When it comes to school reunions, there are those who don’t like them and never attend and those like me who never miss one.
I like to see how people have turned out. Not just the career or job that has kept them sheltered from the storm, but what do they do for fun? What interests them? What have they done with their lives? How have they overcome disappointments? Are they content? And, of course, what good books have they read lately that I need to read?
I’ve been to a lot of school reunions. Since Jimmie was a year ahead of me in high school, I get to see his class members a year before my class reunites. He was only in our high school for two years, so since my sister was in his graduating class and I hung around with her friends, I’ve known his classmates a lot longer than he has.
I was his date at his first class reunion, the ten-year. He was my husband the following year at my class reunion. That was the most pretentious of the reunions when people were back to impress others with what they had done. Still I had a good time. Plus I won the portable TV door prize.
At the twenty-year class reunion, we classmates opened up more and discussed our cute kids, but mostly it was bragging, since our kids weren’t all that old. We glanced at yearbook picture nametags and laughed at hairdos when we were 18.
By thirty years, we still talked about kids, (mostly adult kids) this time not just bragging, but also the hardships we’d suffered from worry about them and their decisions. We also really needed those nametags so we knew who others were. Hair had thinned, waistlines had thickened, but eyes remained as ever the same.
We were just people sharing memories and laughing at the fashions we wore back when we were in high school or even when we were at the ten-year reunion. We had gone so many different directions since we had marched to Pomp and Circumstance, and yet so many of our experiences were the same, and the emotions matched. We had all discovered that people are the most important thing in our lives. Friends and family are the core.
At the forty-year reunion, we opened up even more and talked about regrets and was it too late to do some of the things we had dreamed of when we were young? And I think when we hit the big decade marker, we’ll still be looking back with laughter and with wisdom and will share that we took the challenge issued at the fortieth and went on that long dreamed of trip or bought an easel and set it up and tried our hand at expressing life through painting or decided to run for public office.
“It’s no use to go back to yesterday because I was a different person then,” Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but I think there is a use in looking back at our yesterdays because we are the sum of all those days.
My school is having an all-school reunion this month, (not ready for my fiftieth yet!) and I’m looking forward to seeing my past before my eyes again. And I urge all of you, whether you had a grand time in high school or not, whether you made lifelong friends there or not, to reunite with your classmates and see all the different roads that have been traveled to get to this present time. I guarantee you’ll see real character and courage in people you may not have known well before, and you’ll widen your life by making the re-acquaintance.
You may also expand your reading list.