Wednesday, June 14, 2006

19 years ... and one to go

Nineteen years ago this week, I graduated high school. The year before, I had plenty of friends leaving, who said things along the line of "Wouldn't ever want to do it again!" I didn't understand them as a rising senior. As a newly minted grad, I understood them perfectly. And nineteen years down the pike, the feeling is as strong as ever. I am so glad those horrid days are long behind me.

But that also means one year to go until the big 20th. My heart is always divided about reunions. There's a teeeeensy part of me that wants to go, in the hopes that a few folks I've lost touch with will be there. There is the other part of me that never wants to go. I went to the 10th and it reminded me of why I was glad to be out of high school. The funny part is the people I wasn't closest to in high school were far friendlier to me than the people who were in my classes, folks with whom I usually spent at least 3-4 hours daily poring over the same material.

My older friends tell me that by the 20th, things are better. At the 10th everyone is trying to prove they're "someone" even when they're not. They tell me at the 20th, everyone is who they are, and that's life, and if you're still a jerk after 20 years, you'll never quit being a jerk. They say it's way more relaxed. And that's nice in principle.

I sincerely hope with all my heart that in the ensuing ten years, my classmates have grown comfortable in their own skins. It's taken me a long time to do so, and I am happy and healthy (for the most part). If they are not comfortable, happy people, then I truly want nothing more to do with them.

No information has come out yet, but it will happen sooner than I expect. I want to know what the plans are first before I decide. We had a rather tame affair for the 10th, instead of the hotel with room package that I would have expected (and enjoyed). I hope the 20th isn't lame-o.

And one other thing: it makes me so very glad, so incredibly glad that I wasn't voted Most Likely to Succeed. I don't think I would like their definition of success.

1 comment:

Talmadge G. said...

Your friends' observations about reunions seems very spot-on. Lordy, I remember my 5th reunion in 1988 ... I was living 70 miles away in Pine Bluff, and at the time was doing what in retrospect was an embarrassing morning drive show. But that weekend I felt like Hot-Ta-Trot Super Jock (if only I knew what would happen less than a month later at that station...)

But I went mainly for one big reason: REM and U2 were hit artists by 1988, and I was a fan back in '82-'83 when these people made fun of my "quirky" tastes in music. Those groups with the funny names. I said they'd be big someday. They laughed. But my laugh was last, and yyyyyeah I rubbed it in a bit. >:-D

By #25 (which is staring me in the face -- try 2008; egad!!!!), most of us have lost gobs of hair, are probably on the way to eating regular meals at buffet restaurants and cafeterias ... but especially are our own people. And some of us look at versions of ourselves in the mirror some 100 pounds more than when we traipsed our high school's campus.

The big question for my 25th: which one? Hot Springs, Ark. (where I moved while in 11th grade), or Cape Girardeau, Mo. (grades 8-11)?

Right now I'm leaning very heavily toward Missou-ruh ... assuming, of course, I go. Our attitudes were very similiar regarding the high schools we graduated from.

The biggest question of all is "am I comfortable in my own skin"? I don't know, except to say I believe I'm closer to that ideal than I was, say, 10 years ago.

--Talmadge "Class of '83" Gleck