This upcoming weekend, I am attending my…*gulp*… 25th high school reunion. Honestly, I’m still in utter denial that it has been two and a half decades since Prom, college-application madness, driver’s licenses, crushes and overall high school drama and carefree fun. It’s difficult to put into words the intellectual comprehension of time lapsing (so quickly) but the emotional feeling that it hasn’t at all. My prom dress hangs in my attic at this very moment, for pete’s sake, and it might have been just a year ago that I purchased it, given that I can distinctly remember the feeling of pure joy at buying and wearing it. Man, I loved that dress. But man, dress styles sure were different back then. *shudder*
Over the past few days, I’ve been in contact with some members of the class, as I’m putting together the name tags for everyone to wear. Yes, the ultimate in humiliations…name tags with your name and senior photo. You know, just in case any members have gone through some incredible metamorphasis in the past 25 years and they would be utterly unrecognizable without that photo pinned to their chest. The only good part about wearing that photo is that generally we look better now than we did then, so we can laugh and act as thoughwe somehow aren’t associated with that face. When I dug out my photo, my kids simultaneously roared with laughter and were completely mortified. “MOM! What did you do to your hair??!…WHY is there a blond streak in your bangs??!”.
My simple answer: It was the 80s. We all looked like that.
One of the classmates that I emailed this week sent me such a nice response. She mentioned that she enjoyed reading my blog these days and that it was “smart and witty like I remember you (being)”. That line completely floored me (in a good way, of course). You always wonder how you are perceived and then its interesting to see if it matches with how you see or saw yourself. When I look back on my high school years, I certainly get the witty part but at that time I didn’t really regard myself as overly smart. Sure, I was a good student, but let’s just put it this way, I bloomed and totally hit my stride in college. Those were my golden scholastic years. I realize now, naturally, that I possessed that capability in high school, too, but I just didn’t go for the gusto enough (“You’ve had the power all along, Dorothy…”). I think crushes and drama ruled the roost a little more than they should have. All I can say is that THANK GOD the internet or Facebook or texting wasn’t around then because I wouldn’t have stood a chance. I’d still be there, the oldest member of the 12th grade class.
This classmate’s email just got me thinking about those years. How you saw yourself, how others saw you and how a movie like the Breakfast Club hits the nail on the head with all of those labels. My husband and I actually caught that movie on tv recently and watched it for a bit…it’s still relevant, amazingly so. Thank you, Mr. Hughes, for your brilliance.
Reunions work to level the field, I think, which is why I’ve always gone to mine (coupled with the fact that I actually enjoyed my high school years). It’s a way to tie up the past with a nice big, red bow. We are all adults now and there are so many more commonalities….lots of us are married, have kids, most of us have found our careers or a general path to continue on….we aren’t necessarily just the jocks, the brains, the geeks, the goths. The old lines blur in a very lovely way.
So, today, in doing these name tags, I’m going to pull out my high school yearbook…mortify my children, laugh some good laughs and maybe let my heart ache a little for the innocent, sweet past that was the crushes, the lockers, the passed notes and the late-night trips to the local diner…and the silly zaniness that was grades nine through twelve.