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Frank Kaiser '57 Reflects on His 50th Class Reunion and "A Good Life"

July 5, 2007

Image of Frank KaiserJuly 5, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "Graduation Day 1957 promised us all a full and prosperous life with no looking back," writes Frank Kaiser, who graduated from DePauw University that year, in Florida's St. Petersburg Times.  "Fifty years later, on a similar warm June Indiana day, I asked several geezers if their lives had turned out the way they'd thought. 'No, ' most answered, 'but it was a good life.'"

The column by Kaiser, whose work has been nationally syndicated, discusses his experiences last month at DePauw's Alumni Reunion Weekend, where his Class of '57 gathered to celebrate its golden anniversary. He describes it as, "A pleasant affair, where more than 100 of us, now in our 70s and mellowed beyond having to prove anything, enjoyed the company of old friends, reminisced and caught up with each other's past 50 years. But for all the joy, laughter and renewed 2007 ARW.jpgfriendships, the gathering was bittersweet, in both past and future tenses. In the future, most of us will never again return to that place, which held such special meaning in our lives, never again see most of the classmates with whom we've shared so much. It was the end of something important."

Kaiser continues, "Returning to the DU [Delta Upsilon] fraternity house, where I lived while at DePauw University, took me to the distant past. The old place hadn't changed much. The dorm smelled the same. Student rooms -- each with 50 new coats of paint since I left -- were still warm, inviting and representing our very first independence. In the hall was the same corkboard where, long ago, our house scholastic chairman posted an elaborate hand-painted poster pronouncing, 'There is No Substitute for Scholastic Exallence his spelling!' In some drawer, somewhere,east college 1978.jpg is a fading photograph of me standing tall on the DU lawn dressed in my cap and gown. That Frank of 1957 lived in a time of optimism so full of itself that it could see nothing else."

In conclusion, Kaiser writes, "We Americans, inherently upbeat and optimistic, are not good at looking back. Perhaps that's why our country keeps making the same mistakes. But to think that by revisiting the past you transform the present is a mistake as well."

Read the complete essay at the Times' Web site.

In a 2002 column, Frank Kaiser wrote of his 45th class reunion at DePauw.  Learn more in this previous story.

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