University of Nebraska’s class of 1980 reunites for
laughs and for life
Written by Bill Barna (Nebraska ’84)
Bettering ourselves wasn’t our first thought when we began planning our 40th (plus one) class reunion. Truth be told, it wasn’t a thought at all. Not that we’re against self-improvement, mind you.
After leaving the University of Nebraska, our class to a man put a concerted effort into bettering our careers, lives, and communities (with notable results, I might add). For this event, though, we all focused on one thing, fun.
October 1 and 2 were intended to be a chance to catch up, a chance to laugh, a chance to feed our Nebraska football obsession. The Huskers did their part in impressive fashion, defeating Northwestern 56-7. The reunion’s Friday night reception attended by wives and partners great significant updates on what the years produced in family and occupation.
Laughter was non-stop too, from the first moment we gathered through our group photo at the House on Saturday. The joy was heightened by who and how many brothers made the trip back. A big percentage of our class, 26 of 32, came back to Lincoln from parts near and far.
Big Guy, Little Guy, Boxie, Bergie, Fish, EI, Gimme, TK, TO, Tubey, Junior, Zeke, Marchy, and more. All were back feeling at least for a moment like 40 years was a day. The weekend was all fun and games until it wasn’t. At some point, without a prompt from anyone, we felt a different energy. The emotion was dialed up. As we marveled at how easily our friendships meshed after all these years, we realized, better yet, confirmed just how lucky we were.
Four years forty years ago shaped our lives in ways we thought we fully knew. The rapport and the pleasure of knowing our brothers were truly great guys (True Gentlemen in every sense of the word) moved us all. The guys who hadn’t been to the house in a decade or more teared up in its presence and spoke passionately about its standards being upheld in their absence.
Grown men not normally accustomed to sharing their feelings told other grown men not normally accustomed to sharing their feelings, “I love ya, brother.”
Over the course of our 40th (plus one) reunion, we got the bigger picture of what had happened over the years. Our bond grew not diminished over time, and we were smart enough to realize that’s a rare thing.
Our friendships and the SAE bond shaped us and continue to shape us. The moment that was our reunion went fast, but the moment was not lost on us. SAE was four years in our teens and twenties, but more accurately, SAE was for life. For that, we are eternally grateful.