I spent this weekend celebrating my high school class’ 40-year anniversary.
You heard me. Forty years.
(I know some of you geezers out there got that beat, but forget you. This is my story.)
I have to say, it was a lot of fun. The celebration lasted over the course of two nights. The first night featured an informal gathering at a bar with an outdoor courtyard, where a band played and we all tried to hear each other over the band, with mixed results. I SAID, WITH MIXED RESULTS!
And, obviously, seeing these folks for the first time since graduation was a bit of a shock to the system. Granted, some of them hadn’t changed much, if at all, but many of them had changed significantly. We were all walking up to each other, hesitantly, and saying something like, “I may have known you back then. Who are you?”
The second night was the official reunion, which featured (thank goodness) name tags! (Of course, many of us had to put on our glasses to read them.) There was a buffet of hors’d’ouvres, a cash bar (which appeared to be doing very good business), another band and a dance floor, which many of us, yours truly included, made good use of throughout the evening.
And we all spent the time talking, laughing, eating, drinking, dancing, taking pictures and reminiscing. And I had a GREAT time!
Which, if I’m being honest, surprised me somewhat. Maybe I should explain:
High school, for me, was not always a pleasant experience. (Admittedly, I know it wasn’t for many other people.) I actually think it goes back to junior high, when cliques began forming among the students. You know how there’s always a certain group that you would just kill to be a part of, but you were pretty certain there was no way that was happening? A group that was just popular with everybody at school. The cool group.
I mean, yeah, there were some people I liked who liked me, and we hung out a lot together, but I still wanted to be part of that group. You know how it is. The desire for acceptance in your teen years is very strong.
So, I felt like I didn’t belong with those cool kids.
Well, as I found out this weekend, time is a great equalizer.
I had only been to one class reunion previously. My 10-year one. It was awful. Ten years after graduation, and people still gravitated to their old cliques, and I felt those old feelings of alienation. I swore I would never go to another reunion.
Then I got an email from my best friend from back then, saying he was flying into town for our 40-year reunion, and asking if I was going to be there.
Well, truthfully, I didn’t even know about it until I got his email. I knew, of course, that this was our 40-year anniversary, so I figured there was going to be a reunion sometime; I just didn’t know it would be this weekend!
So I thought about it, and I figured, well, maybe now, we’re all far enough away from the experience that I wouldn’t feel like that, again.
And, even though a little voice asked, “But what if you do?”, I decided to go anyway.
And, amazingly, I found myself talking and laughing with people I wouldn’t have dared approach in school. We weren’t kids in cliques anymore; we were grownups, with families and bills and jobs and prescription medications. We were equals.
And I loved every minute of it. I’ll never, ever forget it.
Lawrence D. Bell High School, Class of 1977 Blue Raiders, it was an absolute blast! Thanks to everyone who contributed their time and effort to making these events as special as they were. The rest of us appreciate it more than you could know.
I wish you all continued happiness and blessings. And love.