HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG?
Last night was my 35th high school class reunion. Yikes! When I did the math about 6 weeks ago, I realized it had really been that long. Since my divorce, I have pretty much been off the radar as far as being located goes, having moved enough times that I no longer receive any forwarding or junk mail from any previous address. And for the first time in probably 3 reunions back, I have felt confident enough in myself as my own person to attend--by myself. No longer under the shadow of my ex, I was ready.
I took a chance and looked on the Internet under the Classmates.com website and did find a listing for an upcoming reunion. First, as a warning if anyone else decides to try this, be forewarned that even if you do somehow manage to get info on your class, you will also be, for a better word, spammed about any other class from the same school that has any listings. While I did find specific information about my class, I still get e-mails from "classmates" in the 5 years previous to my graduation year, none of which I would have any idea who they were. (High schools are generally no more than 4 year schools, right??)
I was not on the popular circuit back then. I had grown up in the area with most of the kids but had not attended public schools until high school, so while some were neighborhood pals, none were actually friends. I had my own circle of friends soon enough, most of which no longer live in the area and I haven't seen in so many years I've lost track.
My social circles for the past almost 20 years has been running and triathlon related. I was curious then to see if any of my classmates who might attend might be someone I had gone to school with. There is one woman who runs that I see from time to time, but surprisingly no one else.
Arriving at the reunion, I started getting nervous. Why I don't know. I was pretty sure I would not remember anyone or be remembered. But being that it was 35 years later, what were the chances any of us would be the same?
The first person to greet me was one of the organizers of the reunion, a woman I did not remember. The second person was someone who had been in my homeroom for all 3 years I attended the school, and he did remember me, and after closing one eye and cocking my head a little, I remembered his face. :)
I guess the biggest thing I noted about the evening was that most of us attending looked fairly good. I wouldn't be able to say too many of us looked like we were in our 50s, but then do I really see myself that way?? It was interesting to note that all the guys on the cross country and track team now sported guts. None of them ran any more--bad knees, bad back, no time, etc. The usual excuses. But I have to say that I probably was in the best shape of all the women. :)
The other thing I noticed was how many people married classmates (me included) and how many were still married! That's amazing to me.
I did run into my old neighborhood pal, one woman I knew way before anyone else there knew her. She was one person I had hoped to run into. I haven't seen her in 25 years. I only vaguely recognized her. She actually looked older than me, but still was nice looking. So we caught up on family news and our very different lives.
The "most popular" girl--you know the one who was prom queen, homecoming queen, cheerleader, etc.--in high school showed up later. She was always snobbish to anyone but her close circle of friends, which included many. I can't remember her exactly being in any of my classes, but considering her reputation, you can't forget someone like that. I'm happy to say she probably looked the worst of any of the women there. While she was never "pretty" in high school, but you figured she would grow into her looks, that apparently never happened. Since she was always the one who tanned heavily in H.S., she looked much older than her years. And she was only moderately in good body shape.
And then there were the surprising success stories--spoiled little rich girl goes on to be assistant superintendent of a high poverty school district (Cicero, IL) and loves it. I never would have figured her for that.
I will say I am not the person now I was then. I'm sure that is true for any of us after so many years. Its always interesting to see what talent comes out of your class, either high school or college, and it makes you proud then to be associated with that. That's the only way I can explain how I felt when I left.
And once again, I am happy for my world of triathlon because that is what helped shape the person I am now. It has provided me with so many things I wouldn't have had or experienced because of it. Going to a reunion or making connections with your past however makes you realize what a small minority we triathletes really are, so we have to stick together and share our experiences, if even through our blogs. It opens up our worlds in ways we could never imagine way back when.