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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My High School Reunion

A funny thing happened on the way to my high school reunion: I forgot to give a damn about all the stuff that was important in high school.

There's a definite beauty in going back home for your (gulp!) thirtieth reunion.

You see, the last one I went to was my tenth reunion, and the vibe is just completely different. First of all there were a lot more of us, and there was also a feeling of  "Oh, look how good I'm doing, and how are you?"  and "I can't believe ------ had the nerve to say hello" pervading the whole event.

I was a size six, with a dark purple dress cut down to...there and a slit up to my upper thigh and my hair was gorgeous and I strutted in there like I owned the place. And of course, I saw dozens of girls who did the same, and we all high-fived and talked about our lives and our husbands and some talked about their kids and it was all very informative but not a very bonding experience.

Then this year happened. And I'm divorcing and no longer near a size six, and I struggle to pay my bills sometimes and I couldn't afford to bring the kids with me to show them off.

And it was OK.

It was all OK. Because at forty-eight, none of us really gave a damn anymore. We've all got our stories. We've all had some mileage. We've all put on pounds or worried off pounds, lost jobs or lost spouses, and watched our kids grow. And we all love to listen to those stories, support each other, laugh with each other.

Hug each other.

The stories are what make us who we are, woven together in a beautiful tapestry illustrating life not just in this small town, but all over the world as we've traveled it. We reminisced and remembered so many of our classmates that should have been there, but their lives and stories wouldn't permit, and we held hands and hugged and remembered all the classmates whose stories ended way too soon.

I was nobody in high school. I mean, really nobody. I had my little group of friends in Speech and Drama Club, and some in choir, but outside my little circle, I wasn't thought about much. We all knew each other because it was a small school, but outside your own little circles, who really knew anybody?

But now we want to know. We want to know, and share and commiserate with those stories, those lives, those fundamental things that tie us all together even after some of us shook the dust of this small town off our feet and traveled on.

Almost none of us is as young-looking or attractive as we'd like to be (well, except you, Ray. All the girls were swooning...) or rocking that high school body anymore (except you, Renee. Nobody should be allowed to have a body that great at forty-eight...) and nobody's living that amazing jet-setting life we all thought we'd have by now (well, except you, Chris. I hear Beijing is beautiful this time of year...). Most of us are just regular people with regular body types and regular sometimes good/sometimes not so good jobs with kids we love and parts of our lives that we don't.

They say time is the great equalizer. We all have our wrinkles, our scars, our creaky knees, and most of all our stories. And after spending a weekend in my beautiful home town, with the mountains all around and the laughter of my friends ringing in my ears, my story has just gotten that much richer.

They say you can't go home again. I'm here to say you can, and sometimes, it's really worth it.

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