The last and only time I went to a high school reunion, it was my 20th and I was pregnant (yes, I double as my children’s mother and grandmother). I did not even let a sip of wine cross my lips (note to self for next life: DO NOT ATTEND A HIGH SCHOOL REUNION UNDER THESE CONDITIONS. You don’t need a lot, but a little social lubricant at an event like this is um, money in the bank). Anyway, I felt like it was a little bit wierd and that I just went from person to person asking the same couple questions: Where do you live? What do you do? Married? Kids? And I did that, like, 30 times. Very impersonal. I’m more of a one-on-one person. I prefer to have one deep conversation than many surface ones. I left feeling unsatisfied and empty.
I decided a few months ago, I’d attend my 40th and just see what might happen. And you know what, the best happened. First of all, there were a few more intimate gatherings before and after the reunion where I was able to connect in deeper ways, which felt really good. I did have a bunch of those more surface conversations, but somehow they were better than last time, but what was really amazing and made this event worth missing a Bruno Mars concert for (I felt awful when I got home and had to give the tickets I’d had since last Christmas, away–DAMN IT), was getting to know people I grew up with, but really didn’t know. Because of Facebook and the overlapping of friend groups, I hung out with a bunch of people I’d not been good friends with in high school, but now had a lot in common with. And how fun is that? New friends, but who know everything about that little place I grew up, who have knowledge of the crazy teachers and bizarre tales of our small town.
And of course, there were the friends who I love deeply, who I was close to then, some still close to, and some I am now reconnected to, after being disconnected for who even knows why, over the years. These are people I carry with me always. This one’s laugh, that one’s thoughtful observations, all of them, deeply embedded inside of me, each one a part of my DNA.
The now, the present, the right this minute is the place to be. But the past is a lovely place to visit, especially when it influences your present and future. Gratitude for the BHS reunion. I was born in a small town. Yup, I was. French fries!