OK, I did it. I went to the class reunion. Well, one reunion event.
Thanks, Elaine, for finding me the blouse and jewelry. Hair, colored and casually done, check. Make-up, fine, especially good cover on the stress zit that showed up during Wednesday’s adventures. Legs, shaved, in shorts, not skirt, because it’s at a bar and skirts and barstools do not always mix.
I worked the room as though it were full of strangers, mainly because after all this time they are strangers to me. I didn’t stay here in town, didn’t visit much, and I didn’t really think much about that as I got on with my life. Thanks, Jenni for bringing name tags! The ladies were easier to recognize than the gentlemen, perhaps due to the guys’ hairline and facial hair changes, but I think more due to the fact that some of them still looked like boys at graduation and now they look like their dads. We are all older now than most of our teachers were then. How long ago was it?
Ronald Reagan was still president. The Iron Curtain was still firmly drawn. Walter Cronkite and Richard Nixon were still around. OJ was doing commercials and movies. Adele was a two week old baby in England.
And some things don’t change. The kids who drank then were the adults drinking now, albeit legally. I thought about confronting a third grade bully, but decided it wouldn’t make either of us feel better. Some have sadness engraved in their eyes, and some have serenity of spirit that glows from the inside out. Five have passed away. Some have grandkids, many have gray hair. Overall, everyone is quite pleasant, but I don’t feel any more deeply connected to them now than I did in high school. It’s not them. They are very kind. It’s me. If I am not moved with nostalgia at seeing them, then did I come just to be seen? Hm. Did they?
I did get to share a few little things with my kids. We had ice cream and drove around Fisher Fountain on a warm summer evening filled with locust song and lightning bugs. Our campsite is surrounded by corn fields that give a rustling voice to the constant wind. I got to scare them with the mechanized rattlesnake display at the museum, and then watch them scare the next patrons. They watched me savor my hot Runza, though they did not want to try any themselves. They were more than happy to sample pizza with me this afternoon. We visited a couple of my “old” teachers who were great with my kids and reminded me where I learned to enjoy teaching so much.
Now I’ve emptied my schedule, seen the sights, and checked off my list. I am feeling excited to get to my sister’s tomorrow. I’m done here.