Wednesday, May 21, 2008
HS Reunion thoughts
It's been interesting watching my class's 30 year High School Reunion being planned long distance by a growing group on e-mail. It's a small town thing. Some online refer to the hometown as Hooterville.
This reunion plan is an ad hoc thing -- the result of the break down of an earlier plan by a classmate who went all Howard Hughes on us and dropped out of sight.
I missed the 5 and 10yr but finally made it the 20yr reunion. The most striking thing at the 20th was the sight those who never left town still hanging in their shrinking high school jock/soc' clique. That was truly a pathetic sight. We'd gathered in a rented space at the Eagles Hall -- really not much more than an enclosed lean-to on the side of the larger metal pole barn that is the Eagles Hall in Hooterville.
The home town guys in their dirty tee-shirts or overtight polo shirts all circled up and were nervously eyeing all those who'd left and returned to visit (and I'm not going to say anything about the sisters not quite "all in" their 1978 dancing tube dresses. OUCH, Romie and Michelle, not!).
At that point I remembered a friends mom describing that exact dynamic from her 20th when we were in Jr High hanging at his place (probably to watch Happy Days LOL).
Whoa -- prophetic.
It's been fun to have old names surface and to get reacquainted with them via e-mail. Some of these folks were the "invisible" people in our class who (back in the day) you'd never have expected to step up, voice opinions or contribute their energy to a reunion plan. That's pretty cool to see they've moved on in life and come into their own. Yet in some cases underneath that confident layer of adulthood still lies a seething core of latent insecurity, wounds, and in some cases unrequited desire. That's come out as some of them have opened up one on one.
I'm especially taken with one example. Here's a man, now retired from the military who was boots on ground behind Taliban lines Sept 19, 2001 preparing the way for the US invasion that followed. HOO-AHH!
Pretty hairy chested stuff, no? That would seem to be a basis for ultimate confidence back in "the real world," no? Yet, even this "man's man" is fearful on some level about seeing classmates for the first time in 30 years.
Thoughts like this surface from him, "...For me, this
will be the first time I have been around any of our class mates since
graduation. My "agenda" is to establish closure to what I thought was 4
years of absolute hell...
...As I remember things, most of these folks never talked to me while we were in school, can't imagine them having that much to say now and I still can't dance.
I just want to know what became of "her -- who was out of our league". "
...and that at the end is the bait that gets him beyond his angst. The unrequited desire of teenage years. Never underestimate the power of a woman over a man's mind. All those nights on watch with nothing but his thoughts and memories... Really pretty moving, human stuff that. I'm proud of that guy, his service and to be able say I know him and call him friend. Here's hoping a 30 yr reunion will enable him to leave some of those demons from high school and to open up some friendships that were forgotten -- or maybe never were.
"FOR YEARS TOGETHER IN OUR SCHOOL WHERE ALL OUR HEARTS ABIDE; BY GRADUATION TORN APART WE'RE SCATTERED FAR AND WIDE; BUT STILL WHEN TWO OR THREE SHOULD MEET; AND MEMORIES CARRY BACK; WE'LL SING TO PRAISE THE HONOR OF; OUR FIGHTING ORANGE AND BLACK!"
Go Tigers! Swamp Swamptown!