To Reunion or Not to Reunion…that is the question.

February 10, 2011

Though I still feel like I have the unrelenting hopeful spirit of a high school graduate, my 40th reunion is just around the corner. OMG! There are pictures floating thru internet space of me looking like one of Julie Andrew’s charges in Sound of Music. I think that yellow dress was actually made out of an old curtain my grandmother was throwing away.

I rarely think of high school. When I do I break out in a cold sweat. Those were certainly the most awkward years of my life…now, why would I want to revisit them in any way, shape, or form?

I was a geek. Trust me. 6’ tall, 110 lbs. in wet pegged Levi’s and 2 lbs. of hairspray. Not one boy, not one, gave me a second look. Who could blame them. I was taller than 99% of them and I had “DESPERATE” written all over me. When I saw an opportunity to trick a brand new guy, obviously lonely and awkward himself, into coming to a party at my house, I took it.  I told him that all my friends would be there and I would love to introduce him.

When he accepted my invitation, I almost died on the spot. I had never been invited to a high school party and certainly never hosted one. I went to the one BFF I had and told her what I had done. We had 2 days to accomplish a guest list and something that resembled a pre-planned gathering.

Poor Schmuck. He arrived on time and must have thought that;  A. He was at the wrong house (hence not another car in sight),  B. The party had been canceled,  or C. He had been duped. I’m pretty sure that when he walked in to find only me, my BFF and collectively our 3 younger brothers, he knew he had been shanghaied. What high school boy doesn’t come to a party in hopes of finding a keg, cheer leaders and an atmosphere of reckless abandon.

Okay, now get this. Monopoly, with half the players pre-pubescent…not exactly a testosterone fest; my mother wearing her best apron enthusiastically serving trays of warm chocolate chips cookies… looking nothing like a cheer leader; and milk for dipping  those cookies instead of a plastic cup of ‘Bud’ from a freshly tapped keg.

He stayed anyway. The ambush was successful. I had a boyfriend!

For two years he was my EVERYTHING. I couldn’t imagine a day without him. Now 40 years later, I don’t know where he is or what he is doing.  The class of ‘71 has diminished in numbers. There are those who have passed away and those who can’t be found. There are those looking for misplaced friends and soul mates, and those recalling long forgotten memories. Countless pictures are surfacing that prove 40 years is a long, long time.

So in deliberating “to reunion or not to reunion”, the attending column would definitely have more weight if I thought  no one would notice I am in-fact the same geek only now nearly 60 and an inch shorter(can we say osteoporosis); my size 4 Levi’s have been replaced by the size 14’s, or that I look somewhat like the Shar pei Puppy version of my senior picture?

One thing 40 years has taught me is that life is short and unpredictable. There are grown-up Black Tornado’s (that’s right, my mascot!), who back then, smiled at me in the hall and made my day…who included me in note passing in Social Studies and who sometimes joined my table of fellow geeks in the cafeteria. Now that I think about it there were about 500 other kids that probably felt much like I did…uncomfortable, unsure, uneasy.

We now know not one of us existed in pure form. Those were the thoughts of teen idolatry. Each of us was a mixture of thespian, geek, quarterback and cheerleader. The high school playing field has been leveled with time…we have all experienced loss, disillusionment, victories.  Some geeks are now secure, enjoying luxury. Others, for whom we predicted easy success, are still finding their way.

It turns out we are more alike than we are different. The differences are in the details. If we can remember our commonalities while revisiting familiar faces, shared memories and dreams, we may experience our high school years influenced more by the knowing of ‘what we were’ than ‘what we were not’.

13 Responses to “To Reunion or Not to Reunion…that is the question.”

  1. Great article! I’ve recently been finding a lot of my high school friends thanks to Facebook. It’s interesting to see how people change and how they stay the same. And how sweet it is to remember that time long ago that we shared.

    PS I think you looked ADORABLE and GORGEOUS and not the least bit awkward!

  2. B- you can’t see that the boyfriend is standing on a soap box and my legs were the dimension of a pencil… but thanks…wish you were a Black Tornado

  3. First, I agree with Barbara- You’re GORGEOUS. Too bad you didn’t know it!

    I, too, am trying to decide whether to attend my reunion this Summer (30th). Facebook reunions sort of take away that urge – now that I know where most of them are and how they’re doing.
    I went to the 20 year and had a blast reconnecting with everyone. Back in the day, I was friends with the nerds, the artists, the stoners, the socials, pretty much everyone, so it was fun to see them all again. Like you, I found that the jocks were unemployed and struggling and the nerds drove up in Porsches with trophy wives. I was so happy for the nerds. I was always rooting for them!

    If you do decide to go, you have to blog about it!

  4. melody Says:

    I am going thru the same thing!! Same year! Same everything! Other than you are truly gorgeous and that boyfriend of yours a knock out!!!!!

  5. Wendy Thompson Says:

    Wow Kristine! Your daughters look so much like you when you were younger. AND you know how beautiful they are! I love your writing and insight. Go to the reunion. Most of them have changed like you have and I bet you will connect with many and have a great time. You have so much to offer. Love you friend!!

  6. Madge Woods Says:

    I have gone to every reunion and been on every committee. It has been a blast. No one gives a shit what everyone has made of themselves. They are just happy to share the day and believe the men look so much worse than the women. Go, share and delight in the stories of your past. I was surprised who confessed at each reunion how much they secretly loved me but never acted on it. All the boys I thought didn’t like me. It was refreshing.

  7. Carol Donohue Says:

    I graduated in 1968 from an all-girls Catholic high school…(our school closed it’s doors in 1971 and merged with an all-boys campus). We were 85 Seniors. I recall so much of those 4 great years, and attend an annual luncheon of all the classes from 1944 on…approx 200 women in all turn up to recollect their years.There is always a new surprise from the class of ’68. Someone always has an annual and news of someone we have been wondering about. Those luncheons are filled with laughter, Nun jokes, Catholic Jokes, tales long-since-told, and always one or two we wish were not recalled, but smile at the embarrassment anyway. You are going to have a blast. Enjoy darling. You were a beauty, as you are today.Beautiful.

  8. Anna Powell Says:

    This is lovely, Kristine.

    I think you’d have a ball if you went 🙂

  9. Ann Says:

    What a fun read! I could relate to lots of it. I have not attended any of my reunions, h.s. or college … but attended my husband’s h.s. which was fun. At that one I found out a good friend of mine was married to the quarterback, small world. Go, have a great time, and write about it so we can enjoy it too.

  10. Cathlene Says:

    Oh my … do not tell me you went to Glendale High School and are planning on going to the reunion in March?

    • Cathlene…I lived in South Pasadena Ca. till I was 13…then moved to Medford Oregon.
      Can we say Culture Shock! Home of the black tornadoes and in the 60’s not a person of color for hundreds of miles

  11. wordvein Says:

    never short of breathtaking…because even at so young an age you radiated from within. how lucky that your daughters are both blessed with such a gift as well 🙂 love you all

  12. Cynthia Says:

    This was a great post. I could relate to this…I remember how awkward I was in high school as well. I never had the guts to throw a party however…always wanted to.

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