REUNION: Twenty-Five Years Out of School by Robert Douglas Mead

REUNION: Twenty-Five Years Out of School

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A man goes to his 25th high school reunion and writes about it after interviewing his classmates and reinvestigating his home town. The book turns out to be interesting chiefly because the town -- Evanston, Illinois -- and its schools are interesting. ""Evanston was neither wholly North Shore nor wholly Chicago: both suburb and, since the '90's, city in its own right"" with the children of factory workers, Loop businessmen and black carpenters attending one big high school. Mead rather improbably says money and social class were no barrier to social acceptance, but it is true that the Evanston ethos of WASPy propriety and duty provided a certain homogeneity. The Class of '46 (most of the boys were too young to go to war) has stayed spiritually ""close to home,"" Mead finds, though many feel and look ""less middle-aged"" now than at 18. Of particular note are childhood memories of an economically strained but pleasant existence during the Depression, and the blacks' memories of indifference, exclusion and informal but rigid segregation prohibiting even interracial square dancing. Mead comments on recent racial tugs-of-war in the Evanston schools and revisits the high school, which has preserved its excellent reputation while modifying its extreme ""tracking"" system. He points up the lack of ""social consciousness"" among his classmates in their youth; now they are neither terribly smug nor desperately self-conscious, but generally average specimens of ""the middle generation,"" representing both the decent side of middle-class midwestern values and the ""repressed"" side. A successful retrospect which might give rise to others.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1972
Publisher: Saturday Review Press