Last night I trapsed through my high school reunion. Twenty years. I spent a little time at my five year reunion in a park, my first son toddling around and the second son only two months old. It was an easy afternoon under a park pavilion and I still remembered who everybody was even though I had few friends in high school.
Now it’s been twenty years. I figured it’s been just long enough for all of us to grow up and grow into careers, have families on the way in or the way out–or both. A couple of my classmates are grandparents, and I’m not far behind. I just celebrated my twentieth anniversary and I drop my oldest off at college on Wednesday. My second son is only a few years behind. And I’ll still have my daughter home for another ten years. She’ll be learning to drive when the other two are getting married.
I had no real expectation or agenda for this reunion. Apparently my class has had some event every five years, but until one of them found me on Facebook, I had no idea any of it was going on, but I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. I was never one of the cool kids, and though there were a few of us at the reunion who spent high school on the fringes, the bulk of the attendees were still the same people who had been involved in everything during those four years. Sports, student government, plays, dances…
In high school, I was a smart jock on the outside and a beautiful mess inside. I played three sports and quit them all before my senior year, was managing editor of the school paper, wrote most of the sports articles, won English Sterling Scholar, finished with a rockin’ GPA and ACT score, got kicked out of AP English and pre-calculus on a regular basis, missed enough days to equal more than a full quarter of the school year, and couldn’t wait to leave it all behind. I got married two months after graduation and moved on from all of it.
But I didn’t move on–or, at least, I didn’t leave it all behind. I ran into some great old friends that I never would have found if I hadn’t gone last night. Even though I wasn’t in any of the pictures in the flashback slideshow, I reconnected with the woman who was the best friend I had for those final two years of high school. I also reconnected with the guy who sat next to me in math class and helped me keep my sanity by being my partner in crime. They are people I genuinely miss. My math class friend kept a poem I wrote. Twenty years later, he still has it…somewhere :).
Will I go again in five years? You bet. Even if it’s the same thing and I see those same two people again, it’s worth the new shirt, maybe a new pair of shoes, and a little spit shine on my diamonds. I hope to see others there next time–those who couldn’t make it, I guess, but mostly those who still worry that they’ve made something of their lives.
You’re good enough, I promise.