I just returned from my high school reunion. Yes, forty years is a long time, and I'd been feeling old and fat in anticipation. I've gained fifty pounds since my skinny high school years, along with wrinkles and sags. I tried dieting this summer in preparation for the reunion, but lost about nine pounds, total. Oh, well, I wasn't deterred. After all, many I'd be seeing were life-long friends. Surely they wouldn't comment on the deteriorated state of my body, right?
My concerns were unfounded, as it turns out. I arrived, handsome husband in tow, and picked up my name badge (You know, the ones with your name, your maiden name, and a tiny copy of your senior picture on the side) at the registration table, where I was greeted by three familiar faces. (The volunteers who organized our reunion did a terrific job. We had a nice dinner and a dee-jay who played music from the sixties, and a nice area in which to mingle and talk.)
I squinted at name badges then at faces, trying to reconcile the two and jump-start my memory in a millisecond before the other person caught me *LOL * I stopped worrying after I noticed a dozen or so of my classmates squinting at MY name badge and MY face. Since I've spent half of my life in the deep south, I had a decidedly more southern accent than I'd had as a teen, too, which may have thrown off a few from immediately recognizing me.
Then an amazing thing happened. Soon we had reacquainted ourselves with our older versions and forgot all about how we'd changed physically. We talked and looked at baby pictures of kids and grandkids. And dogs, too! We reminisced some of our high school high jinks, and talked about where we'd lived (all over the U.S., as it turns out!), and what our current passions are. One couple follows the rodeo circuit and watches professional bull riding. Another is involved in archaeological and historical preservation. Another share our enthusiasm for old classic cars. Many of us are retired and / or involved in a second career. Nobody at my reunion lives a boring or inactive life!
A good friend commented that it was surprising how we'd turned out to be productive citizens. Our high school alumni include judges, lawyers, dentists, pilots, educators, Secret Service agents, public servants, entrepreneurs, and authors (Me!).
Dozens, unfortunately, have passed away. Every reunion we lose more of our classmates. I wonder how many of us will be around ten years from now?