I received an invitation to my high school reunion last week. Egads! How did this happen? Is it possible that 25 years have passed since I walked across the stage in my cap and gown?
Apparently yes, since these people remember me and request the pleasure of my company at a celebration of the event this June. Even though I haven't earned a million dollars or been awarded a professional sports contract--as if anyone ever thought I would--or an Academy Award or a Nobel prize, I did get a few books published. You gotta admit that's cool and they'll all think so. So I should leave the festivities with my vanity intact, but that still begs the question--what happened to the last 25 years?
Most of the time, high school seems to have happened to someone else. Because of family issues and normal teenage angst, it isn't a period in my life I dwell on. I'd rather think on the last few years when I've become reasonably financially sound, accepting of my body, family nose, and bad teeth, confident enough to speak in front of people, and confident that I might actually have something worth hearing. But when I receive an invitation to a high school reunion, I can't help but remember, if only for a moment, those days as if they were yesterday.
It wasn't all bad. Anyone remember the movie Carrie? Of course you do. My son tells people who weren't fortunate enough to have been there, I looked like Sissy Spacek, just before those evil kids dropped a bucket of blood on her. Real eye candy. Sadly his description isn't too far off the mark. I was equally as popular.
For unpopular, unlovely, debilitatingly shy kids like me, a high school reunion is almost vindication. "See, I didn't turn out half bad. I finally learned what to do with this head of thick blonde hair and my voice doesn't quake in terror if I don't know the answer to your dumb question." Things couldn't have gotten any worse. If you haven't attended a high school reunion, don't pass up the opportunity to go, even if you've gained 50 pounds and lost all your hair. Believe me, no one will care. They'll love you anyway. I was surprised by the fun I had at my 20th. The popularity divisions had broken down over the years and become obsolete. It didn't matter if you were rich in high school, shy, athletic, preppy, or punk. Or whether we were putting our own kids into college or diapers, we were all the same. An aging group of small town kids who spent one night out of 25 years remembering the good times and intentionally ignoring the bad.
But I still haven't answered my question of where the last 25 years went.