Don’t Remind Me

Posted On April 10, 2008

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The inevitable barrage of emails has begun. Scarcely a week goes by that I don’t get some notification that I’m getting that much older.

My 20th high school reunion is this year

I’m really kind of struggling to understand the appeal of a high school reunion. I don’t keep in touch with these people. Haven’t seen 99 percent of them in 20 years. What’s the point? Remembering the good ol’ days?

Let me be totally honest here. I do not consider high school “the best days of my life.” If anything, high school was a special kind of torture that violated the rules of the Geneva Convention.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama. One high school. I was most assuredly not one of the “popular” crowd. My hair was too frizzy. I had virtually no social skills whatsoever. My family was barely middle class. I didn’t have the “right” clothes or shoes or fashion sense. No car. No drivers license. Most of what sticks out in my mind about high school were all the times I was made fun of for wearing Wal-mart clothes and bobo tennis shoes. Of never having a date to Homecoming and getting dumped two weeks before my one and only prom.

And I want to relive those glory days why?

I went to the 10th, although I’m still not sure why. Maybe I had something to prove, that I wasn’t that dork any more. For two days, I felt like I was back in high school, wearing the wrong clothes and sporting bad hair. I was miserable. A friend of mine who is a few years older told me that first reunion is a bit like high school still; however, the 20th is much better. People are less about who they were, she says, and have moved out of those old cliques.

I had a little taste of my reunion when I went home for Christmas. I met two girls for lunch one day, to catch up. Although I have known both of them for more than 20 years, I can’t really say we were friends back in the day. They were both part of the “in crowd,” with active social lives that were a stark contrast to mine. And while we sat at that restaurant, and I listened to them talk about the people in their circle of friends — folks with whom we went to high school — I realized how different my life has been. The people to whom I am the closest are friends I have known no more than 10 years, and none are from my hometown. I have moved forward and happily embraced a different life.

It may be true that a 20th reunion breaks down all those old high school walls. But I’m still the first person in my class to Rsvp “no.”