Friday, October 2, 2009

events that change us...

High school reunions.

What does that bring to mind to you? Happy memories? Sad times? Does it bring up fond recollections?

These three small words evoke a series of emotions in me. The main one packs a punch in a mere seven letters.

Anxiety...

There really isn't any reason to be anxious, at least not yet. The notice said the reunion isn't until next July. I responded that they can plan on my attendance, but I'm already thinking that perhaps I may not go.

If I haven't stayed in communication with my classmates up to this point, why would I need to get in contact with any of them now?

My high school years weren't filled with the typical angst that you normally hear. It's not that I'm trying to escape the woes of those pubescent years. I was popular among all the different 'groups', if you will, and had a rather turmoil free existence in the halls. I was well liked by the teachers, except for one. Ms. Steel (don't call me Miss or Mrs) explained it as she "expects more from me than the others". I thought she was just being as her last name suggested. Or something that starts with a capitol B.

I was on the track team. I even held a school record at one time. I'm sure it's been surpassed by now. I was in ski club. Until they canceled some of the trips for kids being kids. Weren't we supposed to push the boundaries and try to sneak alcohol? Hello? And I was on the cross country team, but hated running long distances. I was there for the camaraderie. No other sport was as close as the cross country team.

I was invited to all the dances. I went to all the parties. I was voted best dressed of my senior class.

It was all pretty drama free.

No. There isn't any reason why I shouldn't want to go back and reminisce my high school years. There was some heartbreaking experiences. Like when Buffy, the rich biatch of our school, decided she wanted something. Which one year was my boyfriend, the football center. That was pretty hard on my tender young ego.

I remember the outfit I made to wear for Ohio State - Michigan games. Do you remember the corduroy pants that had different colored panels on the legs? In my consistent vein of staying neutral, I made my own patchwork pants. My left side was red and gray, the right was blue and yellow. I know, clever wasn't it. Great fashions of the times. There is even be a year book photo of it somewhere. Although who would know...the photos are all black and white.

And I remember the extremely funny events which remain fresh in my memory. Like when Cleo thought she could make the switch from cheerleader to sprinter. Let's just say she was a little heavy. On top. I do believe every male in the school were in attendance for that spectacle.

When I ran into her on campus at Indiana University years later, I said, "Hi Cleo!"

"It's Charlotte."

Well, excuse me. Correction taken. The next time I saw her was as a centerfold for Playboy. Not as if that was shocking to anyone. I'm guessing she won't be on the confirmed guest list attending the reunion. Although if she were, I'd place bets that all the males would again, be there to witness it.

No, I certainly don't have the Bruce Springstein's attitude of the "Glory Days" of high school. There wasn't anything in high school that I look back and think, "Sure do wish I were back in High School, those were the days..."

Most of my favorite high school memories revolve around the "Happy Bunch". Gordon, Dave, Mike and I; we were inseparable. One afternoon Gordy's dad coined our name. In total deadpan, he said, "Oh, it's the "Happy Bunch'." And it stuck. I recently had the pleasure to catch up just a bit with Gordy, thanks to Facebook. It had been twenty-eight years since I spoke to him, and yet here we were back to sounding like two teenage kids yaking on the phone. He even came to my mothers funeral a few months ago. But I've no idea what happened to the other two. Gordo's lost track of them as well.

Time is a funny thing.

This weekend I'm attending a childhood friends wedding. I'm so happy for her! It's her second marriage. The first was quite a challenge, to put it mildly. She endured a string of deception and disappointment, along with four children now mostly grown.

She lived caddy-corner from me growing up. Her birthday was two days before mine and we did everything together growing up. We were a synchronized swimming duet team for the Flamingo Club. I was the one under the water pushing her up so she could get all the 'ooooh's and aaaah's' things with her legs above the water. I was the unseen power behind it.

It was nice when she moved into our neighborhood. Before Beth, it was all guys...and me. We had a Girl Power clubhouse in the crawl space above my garage, before the term girl power was even coined. We dressed alike. We rode the same bicycles. We had the same haircut. When leaving the house, my mom would say, "Where are you going?"

"Beth's house!", was always the reply.

Or some days it would be just the opposite conversation at her house. "Nancy's house!"
And that's how it was. Until high school.

Then Beth became a band geek, and I wasn't. I was still friends with Beth, but she had her own posse by that time and we didn't hang out much anymore. We still got together for our birthdays, but it just wasn't the same.

Beth got pregnant in our senior year. She left school in January. She quietly got married and had a daughter about the time I left for college. As her father was a pastor, that was the only road available to her.

Our lives that seemed so much alike in our early years, had taken a drastic turn down different paths. And we lost touch. But again, thanks to the Internet and Instant Messaging we have maintained pretty good contact in recent years. It blows me away when she talks about her grandchildren when my daughter is just in fifth grade.
It's like in the movie Mr. Destiny with Jim Belushi. When you can pinpoint a specific event that would totally transform your life.

Beth's life was changed in high school.

The stark correlations between our two lives makes me ponder how disparate my own life would be had I changed a few of my own choices. Would it be better? Would I be happier? Richer, poorer, thinner, wiser?

Who knows.

A bloggy friend of mine at 'Your not my Real Mom' wrote a post recently that has stayed with me for weeks. Her stepdaughter was telling her about a classmate at fifteen who planned to get pregnant. Fifteen! Planned! The two words when talking about pregnancy shouldn't even be in the same sentence. It made me think about my friend Beth and how that changed her life. But Beth's pregnancy was an accident, not planned. The movie Juno glorified teenage pregnancy, but at fifteen you aren't prepared to make decisions for yourself, let alone care for an infant.

On the other hand, my having waited until I was in my thirties to have a child puts me on the other end of the scale. Although in my social circle, there are more mothers my age than not.

But all this leads me back to the reunion. I wonder what happened to the people I used to know from class and eat lunch with? It would be interesting to put the new, older faces with the names of my youth. But if I've lived thus far without having them be part of my bubble, do I need or want to get together with them now?

I guess I don't need to make a decision right away. The reunion is over nine months away.

Nine months is time enough to have another child. Or get married. Or go to the gym.

I think the most viable option is the gym.
And if I DO decide to go, I've got my eye on this wonderfully slinky black ensemble.
If I were ten pounds lighter would make it look just killer.

After all, I was the best dressed of my senior class.

I might as well stay there.
:-)


30 comments:

  1. As long as you wear those killer sunglasses for your grand entrance:).

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  2. That was so interesting to read. I am kind of in the opposite position. Because of the internet I am still in touch with a lot of people from high school. This makes me feel like I already know what they are up to, why would I want to go to a reunion. Showing off the hot hubby is always a good reason!

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  3. My favorite memories of high school were smoking pot first thing in the morning then realizing I was too high for school and not going. I'm a poet. You should go.

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  4. Hi Nancy, the thought of a reunion gives me the willies. I was never cool, popular or sporty, nor was I bullied. I was just a bright kid who was tall, and was largely accepted/ignored. I've moved on, done tons of stuff I'm proud of and not so proud of, and have come to terms with all of it alongside people who are part of my life. I have no sense of nostalgia about the people or the places, other than the realisation that life was a damned sight simpler back then. I like to move forwards. Indigo

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  5. You have lots of memories about High School. That's awesome. My high school years were seriously boring. Not popular, not unpopular. Anyways, it's so cool that you had a group of friends that you were really tight with. Maybe if they all go, you should go. Hm?

    Besides, if you go, just think of all the blog material you'd come back with.

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  6. You have to see how you feel closer to the event, and who's going. I was glad I went to mine last summer, but I wouldn't go again without knowing certain people would attend.

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  7. Nice post! Hopefully we'll hear more about Beth after this weekend?

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  8. Go to the high school reunion...u r a lucky one. There are so many people who despite wanting to have such parties desperately, never have them !!!

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  9. Love the new blog layout!!!! I'm here getting caught up on a week's worth of blog reading, now that I can actually sit up on the couch without my head exploding!!!! Happy Saturday!

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  10. I had a middle of the road kind of HS life. Liked by everyone, but not necessarily "popular" - what the H does that mean anyways? The "popular" people I knew were never particularly nice so I never understood how that worked. I'm not crazy about HS reunions, but I love re-connecting with my elementary school friends. Anyways, lovely post! Have a grand weekend! - G

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  11. Finding some of my old HS acquaintances on Facebook has made me realize that there are only a handful of people that I care to reconnect with in real life. The rest of them? Well, there's a reason we haven't talked in 18 years. I'm seriously doubtful I'll attend my 20 yr reunion.

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  12. I think I'd rather catch up with just a few people via facebook than go to a HS reunion. I look through my yearbook now and don't remember most of the people. (After all, it HAS been 38 years!) To be honest, I'd rather spend the money on visiting some new friends... for instance, I'd love to go to BlogCamp!

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  13. I have successfully avoided all reunions, simply because the people worth taking along for the journey I have stayed in touch with. A reunion is like a Facebook concentration camp, in my book - you swiftly discover a few friend requests down the line that some people you let drift for a very good reason.

    Having said that, turning up in a slinky little dress after losing 10lbs and looking fabulous would probably be cool..

    Anna
    x

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  14. @LPC - Ha! I'll wear the sunglasses! Because...c'mon, sing along..."My futures so bright, I gotta wear shades!"

    @Meagan - Ahhhh, if only I had a 'hot hubby'! I guess I could HIRE someone, just like in that movie where Debra Messing went to the wedding and brought a male escort! :-)

    @Carlos - I can picture you in high school..."too high to go" you were like Jeff Spicoli!

    @Indigo - I'm with you on the 'moving forward'! It's a great direction to go.

    @Theresa - You are soooo correct! There would be blog fodder galore! That's enticing. That may be the only reason I WOULD go!

    @Maureen - Well, YOU looked fabulous from your pictures at your reunion. I'm not sure who is going or not. That would definitley make an impact on my decisin for sure!

    @Possum - Yes, I'll get you updates on the wedding tomorrow! Pray for sun! It's been raining for days...and it's planned to be outdoors! (although they DO have a backup plan.)

    @asit dhal - You DO have a good point. I've plenty of time to decide! (but I'll keep your suggestion in mind...)

    @Julie - Thanks! And yes, I hope as well that your head does in fact, not fall off. Glad you are feeling better!

    @Georgina - I agree! Some of my favorite teachers and memories of friends were from elementary. But I don't believe they have those reunions....at least not around here. :-(

    @Sharon - that is the where I think I may just skip it. I'm pretty happy with those around me now...but it would be fun to see if the hot guy in high school is still hot, or fat and bald now.
    :-)

    @Cat Lady Lerew - I have a friend that has all these friends from his high school that befriended him in high school. Or asked at least. He said, I didn't like them then, so why would I like them now on Facebook?
    Good point.

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment! I appreciate hearing your thoughts!!!
    :-)

    Nancy

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  15. I skipped my reunion. But if I had had as great an experience as you speak of - involved in lots of clubs and going to all the dances, perhaps I would have looked back on those years more fondly and been looking forward to it. 9 months is a long long time. I'd probably vacillate back and forth at least 25 times before then. Good luck with your decision :D

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  16. I only stay in touch with a couple of friends from high school. I kinda hung out with the 'bad' kids so when I finally came to my senses, I left them so that cut my friend numbers in half. xD But they did give me some interesting memories to look back on.

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  17. I was voted Class Muncher.
    Relax...
    It mean I liked to snack. I was always eating. And, at 90lbs, I could afford to shover every last tater tot in my pie hole.
    Those days are G-O-N-E.

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  18. I haven't ever attende a reunion. Publicly, I say I didn't have anything in common with them then, why should I go? Privately, I've think I'd be a little sad to see how the super popular kids turned out. I hated high school.

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  19. @Anna - "A reunion is like a Facebook concentration camp"...HA! That is hysterical! Love it!

    @Carma - I'll waffle back and forth a slew of times before the date arrives. But I've already decided to buy that outfit....just in case.;-)

    @Insanity - There are some people from my high school that I was GLAD to leave behind. And yes, those that matter are still around!

    @JenJen - Class Muncher! We didn't have that category! But at 90 pounds, if you weren't eating all the time, you might have dissappeared!

    @Fumbling - I don't really WANT to be there, but I DO want to be a fly on the wall. :-)

    Thanks you guys for yor comments!!!! You made my weekend!
    :-)

    Nancy

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  20. It sounds like the reunion would be fun if you were to go; seeing all the people who once made an impact on your life in one way or another and where the road has taken them since then. Besides, you have so many good stories to tell and share with them; they'd miss out if you weren't there :)

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  27. Yes. Yes to it all.
    A few minor adjustments (theatre geek, voted "preppiest", 2nd grade daughter) and you could have been writing my story.
    I'm staring down the barrel of my 25th HS Reunion coming in June, 2010. I'm still on the fence about it.
    Thank you for this witty, if very life mirroring, post. Better than my morning coffee.

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  28. Hahaha! Excellent post! Sorry I'm so far behind!

    I've never kept in touch with the folks I graduated with, and I'm fine with that. I was a pretty socially-awkward individual growing up, so I wasn't really a popular guy. I mean, I wasn't picked on and people were nice to me, but I didn't really have much of a social life.

    I hear about all these people now, and most of them are married and have four to five kids by now. Not this guy. I want to focus on my career, become successful, and settle down before I start a family. I have a feeling that if I were to attend a reunion, I wouldn't have much in common with them to talk about. So I'll just stay up here where my life is now. I like it better that way. :)

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Do it. Do it NOW!
:-)