Monday, August 15, 2011

Class Reunion 2011

The ten year reunion it was essentially just exactly like high school. (photo courtesy of Jodi Ruddenberg)

I wasn’t going to post a blog today. I don’t have time. We are getting ready to go back to my beloved old house on the Long Beach Peninsula. It’s been a wonderful weekend and if I don’t write about it I will be sorry and by the time I have regular Internet access the blush may be off the bloom so to speak, but I doubt it.

Saturday was magical. After not having any reunions for twenty years, our high school class of 1969 has taken to having them yearly. We have a lot of time to make up for. Last year was wonderful, but too hot. This year the crowd was smaller and the weather was Baby Bear perfect. The smaller crowd meant that I was able to talk to everyone save one who sneaked away when I wasn’t looking.

Prior to one intrepid classmate taking the bull by the horns and organizing our 40th reunion we’d only had two. The ten year reunion it was essentially just exactly like high school. Everyone stood around with the same folks they had stood around with in high school. It was all rather ill planned from the motel in Issaquah, where we did not grow up, to the Vienna sausages on tooth picks and the fact that our dance music came from another group in a room next door. They opened folding doors and we got to see the back of the band. It was miserable.

Things were a little better at our 20th reunion. I was delighted to see so many familiar faces, but at this point people were anxious to impress each other with their accomplishments. We did grow up in Bellevue and the expectation was that everyone had been to four or more years of college and were highly successful. I hadn’t, but that didn’t stop me from having a good time, but even I held onto some of the high school sensibilities. I found the dentists and lawyers insufferable in their need to impress and I became hysterical when a cheerleader and one of the women from what we called the “sosh” clique discovered that they’d come in the exact same beautiful cream colored suit. I thought it was a Kodak moment and nearly rolled on the floor. Not very mature, but would have made a great scene in a movie.

I’ve written previously about my experience at our 41st get-together, about how none of that stuff matters anymore and this year was even sweeter. It was gratifying to watch a couple of people who had never been to a reunion and who had agonized about attending, come to the realization that we are just a bunch of old people, mostly grandparents, who have a shared history. We were a diverse bunch—a plumber, a musician, a Sufi, mechanics, teachers, artists. We spoke the names of those who are no longer with us with the knowledge that at our age there will be more and more on that list.

I felt thirsty to hear everyone’s stories. Some I hadn’t known a whit in high school and now I wanted to know everything from what it had been like in high school for them to what they are doing now and hope to do. One woman, so dear to me in junior high, had left at the end of our sophomore year and my heart sang to see her.

There were tears and a lot of laughter.

I must not have been alone in this hunger for connecting with our roots because this year people lingered all the way through the evening until darkness, mosquitoes and park closure sent us on our ways with promises to get together again before another twelve months have gone by and determined to find more of the missing.

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