20th High School Reunion
Last Saturday night, Jen and I went to my 20th high school reunion. That’s right, in June 1987, I graduated from high school. How long ago was that? During the fall of my senior year, Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet debuted! These were the top 10 television shows during my senior year:
1) The Cosby Show
2) Family Ties
4) Murder, She Wrote
5) The Golden Girls
6) 60 Minutes
7) Night Court
8) Growing Pains
10) Who’s the Boss?
And No. 11? Dallas (I don’t remember if that was the Bobby Ewing dream sequence in the shower lost season.)
1987 was so long ago that between McEachern and North Cobb High Schools, there were no other high schools. When I left Pine Mountain Middle School in 1983, half of us went to North Cobb and half of us went to McEachern. Which brings me to my first observation about the reunion. As we were walking down the hallway of the hotel to the room where my fellow Warriors were reconnecting, we passed a wedding reception and then I noticed a woman that I went to middle school with talking with someone else who I didn’t recognize. I took another 3 steps and recalled that that woman didn’t go to North Cobb when we left middle school; she went to McEachern. Then, I passed the registration table for the 20th high school reunion for McEachern High School. In the same hotel . . . on the same hallway . . . on the same weekend. Weird.
At the end of the hallway was another registration table — the one for North Cobb. There I picked up my name tag. The folks at the reunion consultants were kind enough to slap a copy of my senior portrait on the name tag in case I forgot what I looked like with a mullet. (Or maybe in case I had hidden that part of my past from my lovely wife.) I think the women alums (alumnae — for you Latin devotees) had it worse. Most of their name tags reminded them of their Reba-McIntyre-Entertainer-of-the-Year hairdos. The ones that required a bottle of Aqua Net per day to maintain maximum height and circumference.
The night was filled with recollections of days long ago. But more conversations were about where we’ve been since that June morning at the Cobb Civic Center in 1987 and what we’re doing now. Talks about jobs and kids and ailments — kids’ ailments and our own! The one thing that I noticed was that the years had seemed to release most of us from the cliques that so many of us had been caught up in. It was sort of the mirror image of that first day of kindergarten. When you’re 5 and you go to school for the first time (of course, no one now goes to “school” for the first time at the age of 5 anymore — waiting that long might reduce the chances of your kid being able to learn algebra in the 5th grade. Because if you master polynomials by age 11, the world is your oyster, but if you wait until 9th grade, your only option may be law school.) Like I was saying, when you go to that first day of kindergarten, you’ll talk to anyone because all you see are other kids the same size as you. You don’t care if they’re wearing clothes from Baby Gap or Wal-Mart. None of them are cooler because they rode around in a $400 stroller at 6 months old. All you see is another person with a runny nose just like you.
Some 30+ years later, you live out the mirror image of that first day of school. Again, you’re back to talking to anyone. Why? The innocence of that first day is lost. By now, life has thrown so many other things at us since high school that people simply don’t have time to bother with concerning themselves with perceived status. So you can have conversations with people who never would have let you borrow a pen in class 20 years ago. It’s kind of nice to think that people who could be so petty then (myself included) could put away any resentment and just enjoy the moment to reminisce about how stupid we all were then.