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Monday, August 27, 2007

Updates and meanderings...

I had my high school reunion and while I had a fantastic time, I'm glad to have the break now. My son commented after I came home that he saw my health deteriorating over the course of my planning, and subsequently implementing, my reunion. I'll do it the next time, in 2012, but I can't let it take as much out of me as it did the last time.

Anyway, my reunion...

I had a wonderful time and seeing everyone, some for the first time since graduation, was amazing. It was completely low pressure and one of my classmates, Corinne, mentioned to me afterwards, that she enjoyed the fact that there was no talk of, "What do you do?", "How many kids do you have?", "What are they doing now?", "Where do you live and in what size house?"...

I have to say, the playing field was definitely level, with old friends catching up with old friends. Since I've been sick, I haven't been able to work, and I was concerned that I would be judged by the fact I am pretty much a stay at home mom now. I didn't have to worry about that in the slightest. Everyone looked the same to me, except one classmate who had to remind me who he was, which was surprising because once he told me, I saw it right away! The same smile, the same face, the same eyes, the same incredibly full beard he had in high school! (He was an early bloomer, it seems, and had a full beard since, oh, tenth grade?) We danced, we drank (way too much!), we ate, we laughed, we caught up after too many years apart.

I had so many people tell me how much they appreciated my doing this, how much work it must have been, and how much time it took away from my normal life. I didn't say this at the reunion, and I should have, but my reasons weren't alltogether altruistic.

December of 2005, we lost one of our more well-known classmates, Doug Proctor, to side effects of Multiple Sclerosis. He was young, only 40, and in high school, he lit up a room just by walking into it. He was funny, intelligent, lively, active and I didn't know anyone who didn't like Doug. We HAVE lost other classmates to deaths that were essentially their own fault. I'm not saying anyone should die because of stupidity, etc. I believe all life is valuable... However, these other classmates were lost to their own drunk driving, suicides, drug overdoses, you get the drift. Doug was the first one to die not as a result of his own actions but as a result of nature; and it hit me kind of hard.

The class I graduated from, Tecumseh High School Class of 1982, was a small class by some standards, roughly 350 people, and we grew up together, pretty much. We were a small, rural school district, and a handful of elementary schools fell into two junior highs (this was in the days before middle school, and the first year our school district changed things was in my senior year, when freshmen began attending our high school) and everyone ended up at the same High School, Tecumseh. However, we all went to the same places, shopped at the same stores, attended the same churches, our parents worked at the same places and, in the case of those who had older siblings, our brothers and/or sisters knew or dated each other. The point I'm trying to make is this: We all truly knew each other, from kindergarten to graduation, and beyond given some of us went to the same colleges.

Here's what I didn't tell my class... I took charge of this reunion for one reason and one reason only: I love you all. I even love the ones who don't like me at all, because that's the chip on their shoulder.

I didn't want another five years to go by and hear of another person leaving this plane, to pass onto another, more mysterious world. I didn't want to read about the death of another classmate, yet again being reminded that our time on this earth is too short, by any standards. I didn't want to berate myself for not seeing these people yet again and hear we were reduced in numbers. I knew all the people in our class who have died before now. I knew some better than others, some barely, but I knew them all, and it saddens me to know they are gone. I miss Doug. I missed his presence at our reunion, knowing he would have been there, had he been alive.

Matt King's wife made a comment to me about her last high school reunion. She graduated from a high school in Dallas, a member of a class of about 900. She told me that at her last reunion, that she didn't know half the people who were there and the same cliques were still in place after two decades of living in the world. I explained to her that we also had the same clique in place, that of our class. We were one large clique, all united in the understanding of being a family, having grown up together as we did.

So, yes, I will take charge of the next reunion in 2012 and the reason will be the same, because I selfishly don't want another five years to go by without one more chance to let the people in my life have fun and see each other again.

Except this time, I think I'll tell them this.