Disclaimer: For those people that I did speak with, I’m glad I did. No offense meant here!
Ahhh, high school. For some it’s a time of angst and agony; for others it’s a time of growth and joy. For me, it was the latter. I came out of my shell in high school and had some of the best times of my life. I also made friends that shaped who I am, and that after forty years since graduating, I still want to have in my life. I’m lucky I do.
I went to a small high school that was only open for ten years. It’s most famous claim is that a good portion of “The Breakfast Club” was filmed there. Yep, I walked those steps. So, when it was announced that there was going to be an all class reunion last Friday night, I was thrilled!
I’ve officially attended six class reunions to date. Most of them were from the class ahead of me as truth be told, I liked them better! (Sorry class of ’75). I became an honorary member of their class and even get a name badge with a horrible yearbook picture on it at their reunions! Woo hoo!!
When I first found out about this event I was beyond excited. The reunions I’ve attended rank as the events in which latest I’ve stayed out the latest for in all these years. I’m a lightweight normally but when I’m with those people, something comes alive inside me and I never want the night to end!
Just in the week before however, I started to really rethink what this one would be like, after all forty years is a really, really long time. I wondered how much small talk would go around. I wondered how people would look – I’ve certainly changed and imagined how others had. Who would I recognize? Who would recognize me? Since it was an all class reunion, there would be people I had never seen at one; hadn’t laid eyes on in practically a lifetime!
On Friday I was exhausted and even wrestled with whether or not I would go. Friends had flown in however, and I knew I wanted to see them.
The event was at The Glenview House – aptly named that for being in Glenview on Glenview Road. In my younger and more vulnerable days (did I steal that line or what??) I frequented the place. Okay, I used to go there practically every night when I was single. So, going there just added to the nostalgia. (Note to organizers: don’t tell the bar that you expect 150 people and then have 350 show up!)
As I entered the room, there was a sea of former classmates. Only trouble was, they weren’t in my class and I was having a hard time recognizing ANYONE. I quickly found one girlfriend that I had planned to meet there, then another. We searched the crowd for familiar faces, stalking name tags to see if the name rang a bell. Not many did.
But as the night progressed, people found people. We found people. Never was the line “Oh my God it’s so good to see you” used more in one night. And the other lines “so what are you doing now?” and “you look great” (so standard and so forced in many cases! Hey, people may have lied to me about that too, just sayin’!) And after those questions were asked, there was awkward silence.
My awkward silence. Maybe it was just me wondering what the point of these reunions really were. Yes, it’s nice to see people you haven’t seen in awhile but after 40 years? Isn’t there a reason that those people weren’t in your life up until now? Does anyone kindle a solid friendship after that length of time?
Throughout the evening I ended up with the people that I’ve always kept in touch with and find great happiness in being around. Maybe I don’t see them that often, some only once a year but there is something to be said for that type of friend. You see them and you pick up exactly where you left off. There is an unspoken bond that you created at a time in life where you were literally growing up together. And those are the bonds that are important as we age.
At the very end of the night there we were: a couple of athletes, a couple of princesses, a brain, maybe a basket case, no criminals. We had all met at a time in our life when making friends was easy and worries were few.
I managed to stay out until 2AM. I drove home exhausted and feeling very serene and complete. Not from the 350 people that I squeezed between (wow, super huge fire hazard!) but from those few.
And that was good enough for me.
Things really do change with time.
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