In years that, to my aging eyes and perception, have seemed to fly by, I have attended high school reunions, then college reunions and after that, various graduate school reunions, always in the same hurried succession.

At every one, whether the celebration is of 10 years, 25 years, 50 years, or, as my college frames it, “after the 55th, when every year is considered a reunion year,” when we gather for conversation that should be “meaningful,” we often stumble clumsily through accounts of varying degrees of prosperity (or sometimes of outright want) and tales of families that look great in handy photos, but turn out to be failing in one way or another.