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?
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.
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...