Thursday, July 24, 2008

Class Reunion..

... two words that can strike fear, excitement, indifference, or anticipation in the hearts of many.

My high school class reunion is this weekend.

My 30 year class reunion!

I still remember the day my mother drove off in our big green Pontiac to attend her 2oth reunion and I thought: God is she old.

Now I'm old plus 1o years.

Since I still live in the same area that I went to school, I've attended all of my reunions and even helped plan several. I believe we were a class of about 105 kids, small by some standards but I think smaller classes have more success at getting together than larger ones. I've met people who had hundreds in their class and don't even hold reunions.

I think we had a pretty nice group, but I meet people who vow to never attend their reunion, "I hated everyone in school and I don't ever want to see them again!" is a recurring theme.

When I was in school we certainly had our share of cliques. The jocks, the nerds, the greasers, and the plain old popular kids. I didn't fall into any of these categories and even though I was a cheerleader, I wasn't popular.

How on earth is that? you ask. Well, I could do a split and turn a cartwheel without falling on my butt, which is about all it took to make the team at my little school.

I've stated before that I was never really up to par when it came to the inner knowledge of girly things and I still stand by that. I had long frizzy hair when long straight hair was in. I wore coke bottle glasses until I was 15. I had chipmunk teeth (I didn't get braces until I was in my 20's). Halfway through my illustrious high school career I developed acne and gained such a large amount of weight so quickly that I have stretch marks on my hips and thighs as a result (I eventually managed to get rid of the weight and later on actually weighed less when 9 months pregnant than I did back then).

These qualities do not make for popularity.

But I certainly wasn't the only one with these issues, and I did have friends, and luckily wasn't tormented like some kids were.

By the time I graduated though, it seemed like everyone crossed those invisible 'cliquey' lines and became friends, and that's an unusual thing.

We hold our reunions every 5 years and I look forward to them each time. For the most part they've been pretty successful with some members arriving from all over the states, but I really wish those who have yet to attend, would.

The strange thing is that those who've come each year look the same, but those who've only came to the latest reunions have changed so much! Hmmm.

But it's funny how what made kids popular back then is not at all what would make someone desirable today. I remember at my 10th reunion when one of our nerdy classmates (chess club, camera club, good grades etc...) showed up with his beautiful wife who was sporting a huge diamond wedding ring and had a nanny for their 3 kids (I believe they have 5 kids now). He was so nice and so patient with his children (who bawled and fought through an entire picnic) and we 'girls' (just because we were unpopular didn't mean we wanted to date the unpopular boys!) were kicking ourselves because we hadn't been smart enough in school to see his potential.

What I like is that even though old friends end up gravitating to each other by the end of the evening, everyone takes the time to circulate and visit with those who they may not have been close to in school.

I still get a kick out of Betsy who has also attended each reunion. Betsy was in special ed back then and although we weren't friends I do look forward to seeing her now, because Betsy really just loves life and has so much fun. When I arrived at our last reunion 5 years ago I had a ton of junk (center pieces etc...) in my car and really needed help getting it into the building. Betsy and her boyfriend Bill (Betsy pronounces it Beeeyal) had just pulled in beside me.

"Thank God, Betsy!" I said. "I really need help getting this stuff in there." And I looked pointedly at Beeeyal.

"Sure, Honey, I'll help you, but Beeeyal can't, he has a bad back."

So Betsy (who was wearing what appeared to be a peach, satin prom dress) and I staggered into the building under the weight of all my junk and Beeeyal brought up the rear, carrying our purses which is all his bad back could handle.

In the last 5 years we've lost 3 of our friends to a brain tumor, an accident, and a suicide. I have distinct memories of each of them and my heart goes out to their families.

So Friday night I'll be wearing my Burda dress (since I haven't made anything else this summer!), introducing Hans to all my old friends, and will hopefully have a nice time.

And since I didn't get stuck planning this reunion, I'll give Beeeyal and his bad back a break.


Katie Alender said...

What a great post, Laura!

I went to an arts school for high school, so there weren't really "popular" kids, but I was definitely low-tier in junior high.

I wonder sometimes where the girls are who always managed to make me feel small and outsidery. I'm sure some of them are leading lives that are incongruous with their former glory, but I still imagine that they must be glamorous and somehow popular even as adults, and if I met them I'd be intimidated. Isn't that weird?

That dress is perfect! You'll get a ton of compliments.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I hope the reunion went well! I admit I passed on my 10 year. It didn't matter that I had gotten into a good law school and was performing well there and looked good (heh), I didn't want to show up without a date! It's funny how these things stick with us. I didn't have my first date until college and I just couldn't bear for everyone to know not much had changed. There's always 20 years...

laura said...

Katie, you know what? The girls who made you feel small don't even realize that they made you feel that way! And you wouldn't feel intimidated if you met them today because your life doesn't depend on their approval anymore.
Slapdash Sewist, showing up without a date would probably make you the envy of many of your unhappily married classmates! I went to my 25th without a date, I don't think anyone even noticed, and I had a great time because I didn't have to worry about whether a signifacant other was having fun or not!

Mary Witzl said...

That IS a great dress, and how I wish I could sew...

I've never even attended one of my high school reunions, but I can't imagine anyone would notice one way or other. And you're right: the kids who dissed me would not even remember they'd done it -- I was that forgettable.

Katie sounds like she had some of my experiences in high school, though we definitely DID have popular ones at our school, and I wasn't even on the radar. But I do not fear that if I showed up at a reunion, I'd lose what little self esteem I've managed to garner around the popular kids. Going through a miserable youth is almost a guarantee that the rest of your life will be better. Even if the glitzy crowd dissed me now, I'd know it wasn't the whole world.