I drive a school bus, bringing students from West Tisbury and Tisbury to the high school.

One day recently, as I was driving along, I picked up the microphone and spoke to the students, which I very rarely do. “There’s something on my mind,” I said, “Besides driving the bus.” Phone texting stopped; heads popped up. “It turns out,” I began, “that I graduated from high school 50 years ago this spring.” That was a conversation stopper for the two dozen teenagers, but I carried on.

I told them I graduated in 1965 from Wachusett Regional in Holden, a town just north of Worcester, in central Massachusetts. We had 400 kids in our class, more than double the average class size on Martha’s Vineyard.

Last fall, when I realized it had been a half-century since graduation, I nosed around to see who was planning a reunion, because if we ever deserved a reunion, the 50th would be appropriate. No one had any plans, so, although I’d never planned a reunion, I contacted a dozen or so classmates and formed a reunion-planning committee.

Our first meeting was in the former second grade classroom of the old Rice School, recently converted to condominiums. One of our classmates now lives there. In an old school? In a condominium? What was that about?

Our committee met several times over the course of this ever-lasting winter. While we were not that close in high school, really just acquaintances, with each meeting the bond among us grew. Now we feel we know each other much better than we did in high school. Our camaraderie is amazing. Whether it’s being the same age, 68, or classmates with a common past, we feel tighter than I ever imagined. The element of trust secures us. We enjoy getting together, at the meetings, on the phone or email.

A final note. The Class of ’65 had several reunions over the years. Twenty years ago I went to our 30th reunion. As I walked into the party, a teacher from Martha’s Vineyard walked in at the same time. We knew each other casually from high school, sitting beside each other senior year, as we were both class officers. Joyce offered to buy me a beer. She said, “It’s the 90s, it’s okay for a woman to buy a man a beer.” That’s all it took.

We spent the evening talking, dancing and catching up, oblivious to our classmates. Joyce invited me down to Martha’s Vineyard. I accepted. Two years later we were married, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I pulled the bus into the high school, and shared the end of my story. It was Joyce’s birthday, and my way of recognizing it was to acknowledge how dramatically my life changed after attending that reunion, back in 1995. Had I not gone to that reunion, someone else would be driving the school bus, and my life would have been very different.

Tom Dresser lives in Oak Bluffs and contributes occasionally to the Gazette.