My twenty year high school reunion is upon me. At first, I was really excited to go and see everybody that I went to school with. Then a couple of months passed, I have moved out of state, and find myself questioning whether I want to go or not. I do want to go, but then again, I see all the people I love and care about from high school on a regular basis anyway. I asked several friends if they are going to go. One of my guy friends said he was going to see who got bald and who turned out to be losers. One of my girl friends commented that she was not excited about going, she had RSVP'D and sent her money in, but was not sure she was going to show up. So the age old question looms; Why do we want to go to Reunion?
I hung out with a little bit of everybody in high school. I was not an "in-crowd" kid, nor had any desire to be. I marched to the beat of my own flute(literally). I hung out with some jocks, band geeks(I was one), kids that weren't involved in anything, exchange students, kids that were older, and kids that were younger than me. Some of my best friends were from other schools. I love people. Even at that young age, I was a lover of all people and their differences. We all get wrapped up in high school clique politics, and as you grow up, all of that no longer matters. It didn't really matter that much to me then either.
I was involved in a youth group, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, which taught me lessons that shaped and forever changed my life. This was the organization which taught me to appreciate differences. I have lifelong friends from this organization. The girls from this youth group are some of my best friends to this day. I was fundraising for and hanging out with crippled children from the Shriner's Crippled Children's hospital from the time I was thirteen. I was also visiting the sick and distressed in Masonic homes, and nursing homes from thirteen. I was learning to give to and do for others while most people my age were deciding what boy was cute, who they liked, and who their friends were. What pool they were going to hang out at this summer. I went through these same things, but I was focusing more on learning and growing in this early, new found sense of purpose. Or as I would learn later, social responsibility. I was a late bloomer. I did not drink, smoke, or have sex in high school. While lots of people were partying and hooking up, I was still enjoying slumber parties with my girls from the IORG. I was going to District Rainbow meetings and serving in different offices, up to and including District President, and also doing the same thing on the state level of the organization. It was a family thing for me. My grandparents and parents were both involved in the sponsoring parent organizations, The Order of the Eastern Star and the Masonic Lodge. It was family time, and time with friends. When I became too old to remain active in the organization, I became an adult advisor, following in my mother's footsteps.
I had a IORG reunion at the state wide meeting last week. I wrote my mother's memorial service, and had one of my girls read it. It was a very emotional twenty four hours, as you can imagine. My mother meant so very much to so many girls in this statewide organization, her memorial service, as you can imagine, left not a dry eye in the room. Mom's girls went to lunch after her service. We laughed and cried and remembered her. I had the best time. The looming high school reunion pales in comparison.
My true friends were all at my mother's wake. There were five of my dearest friends there from high school. These are the people I love dearly. I will never forget the fact that they were there for me. There were many beautiful comments I received on Facebook from many people I had not heard from in a while.
Which brings me back to my original point. High School Reunion. To go, or not to go...that is the question. We live in the age of Facebook. One can exercise their voyeuristic or stalker tendencies online these days, why pay money to go and see people that you mostly do not care about? Is it to take us back so we can relive past relationships and shared experiences and feel young again? Is it so that we can see how far we have come? Is it because like my male friend said, to selfishly see who got fat, bald, drunk, and haven't amounted to anything? Some of my friends are nervous about going, because going back and being around this group of people brings up mixed feelings straight out of high school. I think we feel the pull to attend because we have a shared history. Shared memories, shared events, shared dreams for the future, shared loss, shared everything from our teenage years. For some that is a good thing, for some that is a bad thing. Some people never want to relive high school, while some dream of reliving their "glory days". Some just want to see how people are doing, and where life has taken them. Everybody has good and bad high school memories. Me included. Not everyone has a story about being the most hated individual in high school(for a month at least) for ratting on and almost getting a starting football player suspended for setting her pants on fire in History Lecture one day. Not everyone has a guy come up to them in a bar ten to twelve years later, and confess he always wanted to tell them he had nothing to do with the pants burning incident, because he always liked them, and felt bad about. Not everyone has a story about getting her flag corps uniform skirt stuck on her flag for the first third of the song, right in front of the boy she had a crush on. Not everyone has a story about good friends from high school, becoming lifelong best friends. Not everyone has found out about a secret unrequited love from high school that has evolved into a great friendship. These are my memories. Everyone has their own set of memories from high school.
I want to go to Reunion to see my friends. The ones that are still in my life that I love, as well as friends I had in high school, that I no longer have any contact with. I want to go to see the kids that I spent eleven of my formative years with. Reunion is a time to revisit our shared history. Reunion for me, will be a time to laugh, smile, and make new memories with my best friends, reliving old memories, as well as seeing people I grew up with. After all, we've made it twenty years, right? We will never have this chance again, so if your undecided, just do it! Just go! You can always leave, your an adult now you know?