Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Class Reunion

by Annette Dashofy

I received an invitation to my high school reunion in the mail the other day. My THIRTIETH high school class reunion. Egads, how can that be possible? I’ve been launched into an emotional turmoil. Where did those thirty years go?

My class has held reunions faithfully at regular five year intervals. I’ve never gone. Why? Lots of reasons. One being that my husband graduated the same year from a different school. If we go to one, we should go to both, right? And that gets expensive. Especially when it’s someplace you don’t really want to go. Long ago, Ray suggested we ditch the expense of our reunions, take that money and go somewhere we really LIKE instead. Worked for me.

I was always the geek child in high school. Slightly nerdy, but not scholastic enough to truly qualify as A NERD. I wasn’t a cheerleader. I wasn’t a brain. I wasn’t cute. I wore braces. I hated how I looked.

In retrospect, I was probably like everyone else in that regard. When I look back at my yearbooks, I don’t think I looked so awful. But at the time? Yeesh. All the other girls were prettier, sexier, curvier in the right places. I was a stick. Knobby knees, bowed legs and no boobs. These days, I’d have been right in style. Without the side effects of anorexia. I was a natural twig. No starvation required.

Damn, what happened to my metabolism in the last thirty years?

Anyway, the point is I don’t have much in the way of fond memories of high school. I’ve always feared that I would revert to that shy, miserable, self-loathing kid if I went to one of those reunions. Besides, I was so NOT popular, I figured no one would miss me when I didn’t show up anyway.

I admit there are a few people I’d like to see. One of my best friends in high school, who served as a bridesmaid at my wedding, went on to live in New York and won two Emmy Awards for make up. I haven’t seen her in decades. We exchange Christmas cards and promises to get together when she’s in town, but that’s about it. There was a boyfriend I’d be curious to see. Is he still cute? Of course, my hubby would be with me, so maybe it would be better off if he turned out fat and bald. Another friend, who was my maid of honor, moved to Virginia. It would be nice to see her, too. But how do I know they’d show up? Maybe they’re planning on skipping it, too.

In my senior year, when they put out those “Most likely to…” lists, I was dubbed most likely to write the Great American Novel. Thirty years later, I have indeed written a novel. Great American? Well, it’s set in West Virginia which is definitely American, but I hardly think that’s what they had in mind. Still, it would be nice to march into that reunion with a publishing contract to show off. Even if it were for a murder mystery rather than some work of great literature. Otherwise, I’m leaning towards blowing off yet another reunion.

I don’t have to RSVP (complete with a check for the dinner and dance) until June. Maybe I’ll wait until the last minute in case that publishing contract comes through.

What do you think? Should I go? Or should I spend the money on a weekend get-away, just my hubby and me? Have you gone to any of your class reunions? Were they fun or a major disappointment? I’m waiting to hear. Your input may very likely sway my decision.


Joyce said...

Annette, you should go! We didn't have a reunion for our 30th, but I went to the 20th.

In high school, I was way too shy and mostly blended into the woodwork. I was an "observer" rather than a participant. (That might be a good thing for writer!)So, it really surprised me that people actually came over and talked to me at the reunion.

It was funny to see that all the guys who were "hot" in high school were, to put it kindly, not "hot" anymore. Not by a longshot.

Although most of the cheerleaders hadn't aged well either, I still knew who they were because they shreiked as soon as one of their fellow cheerleader walked into the room.

It was fun, but the most fun I had was two years ago at my grade school reunion. Almost our entire class showed up. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Titus was there. He said, "Oliphant, you haven't changed a bit." He didn't look any different either.

Nancy said...

Go. GO! The people you grew up with endured the same awfulness you did. (High school is awful for everybody!) It's like you survived for years in the same lifeboat, and everybody is forgiven for all the sutpid things you did, how shy you were, the social blunders, etc. You'd be amazed at how people remember you and want to talk to you. I relaly enjoyed mine.

My father was a successful man who traveled a lot, but one of the most moving and fulfilling things he did in life was go to his 50th high school reunion. He said so often.

Nancy, again said...

Sorry for the typos. Yeesh.

Gina said...

Yes, go, just for the experience! Who knows when you'll have to write a scene that takes place at a reunion. Consider it research.

I say "go" as someone who hated high school and spent the whole four years as an out-cast, hanging out with the few others who didn't fit in. None of them showed up at the most recent reunion, so I didn't see old friends. And I admit to a moment of panic the week before when I realized that only 5 days remained in which to remarry, have children, and lose 100 pounds. But it's still interesting to revisit that part of your life, even if only to be able to say, "I'll never have to answer to Sister Mary Peter again!!"

Tory said...

I'm struggling with the same dilemma, myself, Annette. Our 30th HS reunion was postponed a year and is this June. I was insecure and anxious in HS but I did have a group of friends. My best friend in HS told me, "Don't go to those reunions! I went to the last one and they said, 'Now, who were you? What did you DO in high school?'" What I'm afraid of is I'll go there and won't remember ANYBODY, and it will be a total waste. (If you can't guess, I came from a pretty big school.)

In my early 30s, a group of 6-8 of the people I was actually close to in HS got together. Now THAT was really satisfying.

Annette said...

Gina, I like the idea of going for research. And, Joyce, I have run into a few of the "formerly hot" guys from high school...ICK! You are sooo right. Not so hot anymore.

Pat said...

Actually, I was popular in high school. I didn't rule some cult-like clique of 'mean girls' but I had friends in all the groups; theater, smart kids, pot heads and even the jocks and one weird guy from woodshop. Plus I had a cute boyfriend. No brag, just fact. Everybody claims they were unpopular, I guess it only makes sense that some of us have to own up to having been popular.
So, how do I feel about my high school reunion? Forget about it. The people I cared about I'm still in touch with, the

PS The reason I was able to work the high school system to my advantage was that I was the youngest of five, all just one year apart in age. I learned the ways of high school at home, so long before I got there I knew important things like;
never wear a shirt with a glittery pony graphic on it, disdain anything that looks like it's "fun," and no matter how shocked you are at seeing a 16-year-old boy produce a syringe with god-only-knows-what substance in it (actually happened) always say, in a bored tone: "Yeah, I was into that to, back in junior high, no thanks."

Anonymous said...

Annette, I skipped my high-school reunion. I hated high school, too, and I was definitely geeky (weren't we all?). Unless I become rich and famous, I may consider going to a future one, but for thanks.

Annette said...

You guys are no help! Three vote yes, two vote no. Tory is as confused as I am. No wonder I'm torn!

lisa curry said...

Ah, tales of high school horror. What fun! I was a geeky, skinny brain with bird legs and no boobs. (Gee, how little things have changed.) I would have traded 10 IQ points for boobs. Fortunately, I never managed to swing that deal, because what I know now that I didn't know then was if you have brains, you can make enough money to buy yourself a set of boobs if you really want them, but that doesn't work in the reverse.

As for high school reunions, last year was my 25th, but I didn’t go. The last one I attended was my 10th, and I decided I didn't care if I ever went to another. There were 900 kids in my graduating class. Maybe a smaller class would be different, but I'm not sure.

Cathy said...

You must go. You never know what adventure awaits you, Annette.

I went to my 25th class reunion back in Ohio. Very laid back, a park with lawn chairs. My high school sweetheart was there with his wife and two kids. Interesting, but not out of the ordinary.

Then, two days after the party, when I was back home, I got a phone call from the h.s. sweetheart. He wanted to get back together (What about the wife and kids?).

What a hoot! I liked his wife better than I liked him, and I finally had resolution for being dumped 24 years before.

J said...

Go! You will meet wonderful people who you didn't know existed in high school.