When the notice of my 40th high school reunion arrived, my immediate reaction was, “This can’t possibly be right. I’m not THAT old.” But a little quick math (2012 – 1972 = 40 ?!?) told me it was true.
And quick on the heels of that thought was, “Even if am that old, I have no wish to live in the past.”
But then I had a voicemail from the former class president—a really nice guy—somebody I’d always gotten along with. We weren’t that close, but I sensed we both yearned for something more out of life. I don’t know what he hoped for—but we recognized that in each other.
So that made me curious. As I recall, he was a runner and a good writer. What had he done with his life? That led to wondering about a few other people, and the Go/No Go debate was on.
I can think of a million reasons NOT to go. Here are four—
1. The reunion is in Ohio. I live in Minnesota.
2. I haven’t thought about high school or most of those people in years—why start now?
3. I have no desire to network with the insurance sales people or financial advisors in the group.
4. I don’t want to be squashed back into the shy insecure persona I had years ago just so I fit somebody’s memory of me.
1. When I went to my 20th reunion, it was fun.
2. People seemed to remember my essential self—my best qualities—not how dorky I was.
3. They were kind. And genuinely pleased to see me . . . despite the prank I played with my profile in the memory book (The idea of bragging was distasteful to me, so I decided to be as outrageous as possible. I claimed to have won the Nobel Peace prize, to have married a rocket scientist, and to be raising two child prodigies. I assumed that description was so over-the-top that everyone would know I was joking. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, so then I felt bad for mocking the profiles).
4. Certainly, after 40 years, we’ve all gotten over high school. No one cares any more about who was cool and who wasn’t. Now we’re all old (and therefore uncool).
Gawd, I sure hope we no longer have to prove anything to each other. Many of us wanted to be somebody, do something, make a mark. Did we? I don’t know, but I hope my classmates are at peace with whatever success (or lack of) they have.
Maybe I prefer to imagine that members of the class of 1972 at Central Catholic High School are content with their lives. I’m not sure I want to find out if some of them are still insecure and wearing their accomplishments like merit badges . . . .
After forty years, my classmates feel as I do: fond of some genuinely nice people I used to know.
What do you think—Should I go? Or not? Let me know!
If your 40th reunion is looming out there in the future, will you go?
Amazing But Good
Today, the Star Tribune reported, “Minnesota’s biggest Boy Scout group said that gays and lesbians remain welcome in its troops.” I applaud the Northern Star Council, which represents 75,000 Boy Scouts in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, for their inclusive stance—a position that bucks the national Boy Scouts of America policy banning openly homosexual people from participating in the Boy Scouts. See my June 21st blog, “A Parental Dilemma” for more on this topic.
GO. I’m in Atlanta, writing after the casual loungey get-together before the big event tomorrow night. I don’t live here. I only went to this high school for two years. I haven’t seen or heard from these people in at least 25, or in some cases 45, years. I remember their names and their essences but not much more. I hardly recognize them. But they’re wonderful, interesting, curious, welcoming, generous folk. Maybe those are the only kind who attend reunions. It’s well worth the gas/air fare, if only for the stories. GO.
P.S. I love your picture.
I say go and just enjoy the flashback! I relunctantly went to my 40th reunion and was very glad I did. I also live in Minneasota and the reunion was in Missouri. I didn’t believe anyone would really remember me and was pleasantly surprise. I’m pleased that I went.
You’ve got my vote for for “GO!” If people believed your “outrageous” claim to the Nobel Prize, then they recognized that it was plausible given what they knew of you in high school. Reunions are great places for introverts to finally socialize on a level playing field as adults and rediscover what they might have in common with others who shared a similar geographical upbringing. And hey, maybe it’s not so much the single reunion event. It could be more. Go back “home” and reconnect with the place and people who contributed to your formative years… And yes, plenty of fodder for the blog!
I have never gone to any of my high school reunions and always wonder if I should, but I’ve never even actually heard of any occurring. I felt like such a misfit in high school that it’s hard to believe that it would be any different all these years later. But your post makes me wonder if I should try to make the next one. And I love the puffed-up profile (people really took it seriously?).
I say GO! If your 20th was fun, the 40th should be even better. And, you will likely obtain some good material to blog about.