Thursday, September 20, 2012

High School Reunions: The Agony and The Ecstasy

A reality check--attend your 45th high school reunion.  

Seeing my former classmates was like a look in the mirror.  I look as old as they do.  That was one sobering glimpse.  In my state of denial I choose to believe that my physical appearance hasn't changed all that much through the years.  A reunion asserts loudly and clearly, "You gotta be kidding."

It's a hard adjustment when, if your mind works similar to mine, you remember people like they were, rather than like they are.  I recall "Bill"* as the class playboy; seeing him today I doubt he can even remember the last time he had sex.  "Virginia"* was captain of the cheerleader squad--outgoing and gregarious,blond, body of a goddess.  Add 50 lbs and subtract her personality she only speaks when spoken to. Fortunately, "Steve"** is still charming, confident, debonair, engaging, --the list goes on.  And completely psychotic. 

A 45th reunion serves as a sobering reminder of our mortality.  Of a graduating class of about 70, 10 are deceased.  That seems like a high percentage that the Grim Reaper has claimed for his own.  It reminds me to treasure each day and live it in a full way because I might also be living it in a final way.

I grew up in small-town America, graduating from Hicksville High School.  Seriously.  Upon graduation I left and never turned back,  escaping my sheltered existence and wanting to experience all that life has to offer.  I wanted to travel and explore.  I've lived with all the jokes about Hicksville.  Do you know what it was like to sit in front of a prospective employer and as he is going through your resume he notes aloud, "So you say you graduated from Hicksville High.  Are you trying to be a smartass?"  I do my best to convince him of my truthfulness but he looks at me, squinting his eyes in suspicion.

Truth is, though I don't miss small-town America  I can say with certainty there is a loyalty to each other, a mutual care and pulling together when a friend is down, a camaraderie that is seldom found elsewhere. The reunion reminded me of those glowing qualities in my friends who have remained in Hicksville.

I look forward to the 50th reunion.  I was asked if I would provide the sermon on that Sunday morning.  Talk about planning ahead.  Then it dawned on me.  I was given so much notice because they probably figure it will take me five years to come up with something of substance to say.  

Some things haven't changed at all.

*    not actual name or person
**  my actual name


Farfalla Dreams said...

HAHA! I enjoyed reading this, so much. It's amazing how fast time goes by. We don't even realize how precious time is. Thank you for sharing.

Steve said...

F.D., I'm glad you enjoyed it and you also set me up really well to pass on one of my "rules to live by."
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.