I went to my 20th high school reunion this weekend. I wasn't too sure I wanted to go, I wasn't sure what everyone would be like as we approach 40. I remember bits and pieces of my high school experience and sometimes its the things that I didn't do like go to my senior prom or boat dance that stick out in my mind. When people were talking online about going to a dance club I'd never been there and wondered if I'd idealized some of my experience and maybe I had missed out on more than I knew being the fat girl.
With a little trepidation I wandered into the party on Friday night knowing that a couple of my good friends were there. I kind of snuck in and found them. It was dark, we were outside and I was trying to get my bearings. We were standing in a small group trying to figure out who was whom. The women were relatively easy--the men not so much. We all looked basically the same, a few pounds here or there, a lot less hair (no perms or spraying for height). The boys had become men, lost hair, gained bellies and facial hair. People were in small groups talking but there was lots of movement between groups. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to see each other after all these years. There were hugs, kisses and shrieks as people found each other.
The next morning it was coffee and donuts with our families and some old teachers. My ninth grade English teacher came. I had forgotten what a hellish group we had been. She was an easy target, we were a smart (ass) group and gave her a serious run for her money. She remembered it in minute detail--it was frankly a bit embarrassing and I hadn't been one of the perpetrators, I was just along for the ride. She must be in her 70s but obviously she has the memory of an elephant! My mother dug out my yearbooks, the senior issue of the high school paper and a whole book of clippings. We had a great time looking through them.
Saturday night was the big get together, dinner and dancing. More fun than either was talking and laughing. See the big smiles pasted on our faces? We laughed until we cried. My throat hurt, my sides hurt and I haven't had so much fun in a very long time. There is something about being around people who know you from back in the day and still like you that is really comforting. As much as we'd all changed, it was interesting to see how true to ourselves we really were way back then. There was a certain bond being able to laugh about things that had embarrassed us 20 or even 30 years ago. The cheerleaders mingled with the farmers, the band geeks talked to the football players, and from what I saw and what I've read online today, everyone had an unforgettable time. I've heard that you often regret more what you didn't do than what you did. I have to say I am sure I'd regret it if I hadn't gone home to be with my class this weekend. As different as our lives are now, we all have those years together in that small town that ground us and made us who we are. Hail our alma mater.