Friday, August 11, 2006

Reunited, and it feels so good.

This is what many of the boys looked like when I graduated high school in 1973. Quite the "do", wouldn't you say?

High school. For many, the greatest time of life. We were young, still thin, no cellulite. Okay, a few zits to deal with, but nothing some good make-up couldn't cover up.

A time that was stress free, no cares in the world, friend's galore...right?

WRONG

High school was tough for some of us. Not unbearable, but tough. Had it not been for BBYO, a Jewish youth group for boys and girls, I'm not sure I would have had any social life at all. Through this group I felt connected...I belonged...I was important.

We had "socials" with boys, teaching us the ways of young love.
We performed good deeds, one of which was volunteering to entertain the sick children at Children's Hospital.
We had elections for board members, teaching us the ways of politics.

For me, it was life saving.

It's not as if I was unable to make friends in high school, but I just never really felt at home, until joining this group.

I attended my 10 year reunion, nonetheless, mainly because I was feeling better about myself by then. I had been dating Mr. Cruisin for awhile, had two college degrees, but most importantly...NO MORE ZITS. So...why not show-off.

I was glad I attended, and surprised by how many people had actually remembered who I was.

So when it came time to attend the 20 year reunion, I was all over it.

By then, I had all the confidence in the world. Hey, I was married, had two kids, no cellulite yet, and still NO ZITS.

I thought, why not attend. People remembered who I was at the 10 year, surely they would all come rushing over to me again at the 20 year.

I have a theory about the 10 year vs. the 20 year reunion:

At the 10 year, everyone is very busy strutting around, showing off what they've accomplished in the last ten years.

By the 20th, everyone is much more relaxed and settled with their lives.

So, the night of my 20th reunion, I was actually pretty excited. Nervous, but excited. I knew I'd have Mr. Cruisin by my side, and at the very least he and I would have a good time together.

We arrived at the hotel, all dolled up, and ready to face the class of 1973. Upon entering the hotel, there were plenty of people running around, giggling, screaming, hugging...genuinely excited to see eachother.

As Mr. Cruisin and I walked through the lobby of the Marriot hotel, I stared at the faces going by me. Everyone was wearing a name badge with a picture from senior year of high school, so that if you didn't recognize the person in the "present", you would certainly be able to identify them by the picture of the "past".

We walked around for several minutes, and I was stunned by one observation...

I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE ONE SOUL.

As we continued to stroll around, looking for somewhere to check in, I began to feel myself wilt.

It was just like being back in high school. Not one person recognized me and vice versa.

My heart started pounding, my eyes welled-up (just a little) with tears. After twenty years, was it possible that I was even more unpopular than I was in high school?

I began to feel a wave of panic rush over me, as we continued walking around, not recognizing one person.

I knew I was not popular in high school, but this was just plain hurtful. How could I not be able to recognize one person and, not one person know who I was?

Finally we found the check-in table. I told the woman at the table I was here for BLANK high school, class of '73. She looked up at me and quizically asked, "HUH?"

I repeated myself and she just stared at me.

Finally, I looked at the sign posted on the table, which stated: OTHER BLANK high school reunion, class of '71.

WTF

I was at the wrong reunion!

I knew that several reunions had taken place at the Marriot hotel, and just made the assumption that mine was there as well. I never bothered to do what most people do, which is to thoroughly read the invitation.

Fortunately for me, a company that plans reunions for high schools, had planned both my reunion, and the one I was now stuck at...so they were able to tell me which hotel my reunion was actually at.

We hopped in the car and raced over to the other hotel. I walked in and people were immediately recognizable to me. A few actually came over and greeted me too.

I met up with a group of girls I had known, even from junior high, and had a great time.

Better than I expected.

Mr. Cruisin sat back, and watched as I talked and laughed about days gone by.

In this one night, I would live through a rush of many familiar feelings...

At the first hotel, I was the young girl, all dressed up and hopeful, only to find that not one person wanted to talk to me.

At the second hotel, I was the young girl, who, for a brief moment in time...felt like she fit it.

I didn't attend my 30 year reunion 3 years ago. I didn't feel the need. There was really no one I wanted to see. I no longer felt curious. Perhaps I no longer had anything to prove.

I had come a long way in those 30 years. No longer shy and wondering why anyone would want to be my friend, or date me. I knew I'd have a better time eating icecream and watching t.v. in the warmth of my home.

Reunions are strange really. Why do we have a need to reconnect with people who were a part of our lives for one fleeting moment in time?

For some, it was the only good time in life, the only time that made sense, hence, the need to go back and relive it. For others, it's simply a time of wonderful memories to reconnect with. But for others, it may have been a difficult time of life, creating the need to go back and prove that they're okay now.

For me it was the latter.

That, and the fact that I no longer had...

zits.

26 comments:

Mildred Garfield said...

Loved your reunion story.

So much truth in it, I'm sure lots of people feel the same way about reunions.

You had me going there for awhile and then came the punch line!!

Baleboosteh said...

Another beautiful post CM, you have such a way with words.
Thanks for sharing your reunion with us.

Jack's Shack said...

The wrong hotel. Hee hee.

Claire said...

That's too funny! You had me worried, and then came the kicker. We're not that big on school reunions here, but I am hearing rumours of a class of '99 reunion in 2009. Petrified doesn't even start it.

Wendy said...

This is great! The writing is so engaging! Sad and funny. Love it.

torontopearl said...

Wendy said it best: "sad and funny".

This is the stuff that great blogs are made of, Randi!

Pesky Settler said...

Unfortunately by the time any of my reunions came around, I was living in Israel by then. Last year, we had an "Alum living in Israel" reunion to celebrate our high school's 25th anniversary.

Three other 'girls' from my class (yes, we're in our mid-30's with kids of our own, but we will always be girls in my mind) were there. The four of us were the only ones from our class living in Israel.

Ezer K'negdo said...

So true babe, so true! Beautifully said, as usual. I just love the way you write!

Wishing I was a said...

"Showed off" at my 10 year, missed my 20th, AND 30th, but am bound and determined to make the 35th! They've shortened up the time between gatherings due to diminished returns! How sad! Glad to know you were at the wrong location dear....how sad would THAT have been!!!

Head over heel said...

Great post. Wow I really felt with you when you described how you entered the wrong hotel. I never attended any reunion and there was never one organized. But at least reading your post I was attending one in my thought.

Another meshugannah mommy said...

I am still great friends with people from my BBYO days. BTW - you should check out bbyoalumni.org.

Love your story - the wrong hotel! Glad it turned out all right.

My 20th is next year and I am on the fence about attending. Great blog post - it's got me thinking...

Ralphie said...

wrong hotel - excellent.

JMK2006 said...

You hit it on the head: curiosity and something to prove - those are the major motivators for attending H.S. reunions.

"And I'm never going back/
To my old school..."
- Steely Dan

cruisin-mom said...

Millie: My mother has attended all of her reunions...right up to the 55th. So, it's never to late!

Baleboosteh: wow, thanks!

jack: I know, pretty funny!

claire: you should go. I've heard many people regret not going.

Wendy: ahhh, thanks!

T.P: you are prejudice!

pesky settler: Welcome...thanks for stopping by. Even if just four of you got together, I bet you "girls" still had a good time.

E.K.: looks who's talking about great writing :)

wishing I was: welcome: Hope to hear more from you, you sound like you have alot to say, and I like your writing style :)

HOH: you're so funny...i'm glad I could take you to a reunion in your head!

AMM: I will definitely check out that site. If you are on the fence...I'd say go...the 20th is so much more relaxing than the 10th. Let me know!

Ralphie: hey, thanks...how many people do you know who pulled one like that?

jmk2006: welcome back, haven't seen you here for a little while. Ahhh, a steely dan fan! YES

Neil said...

My favorite post of yours. It had everything. Funny and sentimental. And I'm impressed that you went to your reunions at 10 and 20. I never bothered to go at all.

cruisin-mom said...

Neil: awwww, thanks!

JMK2006 said...

Email came around soon after my crop graduated h.s., and our Class uses it frequently to communicate updates and announcements. It dilutes some of the "pull" we feel about attending reunions, but I kind of like it that way....

Chana said...

What a great story! I'm glad it had a happy ending. :)

PsychoToddler said...

Going to the wrong reunion--that's so you!

I would have worked it.

cruisin-mom said...

jmk2006: email has changed everything in terms of communication. I prefer email to the phone sometimes...not sure if that's a good thing or not.

chana: thanks, me too!

P.T.: no doubt you would have worked it...but everyone knows you are much groovier than I am.

The Scribe said...

Very nice piece on your reunions. I agree that for some reason the 10 year is important, maybe the 20 year, but then the urge wears off. The most amazing thing I found at my high school reunion was that people who were shy, awkward and clueless had blossomed since high school. That was extremely gratifying to see.
Ms. Boomer Chronicles

cruisin-mom said...

The Scribe: thanks for stopping by. I agree...those of us who were shy and awkward, blossomed later...thank goodness!

Stacey said...

I can't believe it was the wrong hotel! Hee, hee. Too funny, CM!!

My 20th reunion is THIS year! And oh, how I want to go. I am not sure why. I think I am just curious.

Also, my hair is still black, I don't have (many) wrinkles and I am still thin. Who knows if I will be able to say that in another 10 years.

But unfortunately, I will not be going. I just got the invitation and the idiots who are planning it did so on Thanksgiving wknd. That is the worst weekend. It is THE most heavily traveled time of the entire year. They should know from their address list that many of us moved far away and have established lives elsewhere. My sister and her family come down here for Thanksgiving each year, so there is no way I can be in Ohio! Sigh.

cruisin-mom said...

Stacey: that really is bad planning...too bad...looking that good and all! You could show off and feel relaxed...well, perhaps the 25th will be the right time and place!

Minor Fast Days said...

First time checking out your blog. Love it..Full of experience and wisdom.

cruisin-mom said...

A.M.: thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed my writing.