Saturday, July 25, 2009

Class of '89

I was part of the graduating class of 1989. Which means today is our 20th reunion. I attended the 10th, the 15th and will attend this evening. It's not that I thought my high school years were the best of my life, as is so often the claim. Perhaps because, through many, many family moves and upheavals I have attended a total of 9 different schools (but with 3 moves back and forth to some of the same schools, so it felt like 12), having this sense of place, this building, these faces to return to every so often, anchors my past for me. Many of these faces I've known since 5th grade, which feels rare and wonderful to me having so often been the new kid. And even if I always kept myself apart somewhat, afraid to trust and wary that at any moment those few friendships I worked to build would be taken away (as they often were), I hold dear many memories of people that in some way I've been linked to, if only by a classroom.

That's me, next to the teacher.

This reunion is made so much more interesting due to the miracle of Facebook. I'm sure we're all still a little bit terrified (admit it) but now we know how everyone looks at almost 40, if we have kids, married or divorced, who is out of the closet, what work we do, etc. We understand a bit better how and why people change and I think it makes us all more open to understanding our former classmates. In some ways it's like we've all come out of that closet I mentioned. Not one of us was without some turmoil, life drama, pain or hardship back in high school. But many of us suffered alone, thinking no one would understand. Now those doors have been thrown open and we say if only I had know then...that's okay, we know now. That's what will make this reunion fascinating.

So tonight we'll gather, laugh and create a whole new set of memories and associations. The beauty of a reunion like this not that we are stuck in 1989, but that we have moved on, have become different. Most importantly, we've found empathy for one another. More than anything, that's what will make us friends.

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