success. That's a great opportunity to show off," his wife insisted, and he nodded at her.

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"You're right, mi amor (my love). Of course. I'm going to RSVP yes to this. I wonder if Mrs. Harrison will be there. She was our homeroom teacher in senior year. She really encouraged us to follow our dreams and was there for us when the rest of the faculty didn't want to listen to our concerns," he described.

"What concerns?"

"It was the 70s. We were wild, young, and wanted to be activists. We wanted to change the world, mi amor (my love). Back then, being Latin American was half as exciting as it is now," he continued, laughing at the last.

"Oh, that's even more interesting! You overcame prejudices, racism, and other things to become successful. Not just here in Miami, but around the country. That’s something you get to brag about," his wife encouraged.

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"Si, si (Yes, yes). You're right. I wish I could remember exactly what I wanted to be back then, though. I don't think I ever saw myself as a business owner, and I don't remember much of what I thought back then. Estamos viejos, querida (we're old, darling)." Alejandro smiled at his wife.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Viejos, locos, (old, crazy) and very much in love," she grinned back.

***

Similar conversations happened all over Miami, a few other parts of Florida, and even as far as California and Spain. Someone made a considerable effort to find as many members as possible of the class of 1972 and get them together for an exciting event, which would take place two weeks after everyone received their invitations.

The invitation specifically told them that it was a party right on the sands of Miami Beach, at a spot where they had watched the sun set during their prom night. Some people called or messaged the former students they were still in contact with and asked if they knew anything about who was organizing it.

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No one knew who was behind it. Most other high school reunions were organized by a committee of former students from that class. Therefore, it was odd that none of them could figure out who was behind this event.

Regardless, they were all excited, and the people who lived far away bought plane tickets as fast as they could. However, none of them remembered something vital from that prom night five decades ago, and they were about to be shocked.

***

The reunion beach party started around 6 p.m. on a summer Saturday, and the invitees arrived. They were all in beach cocktail attire, and there were tables, chairs, and other accommodations on the beach, where they gathered and caught up. Latin music played in the background as the former classmates arrived, hugging each other and marveling at how fast time passed.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

They were all in their late 60s, so many shared pictures of their young grandchildren and talked about their extensive careers in various businesses. People were particularly interested in those who had left the country and traveled the world.

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It was the most typical high school reunion, even if the attendees were older than most people expected. Sadly, some of their former classmates didn't make it to the evening due to illnesses, and a few had already left this world.

"I wish we had gathered before. We should've done a 20-year reunion," someone stated to Erica Sanders.

"That's what I was telling my husband. How come we never had a reunion before?" she replied questioningly.

"I told my wife the same thing. It's odd that 50 years later, someone finally decided to organize one," Alejandro joined the conversation, and the people around him nodded. "I mean… I wished we could've seen some of our teachers again."

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"Yes, exactly! For example, I would've loved to catch up with Mrs. Harrison. I cried on her shoulder many times during junior and senior year. She was my rock when I was stressed about college or the world," Erica revealed, and the others smiled.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Suddenly, more former classmates joined the conversation, telling their own stories about Mrs. Harrison – how great she had been, how much she advocated for them, how much she believed in them.

"She was a gem," Erica added at some point during a lull in the conversation.

"Hey, do you remember what she made us do during prom night?" another former classmate, Henry Cortez, asked. Erica and Alejandro frowned at Henry as they thought deeply. Suddenly, the music stopped, and the sound of a microphone echoing interrupted their conversation.

They all turned towards a makeshift stage near the beach entrance and saw a woman in her 20s, standing and smiling widely. Something about her face was incredibly familiar, but Erica couldn't place it.

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"Good evening, everyone. I'm glad to see you all here, although you're probably wondering who I am," she started, and Erica noticed a few people standing near her who looked awfully familiar as well. "My name is Elizabeth Harrison, and my grandmother was Adeline Harrison, who sadly can't be here today."

People recognized the name immediately and started clapping, and Elizabeth wowed with her bright smile. "Thank you. And thank you for coming. I know my grandma would be so glad to see you all here, and that’s why she gave me this task before she passed peacefully a few years ago. Because she made a promise to you all five decades ago."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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The former classmates frowned at each other. They had no idea what the young woman was talking about, but Alejandro grinned as a lightbulb went off in his head. At last, he knew why they were finally gathered there after so long. Mrs. Harrison had promised them something on prom night, and she kept that promise even after passing.

"But I'm going to let my grandmother speak for herself," Elizabeth continued and unfolded a piece of paper in her hands. "My dear class of 1972, this is your teacher, Mrs. Harrison, although sometimes I felt more like a mother to all of you, and even after you graduated, I felt the same."

Erica felt water gathering in her eyes, and as Elizabeth continued, they could hear the pleasant sounds of the waves and the seagulls flying around. The night was falling already, tinting the sky with an orange hue and making everything seem even more romantic.

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"I hope you remember that 50 years ago, I gathered you on your prom night and gave you one last assignment. Some of you groaned at me, but I hope it's worth it today. I asked you to write a short letter to yourself, describing your dreams for the future and what you imagine your life would be 50 years later. I promised to deliver those letters, but I'm afraid I won't be there. So, my granddaughter will do it for me."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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A few echoes of happiness went off among the crowd, excited to see what they had written so long ago. But Elizabeth was not done reading.

"I hope that you won't be disappointed after reading your words, and if you're not, then I can rest in peace knowing that I guided, inspired, and encouraged you to be exactly the person you wanted to be. Moreover, if you remember your time in my classes with a little bit of fondness, then I know I was a good teacher and I left a beautifully perfect mark on the world. Thank you," Mrs. Harrison's granddaughter finished, and the people next to her – Mrs. Harrison's other family and grandkids – started handing out the letters.

Erica almost ripped her letter as tears escaped her eyes, and she was surprised that her life was almost exactly like she expected. "I achieved everything I wanted as a kid," she told her husband and hugged him tightly.

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Alejandro laughed, reading his own letter. "I wanted to be a politician. Puedes imaginarlo, mi amor? (Can you imagine, my love?)"

"Of course, I can imagine!" his wife chirped as they continued reading.

His fate was utterly different than what he expected, but he was not disappointed at all. His life had been even better.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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The rest of their classmates cried, laughed, and joked over the letters. Many approached Elizabeth to thank her for gathering them, which must have been hard considering that some were scattered throughout the country. She was glad to do it for her grandmother.

Soon enough, the music started again, and the party became lively, but before they started dancing and going crazy, Alejandro took the microphone, raising his glass. "To Mrs. Harrison and her family," he offered, and everyone echoed his words with cheers and applause.

For the rest of their lives, the class of 1972 marveled at the idea that their teacher had kept such a promise and wanted them to see who they dreamed of being. Even if some chose a different path, they got a glimpse of their youth and a dear memory they had long forgotten.

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What can we learn from this story?

  • Some professors take their profession to the next level and do more than teach. Mrs. Harrison was a mother figure, protector, and inspiration to the class of 1972. She did more than educate them.
  • Try to make time capsules in your youth because they can be incredibly inspiring. The letters Mrs. Harrison made her students write were time capsules that they looked forward to reading after so many years. Try to make one with your kids or your friends.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about some bullies who made fun of their classmate at their school reunion.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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