03 August 2017

After 30 Years

There's a scene in the movie Grosse Point Blank where Martin Blank's secretary is encouraging him to attend his high school reunion. She describes it as "It's as if everyone has swelled."   At the time, I didn't quite get the reference.  Now, I've just attended my 30-year reunion and I'm here to say that it's an apt description.

The interesting thing is that a person could easily figure out who the girls were, without nametags.  Girls don't seem to change a lot as they age, just get a little softer, if you will.  But the boys.  Holy Crackers, thank sweet baby jesus for name tags.  Twice we played the "Who the hell is that guy?" game and had to rely on the nametag.

I arrived early to help my friend and there were about six girls there.  Within moments, everyone is talking about how they just went to their stylist or colored their hair that night. Then it slowly morphed into which boy still had their hair and how many of us are having 50th birthdays soon. Which then segued into the "How did we get this old?" conversation.

Our high school class suffered a few losses right after high school so we're weirdly clingy.  Most everyone is friends on facebook and the reunion planning often starts at the current reunion.  This year it was discussed to do five-year increments instead of ten because "we're going to start dropping off any day now."  (dude. seriously.)   Then we talked about doing facebook events as impromptu get-togethers.

What I really enjoyed about this event was that everyone wasn't divided into cliques.  Sure, there were groups of people but everyone was open and gracious.  A person hears stories about reunions or has preconceived notions that nothing has changed but in this case, everyone were just simply friends.  No drama but the normal cast of characters that one would expect. Someone drank too much, someone was a little inappropriate, but nothing melodramatic.

One of the most popular girls in school still is and that being said, really is very nice.  She worked so hard to include everyone this weekend, take lots of photos, and personally talk to everyone. It was impressive to someone like me who finds that kind of thing daunting.  She greeted me with "you look exactly the same" (adorable) and I said the same because she actually does.  She laughed and said "Oh  honey, it's all botox."  I just loved the realness of that statement.

Only one other of the core group of my high school friends attended so we  were each others dates on both nights.  On Saturday, we drifted around until finally we plunked down toward the back of the room and circled our chairs to talk.  People came around off and on until there was about seven of us gathered.   The dance floor slowly filled up, mostly girls just like in high school, and we watched the show from our chairs.  Eventually I had the realization that for me, nothing had changed.  I am still sitting in the back of the class, hanging out and talking with my friends. The fact that this was immortalized on Facebook the next day pleases the high school me.

The other best part of this experience was to see photos the next day.  There was a class photo taken on Friday and Saturday night so that everyone was included.  Then the candids were fun to see.  The funny part of being together in 2017 versus 1987 was people getting facebook notifications and friend requests during the party.  There were selfies and texts sent to friends who couldn't make it. Smart phones allowed everyone to be there, even if they weren't.

So, my recommendation is to go to your reunion.  Even if you think it will be weird, because it will, and a little awkward too. Use the buddy system so you're not alone.  I believe the pay off is that you will see people who you've totally forgotten about in the now but were so important to you back then.  You will see that you did exist in others lives and were important to them. You may even make friends with someone you'd never consider back in the day. 

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