Mounds View High School
Class Of 1964
MOUNDS VIEW HIGH SCHOOL Class of 1964
James S. Marchand, Bonita K. Entsminger, Harvey G. Lindeman, Paula M. Miller Cable, Virginia M. Paron Powell, Diane Goserud Anderson, Janice C. Horton Plessas, Thomas N. Montain, Karen L. Solberg Solimar, James L. Hoskins, Gary J. Nelson, Jacci C. Stahl Krebsbach, Mary M. Gebhard Harper, Gail L. Carlson Woods, Jim Flink, Tom Brown, Don Beach, Carol Ann Johnson Nelson, Jacqueline Thorsten Daharsh, John Abbott, Steve Erickson, Sylvia D. Christopherson Frolik, Rick Winters, Kristin M Stavnes Traughber, Deanne E. Raw Mellecker, Gary Rolli, Tom Winiecki, Connie J. Bartelt Mullaney, Claudia S. Carley Droel, Idelle H. Sabes Walton, Karen Opsahl Charbonneau, Gail A. Bartelt Gaylord, Peter J. Whiteneck, Kenneth J. Bourdeaux, Betty L. Holden Swan-DeLong, Sherry A. Turner (Oleson), Lawrence T. Dawson,
(Make arrangements with those attending the Party to go to the State Fair or golf together!)
While even the specter of Vietnam and being called overseas was enough to shake some young men to their cores, for one disillusioned, neophyte Marine, it was more about getting into the war and the action than it was about getting out of it. As Jon Meade struggles with his own evolution and regression as both a Marine and a human being, he battles both inner torment and feelings of alienation as he begins a journey through the decades to find himself and explore every possibility of living—and nearly dying—to hopefully reach some level of success.
In Confessions of a Surviving Alien, author Jon Meade goes beyond the memoir to deliver an engaging, whirlwind tour through the maze of life's pathos and its storm of emotions—sadness and joy, pain and regret, guilt and fear, revenge and forgiveness, and good and evil. Nevertheless humorous and however defined by the premise of Vietnam, Jon not only shares recollections from his unique tour in Vietnam and his time just after, where he escorted deceased Marines to their families and final resting places, but he also shares tales of his sometimes surreal life back home and stories of his spiritual discoveries after his tour of duty.
Challenging and perhaps at times unbelievable, it is the story of an ordinary guy with an extraordinary life to share. And in the end, it offers a huge dose of reality—that success in life is merely surviving life, failures and all.
CLASSMATES REVISITED.... a look at "life after graduation"
Jon Meade, new published author.
Jon, posted in our Memory Forum shortly after our 50th Reunion, an entry entitled "What is Success?" Betty L. Holden Swan-DeLong summed up Jon's entry nicely when she commented, "Jon, a most reflective look at our collective lives thus far with hope for future endeavors and accomplishments!!!" We believe his piece bares repeating!
In relation to our 50th reunion, I've done a lot of soul searching in my own life, simply because I am now 68 and I wanted to analyze my own success, or lack thereof. First, at this point in life, there can only be three words to best describe my thinking--stone cold honesty. But, in so doing I uncovered some points I wanted to share, and I will even give it a title: "What is Success?" These concise observations are based on my own life, numerous others, including fellow '64 graduates of Mounds View. It's from the...Whatever-it-is-worth department.
Success is simply surviving life. No doubt! We have all come together after 50 years of living since graduation, added to our age. That's virtually a lifetime. And in this lifetime we have survived: family, inlaws, outlaws, siblings, births, deaths, sickness, disease, maladies, careers, jobs, unemployement, moves, new homes, old homes, politics, politicans, creed, egos, wars, threat of wars, aftershocks, marriage, divorce, kids, grandkids, bad movies, bad tv, bad humor, down times, up times, schools, training, surgeries, recoveries, doctors, meds, lawyers, lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, judges, juries, bad decisions, both self and outside...what have I missed, not much...and it is all underscored by one's own life and personal circumstances; there can be as many pros as there are cons; negatives and positives. There was a phrase--slogan if you will--that came out of the Vietnam war, and that is: SH-- HAPPENS. It was first picked up on the helmet of a Marine atop a tank returning from a combat operation, and the media at the time used it in different contexes and it grew and stuck. But, it is so true.
Life is tough. Damn tough. Nobody was promised a rose garden or a cake walk at birth. And if they were as a youngster, the soil wasn't too fertile and the cake usually crumbled. Yet, we went on; we survived.
Recapping things from the reunion; from a smiling Jacci with her wide brimmed sparkling eyes reflecting a soulful welcome from within, to John Abbott who is now a joint citizen of both the US and Australia, to Tom Booth who drove up from Florida with wife Dixie, to Donna Hong who attended the reunion despite having to get up very early the next morning to travel to meet a ship for a week-long cruise to Europe, to John Sopkowiak who, despite having lost both legs in Vietnam (you are an absolute hero to me, John), attended the reunion and still, still had his warm, infectious, incredible smile, to Don Beach who came down from up north with beard and all, to others who had incredible challenges with health and other things, including medical transplants, etc., who made the time and effort to attend. And many others, on and on.
We have all survived, in whatever capacity and in whatever way. We have weathered the storms of life. We have survived life...and success--as measured in the unmaterialistic way, in the ways we have come to know and realize that truly matter--is simply surviving life, whether you are a lifelong stay-at-home mother who lovingly gave your all to raise as-good-as-possible children, or a high achiever and someone who reached every material plateau and have a bank account in the millions. We all have a commonality...and that is simply surviving life. That simplicity is really all not so simple in the scheme of things, and it is very challenging, at best. Yet, here we are, shaking hands again and hugging each other after 50 short/long years. Like John Abbott said in his closing remarks as event MC: We are all a success.
But, but, is it over? Is there more? Can there be more? This is a question that only we, individually, can answer. Personally, I'm using this reunion as a stark reminder that there's more I want to do, more I want to accomplish, or at least try my best. This, to me, has been a major wake up call. I feel I have a lot more fight left, that I must try and do more, especially as it relates to honoring Veterans who sacrificed their lives and limbs for this country; to Marines, to all. There's nothing in life I admire more than someone who never gives up, who fights with all their heart and soul, who gives life their best, no matter the level. And sometimes this may only be known in the hearts of those who try. Success is surving life; those who try. To do one's best. Albert Einstein, paraphrasing now, said he only probably gave about 30% of his capacity. When the reporter pressed further, and asked him how much the normal person gave...he paused and said, "Oh, maybe 10 to 12, 15 %." Does anyone agree that we may all have something more within? Even if is (just) leaving a positive legacy of being the best father or mother you can possibly be. It matters. It all matters.
There is much in life at this stage to appreciate, like life itself. So much on the plus side to be thankful for, like the very breaths we take, the oxygen we inhale. Like the Italian movie some years ago titled, "Life is Beautiful" expounded. Myself, I want to take every deep breath I can before all the oxygen runs out. Despite its shortfalls, life is beautiful.
However, there's more to it, of course. We have lost a percentage of our grads who died. Regards and respects to all of these souls, especially those fighting spirits, like Vietnam Vets, who succumed along the path of return (and particularly those who died in-country). Their success is simply measured by surviving life up to the time of their passing. They will never be forgotten, if only by friends and family. Their existence mattered. It mattered. Their DNA will never be replaced...nor ours. Just think how unique we all are.
So, with this reflection of 1964 and the innocence of those times, I have a possible creed to those who wish to pick up the chant: Let's march to the same '64 drummer but enhance the tunes and melodies to your own beat; Let's embrace our past but continue to move forward; Let's keep the eternal flame from within burning strongly from the class of '64, from Australia to America and beyond.
Life goes on. So let's continue surviving...and thriving, especially thriving!
Moreover, If we can leave this world having given more than we took, individually and collectively, than you/we are the ultimate success: A true life warrior.
View our 50th Reunion DVD HERE.
50th Reunion Stroll Video Click to WATCH