Monday, October 23, 2006

The People of the Town Are Strange, But They're Proud of Where They Came*

I'm baaaaaack! OK, that was surreal. I know now how the Rip Van Winkle story got written: the guy went to his 30th high school reunion. I had this strange feeling that I had somehow been asleep for 30 years and everyone got older. One of my friends just got back from her 30th a couple of weeks ago. She said she arrived at the hotel and was looking around for the reunion. Someone pointed her in the direction of the room and she said, "No, that can't be it. I already looked in there. They're too old!" It even seemed like some of them were wearing stage makeup to be an older version of themselves. You just wanted to walk up to them and snatch the bald-cap right off their heads. On the other hand, some of them had that "Picture of Dorian Gray" thing going on, where they looked impossibly well-preserved for pushing 50. One gal looked 25 if she was a day and not in that fake shiny plastic face way. That was kind of spooky.

After awhile it got kind of tiring to give and receive the quickie 5-minute interview exchange. It was all kind of superficial, except for a few connections. Quite a few people drank too much. I can't blame them and probably would have myself if I still did that sort of thing.

High School. Four years of your life when you are still an unformed person that somehow in our culture has come to represent some sort of - what - Milestone? Marker? Pinnacle? I could only go once I knew that it no longer defined me, when I truly began to see it for what it was -- a relatively insignificant time of my life. Once I realized that I didn't have to measure up to, compare myself to or surpass anyone or anything, then I could go and see a bunch of people that I may or may not remember, who may or may not remember me, and have fun. Or not.

I had a great time getting together with my old buddies, Deliese and Victoria. We reminisced and got all angst-y about going to the reunion. That was on Friday. Saturday was the big night and was over in a flash. I spent most of the evening catching up with many of my friends from elementary school. Even though we all hung out in elementary school, most of us didn't socialize much in high school, as we started being defined by our interests. Now, 30 years later, we felt comfortable around each other. Familiar.
The next morning, my friend from 1st grade, Jill came over. My mom laughed when she opened the door and Jill said, "Can Laura play?" She moved into the house of her childhood around 4 years ago after her mother passed away. Her kids are now attending our alma mater. Soon after Jill dropped by, Deliese and Victoria arrived and my mom graciously served us a wonderful lunch: "leftover" cornish game hens, saffron rice and salad. The weather was beautiful and we had fun catching up on old times. That's Deliese on the left, Victoria, me and Jill.

I tried to upload a picture of me from "back in the day" but blogger is being mulish right now and won't let me. I'll try again tomorrow.

*Who can name this classic rock tune from the 70s? It was my favorite song from my favorite group of the day.


At 9:03 AM, Anonymous chauntel said...

doobie brothers, china grove.
thank you, thank you very much


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