Friday, March 17, 2000
High school reunions remembered
Should I go or shouldn't I go? Do I really want to go? Do I really want to miss it? Do I still have anything in common with those people? I'm sure everyone has thoughts something like that. Well, I went to two of mine and two of my husband's. My class had 150 members, and my husband's had nearly 1,000. Here are some of my theories, opinions really, about the whole high school reunion.
Tenth Reunion: I call it "Show and Tell." Actually, I missed this one but my informants tell me that it was still the same old "look at me," "see my beautiful spouse, car, house, etc." We were still too young, trying to be old and successful. Life is great. We really hadn't lived long enough to really succeed or really fail. In reality, we were no different than any other twenty-eight year old. Just being human.
Twentieth: Only the thin or rich attend this one. I went to this one. I was thinner at the time, and it really did seem that mostly the successful or still thin were in abundance. People haven't changed that much, people you had little in common with then, you still have little in common. Most of us have children. Some of the children are older than we were when we graduated, and some are quite young. We seem to each have our own life's time clock. The grandchildren are just beginning to arrive for some. I had a three-year-old, and one of the other women, an infant. The parental homes are mostly gone now and we have to stay in motels or with friends. We are the grownups now.
Thirtieth: "We must be in the wrong place, everyone I went to school with was young," was my husband's comment upon arrival at his thirtieth. "Who did you used to be?" Sometimes it's hard to tell. Name tags are most helpful, especially those with your graduation picture on it. Kids in college, parents starting to die. Nerds looking better each time, jocks starting to lose it or have already lost it. We didn't call them nerds in my day, but many of those Future Farmers of America have PhD's while Mr. Football hero has a beer belly.
Fortieth: Alive! I went to mine and my husband's. We all seem to have more things in common now. Gray hair, or perhaps gray roots, thinning hair, running to bald, most of us in glasses, and we are wearing comfortable clothes. When you are just glad to see someone alive, your whole attitude changes. The list of those who have passed on, grows, as does the list of those we have lost trace of. You wonder about their siblings, those little kids on the block. They don't seem like such a nuisance now. What happened to our older heros? The older guys, you know, the seniors. The older girls who wore make-up first. How many still have living parents? Does any one still live in the old family house? What do you remember about those good old years?
Everyone in the room from your class is the same age as you. They have a lot of the same background as you, and many of the same early school life experiences. We saw the same movies, danced to the same music, Elvis, and saw the start of television and the computer age. As children, we never dreamed that someday we would land on the moon. My aunt used to go outside and wave at the DC-3 when it passed overhead. Some of us have aged better than others, some you would know, some never. This rarely happens in other areas of your life. Your friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even relatives are usually different ages and from other parts of the country. It's not only weird, but also it is somehow comforting.
It's kind of like looking at what might have been. "There but for the grace of God . . ." Or could it be "Why couldn't I have . . ." Or "Who would have ever thought that she . . ." Personally, I don't think I would change a day of my life. All of the pieces of our lives go together to make us what we are today. Even though we all started out with similar hopes and early training, we still are unique individuals.
I guess it's a good thing that we cannot see what the future holds for us when we are just eighteen years old. We are just too young. How trivial we all were. Now as I look back at these dear people, some of whom I haven't seen for over forty years, we still don't know what the future holds. Yet we have a unique bond that can never be broken whether we come to the reunion or not. I am glad I went.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito