The Fifty-Year Reunion looms. I don’t know what to expect. Will I know anyone? Will anyone know me? Fifty years is a looong time. I wonder if I’m crazy to be traveling such a long way to attend a gathering of strangers. I have had a few communications with some of the classmates, which is promising, but will they remember me on the day? A surprising number of them still live in the area where we went to school, and no doubt many have kept in contact with one another. But here I am, in Australia for over 32 years, totally out of touch. I really will be the “odd person out.”
If nothing else, at least I should be a strong contender for the prize for having traveled the farthest. Not that there really is such a prize, of course, but that’s pretty typical for me. The only time I win anything is when there isn’t a prize.
I’ve been trying to troll through my memory bank for anecdotes from high school, and I really can’t find many. I’m pretty sure I was there, but there isn’t a lot of evidence. Certainly not in the form of academic performance. I was a terrible student. Fact is, I wasn’t a student at all. I just attended classes regularly. I never did any homework. I was the sort of student that causes much grinding of teeth amongst faculty members. But I got my just desserts; both my sons were exactly the same kind of student as I was, except a lot smarter.
The Reunion coincides with the high school Homecoming Game, and we (the seriously senescent alumni) will have our own section at the game, AND we can either ride or walk in the Homecoming Parade. Now I’m not expecting my classmates to be arriving with Zimmer frames, but I think in the eyes of the hormonal hordes of high school students, we will seem unimaginably old.
Perhaps our challenge will be to demonstrate to these callow youth that there is life after high school…long after, however pathetic it might look to them now. Do I yearn for the high school days? Good heavens, no. I’d like to have the fitness and energy, the seemingly endless expanse of time laid out in front of me, but to be a teenager again would be…well, pretty awful. Admittedly, I am experiencing a certain amount of teenage-like angst at the moment, but at least I do know better. Age does bring with it a certain amount of wisdom, which is probably just experience you don’t have to keep having over and over again. I’m happy enough to feel like a teenager without having to be a teenager.
So, bring on the 50-year reunion. I think I’ll be up for a little trip through Memory Land. As long as they’re someone else’s memories. Mine are pretty bland. MM
Suellen Carey, 1961
North Kansas City High School