Monday, October 1, 2012

The Class of 1980

Chiclayo’s Karl Weiss school recently celebrated its 51st anniversary with a parade and other activities over a four day span. The parade is an annual event that is held in the downtown area. One of the classes participating in all the activities is Maribel’s class of 1980.

The class is probably typical of an organization with people in that age group. Its members include a judge, a police comandante and several police officers, taxi and moto taxi drivers, a doctor, vehicle mechanics, teachers, self employed business people and, unfortunately, an alcoholic or two who can’t seem to get their lives in order but are still treated with respect by classmates.

Every year the class seems to have less members participating in the anniversary celebration, not because they’ve departed the planet, though there are a couple of those, but because they’re scattered around the country. I am no longer surprised when Maribel unexpectedly meets a classmate in Lima, Trujillo, or as has recently happened, a moto taxi driver in Jaèn. Still, there is a fair amount of communication between many of them who are separated by distance.

The celebration this year was special, because soon every single building on the school grounds will be demolished, to be replaced by modern construction. Karl Weiss as the class of 80 knew it will be no more. The sadness was evident as some of the former students drank a last toast at the door of their beloved classroom 15.

‘Toasting’ continued on the school grounds later that evening, where there were at least 1,000 people in attendance. There was dancing to a live band, food was available, and enough beer was sold and consumed to float Noah’s ark. Proceeds from the admission fee, food and beer sales will be used to fund the celebration next year.

Several days ago it was learned that a classmate has severe anemia and is in financial trouble. Within hours 20 – 25 classmates were in communication with each other and it was agreed to hold a benefit dinner. Maribel, as is almost always the case was ‘elected’ to organize the event. Contributions have been received from classmates in far away places. Others who could not attend the dinner have contributed to a piggy bank circulated by Maribel. And a respectable amount of money was raised at the dinner.

It’s heartwarming to see the attachment these folks have for their school and each other. 

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