Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ten Year Reunion

It's 2am, my room is a mess, I haven't packed and I am leaving the country tomorrow. Perfect time to write on my blog, right? I thought so too. I have had too much caffeine and don't think I will be able to sleep soon. Also I have literally just gotten home from my high school reunion so this should be pretty fresh.

I am going to try my best to not talk bad about anyone in this post even though some of my funniest comments would be at someone else's expense. For the sake of human decency and the fact that anyone could read this, I will try to be nice.

Movies often feature high school reunions as do TV shows. In fact, one of my favorite episodes of Golden Girls is when the girls go to a local high school reunion to make up for Rose missing hers in St. Olaf. They pick up other people's nametags and Rose becomes Asian foreign exchange student, Kim Fong Choi. Obviously hilarious times ensue.

I know a lot of people dread their high school reunions and avoid them like the plague. I actually really liked high school. I had some good friends and some really fun times. I don't think I was very popular but I also wasn't unpopular. My favorite book, Stuff White People Like, says as a white person that I was supposed to hate high school, but I don't.

A lot of people don't want to go to their reunion because they haven't kept in touch with people from high school. Luckily my best friend, Sarah, went to my high school. When I realized that the ten year mark was coming up, I anticipated the whole experience being a lot better since I would have a friend to attend with and talk to in case things got awkward. Unfortunately those dreams were dashed when Sarah had to work. Stupid space shuttle! (She works for NASA.) Despite the horror stories and having to go Sarah-less, I was determined to go because I just knew I would have a good time. Well, I was right.

I didn't know what to expect. I thought they might have inflatable moon walks and one of those booths where you grab the cash swirling around inside. These things were at our school sponsored post-grad party. This was more like a wedding reception with no bride and groom. It was the ultimate in people watching. It was liking being at the airport but you are supposed to know a majority of the people. Thankfully we all had to wear nametags so no one had to actually remember someone's name.

Most people looked the same, though some people definitely put on the pounds. Some of the girls had had children but what was the men's excuse? I think the most kids I heard someone having so far was 3 but they are Mormon so that makes sense. I was afraid coming solo that I would have a lot of awkward times trying to figure out who to talk to but that was not the case. I actually had a lot of fun conversations though it was a bit confusing to try to explain my current stage of life and iminent plans. People seemed to get it for the most part, though they might have been faking it.

I met a lot of people who were now doctors. My school had a large Asian population. It is a stereotype but one that I find to be pretty true. Other people work at NASA where a good percentage of our graduating class's parents worked when they were in high school. A lot of people were married, then plenty were not. Some had already been married and divorced. Most guys still had their hair. I think that will change the more reunions we have.

We spent most of the time mingling and catching up. Then they made us take a group picture of just the girls and then just the guys. Apparently the whole group was too big to fit in one picture. There had been sample pictures on the table where we signed in. In one, a woman had taken off her shirt and was wearing only her bra. Why was that the sample picture? Were they encouraging one of us to do the same? And why did that woman think it was appropriate? Taking the group picture reminded me of how I got in-school suspension for putting a plastic hamburger bun in my mouth in the senior class panoramic picture. Continuing my food in mouth streak, I stuck a chicken finger in my mouth for this one. The photographer seemed to be hating his life and kept barking orders that noone could hear because they were too busy catching up with one another.

After the single gender group pictures, they started taking pictures for various categories like what junior high you went to or club you were in. This reminded me when me and some friends got in a bunch of different club pictures for the yearbook. We weren't in the clubs but snuck into the pictures because they all took them on the same day. That's how I ended up in the Math club and FFA. These pictures were for the cheerleaders, drill team, band/choir (I am not sure why those two were combined). The funniest/most disconcerting was "Party-goers/Stoners." Why was that a category? And for some reason, as one of my friends pointed out, it was pretty much all the kids who went to the same junior high.

It was nice to connect with people in person as opposed to electronically through Facebook. My best friend through junior high and high school was there, Amy. She and I grew apart in college despite going to the same school. Our lives just went in different directions. I was surprised about how much love I felt towards her at the reunion. I just wanted to give her a big hug and I am not much of a hugger. I think by being so close in high school, we formed a bond that cannot be broken through time or differing life choices. It's special. It was so fun to visit and talk with her. I am so thankful we still have that connection.

I also learned a lot about people's lives. Of course, we talked about the girl who ended up on the cover of Playboy and the one who went on the dating show, The Fifth Wheel. We talked about jobs, relationships, siblings and parents. I also found out that two guys from my high school committed suicide. I wasn't close to either of them, though they were definitely in some of my classes. It just made me so sad. All death is sad, but suicide makes you hurt. I didn't know either well and it just hurt my heart. It made me wish that there was something I could have done to change that outcome. What pain they must have felt! Other classmates were killed in car crashes, drug overdoses and one died serving with the military in Iraq. Learning of people's deaths is going to be something that unfortunately increases with each reunion. I am not looking forward to that. I am looking forward to our 20 year. This one was a lot of fun and I can only imagine how many stories people will have then.

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