High school reunions are funny things. Last night I attended my 40th reunion with my friend and classmate, Marianne. I had been debating about whether or not to go and she convinced me. If we didn't see anyone else we knew, at least we'd know each other. So, here we go... the comments below are in no particular order. In most cases, I don't know who said what, only that I heard it. T'is arranged and shared with tongue firmly in cheek.
"Do they work here? Uh, no, they're our age. They must be classmates. Do you recognize anyone? What? So far, all I recognize is the music. Not that I like it, but I recognize it. Some of the women look familiar, but the men? They all look so different. Hi! Who are you? Your name sounds familiar. Let me see your high school picture. No, wait a minute, I forgot my glasses. Here you go. Try mine. They're bifocals. Oh yeah. I remember you now! You know, this is the last time we'll get to have dinner at a reunion. Another ten years and we'll have to have lunch. I've been looking for a friend of mine, but haven't found him yet. I keep seeing men with gray hair and thinking, that's got to be him. HI! How are you? What are you doing these days? (Did I know you?) It's good to see you! You're leaving now? See you in another ten years!"
A high school reunion is a one night rememberance of a 3 or 4 year period in our lives. In comparison to the rest of our lives, it was such a short time. Why do we go? I keep up with a few old high school friends, but not many. It's not like my high school years were "the best years of my life" as my mother told me they would be. (For that, I am grateful.) Are we just curious to see what our other classmates are doing - or what they look like? Maybe. But the reason that resonated the most with me was expressed by one of my former teachers, Dr. George Betts.
I can't quote George exactly, but he talked about the little moments which connect us. George led Senior Seminar, a program thought by some to be for dropouts, but in reality required more work, both externally and on ourselves than academic classes. Many students remembered special times with George and his wife, Donni. They were both there last night being reminded of those little moments - a few words spoken, a poem shared, being encouraged through a difficult hike, a moment in silence at the top of a hill as we witnessed the beauty of a canyon. Okay, some of those are mine. I didn't get to share them all last night.
The reunion is another moment in time. I wish I could have talked with more people and in more depth, but that is not the kind of experience a reunion can provide. I would have liked to tell Tom how much we used to enjoy his dad's vetrinary clinic, which was in the front of their old farmhouse. It was always magical to go there. I would have liked to talk more with Stacy and Carrie and Kevin and a few who didn't come.... and I wish I could have figured out who the person was who greeted me so enthusiastically without even glancing at my name tag.
One of my special moments I remember from high school happened because I didn't (and still don't) know how to swim. We were camping with Senior Seminar near where the river runs through Havasu Canyon. Over the years, minerals in the water formed limestone pools and created one of the most beautiful places on this earth. Almost everyone was in the water. I didn't know how to swim and was afraid to go in. That's when Craig came over and offered to take me swimming - on his back! I held on as he swam and, well, I suppose it only lasted ten minutes or so.
My self-conscious, insecure side figured if Craig remembered, it would probably be because he was laughing at me. My older, much more secure side says it was kind of funny, but tons of fun and a most gracious moment with a very good looking young man at the most beautiful place on earth. He signed my yearbook - 2 cute 2 be 4 got - let's go swimming! And he remembered me and swimming last night.
And then the reunion was over. This time, it seemed we all understood that this was another moment passing and, instead of saying things like how nice it would be to see each other more often, most just smiled and said, "See you in another ten years!"
Like waking up from a dream, we came back home and back to our now, just a little richer from having shared some time together.