I have recently reconnected with several of my high school classmates on "Facebook". One of our classmates lives in Germany and was back in Maine for a quick visit so Julie offered to host an impromptu reunion at her farm. With a fair amount of excitement and a small amount of hesitation, I quickly RSVPed that I would be there.
I went to a high school that served 11 towns in a rural area. I have not seen some of my classmates since graduation day over 30 years ago as most of us moved away.
There were 9 of us in attendance plus 2 spouses. As soon as we started talking, the years magically disappeared. It was great fun to catch up with everyone. It was also interesting to hear "the rest of the story" from my classmates.
One classmate, Ed, always seemed to be watching the rest of us with a smile on his face. I always felt that he was more mature than the rest of us and he found our antics amusing. Another classmate said the exact same thing. When we shared that with Ed, we discovered that he had grown up in a household with parents who fought a lot and he feels he stepped back, shut down his emotions and observed the action. He said he was regretful that he never felt capable of joining in the fun.
Another classmate, Kristina, dropped out of our high school our freshman year, took classes in night school and dropped back in our senior year. A different religion from the rest of us, she was not very involved in the social aspect of school. We grew up in the same town and kept in telephone contact even when she wasn't enrolled in our school. What I didn't know was that I was the only friend that she was allowed to call. Apparently, her parents liked me and liked my parents. In addition, her father was a concentration camp survivor from World War II and was abusive. Of all of us, I would say that she has changed the most. She is now a blond, very confident and very social. She has forgiven her father for his abuse and now takes care of both of her parents.
The guest of honor, Danny, is just as I remembered him except that he is much better looking! He has come to terms with being gay and still goes with the flow. I remember teaching him how to deal with fractions in the testing room before we took SATs. No advance planning for him! It appears that he operates under the same philosophy now too. He ups and moves to a new location without a job and without a place to live. Somehow, it always works out for him.
Julie, our hostess, looks and acts the same as she did in high school. On her 4th husband, she lives on a farm in rural Maine and is thriving. Her back story was that she wanted to go to college to become a nurse but her parents wouldn't help her by filling out the financial aid paperwork. Also, her home life wasn't as rosy as we all thought. Her father, a teacher at the school, was apparently very strict and treated her poorly.
Kathy is 60 pounds lighter then in high school (a statement I certainly can't make) and served as a sniper in the military. Not a typical career choice for a small town girl in the late 70s!
Lynn married and divorced her "bad boy" high school sweetheart. She quit college to do that but returned to college and her life plans after the divorce.
Betty got married and divorced twice and picked a new last name after her second divorce. She wanted a new beginning for herself. I have to confess that even though our school was very small - I have no memory of her. Zilch. Nada. Not even a flicker. I kept hoping that something would trigger a memory but no such luck.
The other Julie brought her husband with her. I thought he might feel awkward but he says he had a great time. They co-own a couple of businesses. She seemed very secure and content with who she is and where she is in her life. She was the only other person married to her first spouse.
And, me. Well, I have turned into my mother. I work in the same industry and have the same values regarding family and helping the community. I can't say that I am where I planned to be but I certainly am happy with where I have ended up.
It really was a great day and will be a great memory. It caused me to be introspective. I realize that my classmates were much more complicated than I ever imagined and that the labels they had were not who they were. I realized that if I met some of them today, I probably wouldn't be friends as we don't currently have much in common. Other classmates that I didn't have much in common with in high school would probably be my friends now as the high school cliques have disappeared. However, there is this bond between us that remains after all of these years. I know that if I called Kristina up today and said I needed help, she would be there. No questions asked except for "what do you need?".
We all had such a good time that I know we won't wait another 31 years to get together again. For one thing, we would all be 80 and who knows if we will remember each other!
Are you in touch with any of your high school friends?
Here's to memories!