How long ago did you graduate from high school? Do you have a yearly class reunion, or was your school so small that graduates from all classes can now easily meet in your Grange Hall?

Eighteen of us graduated from St. George High School in 1953, putting us in second place behind one larger class that boasted 22.

There might have been 30 of us in the eighth grade, but in those days, an unmarried 18-year-old girl was a spinster. Some of the boys, unable to resist new cars and big money, quit school and went lobstering or on their uncle’s dragger full time.

Once a year, just about the time we’re thinking about setting out our squash and cucumbers, about 100 of us get together in the Tenants Harbor Odd Fellows Hall. We feast on the kind of home-cooked food you only find in rural Maine, and then stand for a roll call of classes.

Remember your first roll call? Only those of us who have experienced the gut-wrenching fear entailed in a marriage ceremony can identify with a 17-year-old at his first high school reunion and roll call of classes. A few mature souls might compare it with opening a letter from their future ex-spouse’s attorney.

In St. George, the emcee started with, “Prior to 1901 …,” the year of the first formal graduation, whereupon a feeble old relic got to her feet, wearing one of the ancient dresses that a woman of 75 still considered fashionable in 1953.

After rattling off her annual piece about attending classes in “the old sail loft,” she finally sat down, and the emcee continued: “1902 … 1903 … .”

When the emcee got to “1932 …,” my mother, who played for most every event in town, got up from her piano stool on the stage and waved to her aged classmates, who were also standing. They were 37 years old.

Do you know what I’m talking about here? By the time they got to “1950 … 1951 … 1952 …,” my heart was pounding and my eyes were glassy and my face was red because I knew that at “1953 …,” I was obligated to stand up and say my name. Just as if there was somebody there who didn’t know it. My voice squeaked, and everyone laughed.

What? Perhaps you’ve never seen a stone-cold sober groom pass out from sheer fright after saying, “I do.”

All this was brought to mind by a crisp invitation in the morning’s mail, reminding me that once again it was time to reserve our seats at the banquet. Those of us who graduated 60 or 70 years ago understand why the young folks who now run things like to have us pay for our tickets as soon as possible.

Every year I see our Alumni Banquet from yet another perspective.

My mother’s cousin, “Aunt” Gert, was in the first graduating class in 1901. I graduated in 1953, which was only 52 years later. So I’ve now been out of school 62 years, or 10 years longer than Aunt Gert in 1953.

In other words, to the kids graduating in 2015, I am as old as a person born in 1875 was to me. Not nice to think of.

On the other hand, one of the more pleasant aspects of our golden years is the “Last Man Club” bottle of cognac that is displayed at alumni meetings in some of our more progressive small Maine towns.

This practice of having a bottle that goes to the last surviving member of the organization might have originated with World War I veterans who had served in France. As you know, the flask eventually finds its way into the hands of the last person to show up at the last reunion. He or she gets to drink it, which might finish off the winner on the spot.

Even the youngest alumni of St. George High School are getting along in years, because we were conned into entering a school administrative district with Thomaston and shut down around 1963.

So it might be time to incorporate this last-person bottle of cognac into our own program. I will have to ask Reggie, who runs the whole show, if he thinks it would be feasible.

Because St. George is made up of several villages, each with its own identity and idiosyncrasies, a problem with our little group might be in deciding if Port Clyde, Tenants Harbor or Wiley’s Corner would have possession of the bottle for the ensuing year.

As a survivor from Wiley’s Corner, I would not be surprised to see a herring choker from Port Clyde who had been entrusted with the precious bottle to show up empty-handed the following year.

I can already hear him saying, “I heard you died, so I drank it.”

The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland and visited at his website: