Summer is a big time for high school reunions to take place. local high schools’ display signs will announce the upcoming 10+ year reunion and how to get in touch. This year for my high school was no exception, a reunion was on the books, and it was done primarily through Facebook vs the old way of through the US Postal service with postcards invites etc. My class of 1982 from Westwood High School in Austin (go Warriors) was included in a classes of ’78 to ’83 of Round Rock HS, where my class and the one below had gone until the opening of WHS my senior year and we were split up. So this reunion wasn’t my traditional year to get together but it was actually my favorite of the reunions I have been to, 10, 20 and 25. And here is why.
We all had those people in classes other than ours that we knew or knew from afar which was pretty cool to know upperclassmen.
Because of the split up my SR year it is always nice to be with RRHS folks, which my class has been doing ever since having one night with them our 10 year reunion. every year since it is now a combined Warrior Dragon event, as it should be when you go to school with people most of the middle school and high school years.
And like my 20 year reunion my long time friend Maureen came in from DC and we roomed together which is awesome because then you have someone other than a spouse or significant other who A. didn’t go to your school most likely, B. doesn’t know a lot of the people and C. therefore doesn’t care nearly as much about who used to date who and is now cozied up in a corner because their spouses/significants are not present. Maureen and I were able to debate the various events, circumstances, and we both know the people or at least could help each other remember someone that we were having trouble with the name and or face. Both of our spouses are quite a bit older than we are and only too happy to not make the traveling squad having had their share of reunions. Mine when he heard hers wasn’t coming had his perfect out.
With the magic of Facebook though, coming to the reunion was a bit easier as you got to see what they look like now and because Maureen is forever a brilliant organizer, she asked that in honor of the reunion a few weeks prior, that people post a pic from high school. Which not only was great fun but was also reallllllyyyy helpful in getting a read on who someone is now.
Also Facebook is great because it is like an electronic Christmas card everyday. You get to see the kids pictures, here how it is going, about the family’s vacations, the surgeries, the jobs and job changes right there. By the time the reunion came around you could cut the crappy “so how you doing, what’s new, where are you” exchange and instead say “how’s your mama and ’em after the the bad weather/surgery/trip” etc. You get the picture. And you knew who you really wanted to talk to more about their exciting new adventure, or see how they were after a bad break up because you knew something in more real time. Facebook has allowed me to “reunite” or just get to know all over again or even better than high school people who weren’t in my circle possibly but I did think were cool. Or I didn’t have a clue how cool they really were. Or maybe they weren’t at all but they turned out to be just about the most cool person I know. It is too much fun really and Facebook is the reunion everyday.
But nothing takes the place of being there in person. The story you pass around to your friends who are going to have or have been to reunions is true. Girls usually don’t look their very best at the 10 year reunions, by the 20 though, birthing babies is over in a lot of cases and they have pulled it back together and are just more interesting in so many ways. The guys usually still look pretty good at the 10 and in many cases finally matured and look even better than they possibly could in high school. the late bloomers, we all know ’em. But at the 20 and beyond, many of the guys have lots of years of sitting, losing hair etc. and they start to look like it has been 20+ years.
I have found though that at the 20year and the ones beyond it, it becomes this time of just damn happy to see anyone really. We have lost people along the way as happens in all areas of life but somehow when it is your classmates it feels extra sharp because we were YOUNG together. Their passing is often tragic after 28 years like this most reunion for me. Feels sadder somehow even if you didn’t know them at all. You walked the same halls, parked in the same lots, had the same teachers, went to football games, basketball games, Homecoming dances. It just doesn’t seem right somehow that they are not at the reunion. Mortality is a screaming bitch at that moment.
What is even better than the traditional Friday casual evening, Saturday family picnic, and Saturday night bit dressier event, are the after parties and pre-parties that we went to which were blasts in so many ways. One friend couldn’t make the weekend so we got to meet up with her Thursday night and several folks, again through FB magic, turned up for this good time.
Maureen and I will tell you that we basically ran the school at the 9th grade center. And we are serious when we say this. We also have a memorable long school night where we made the class favorite banners with the standard high school sashes, stencils, glue and glitter. Glitter that we would find in so many different places for what seemed like months after. Maureen made a banner for Most Dependable and it wasn’t quite straight lettering and she said she felt bad for the person who got it, which of course ended up being her. This is also the year that we became Monica and Polly to Mr. Hughes the principal who could never get our name right and since we did run the school were in admin office all the time. So we called him Mr. Huggess.
You all have these memories that are uniquely yours. 31 years later we still call each other Monica and Polly.
Maureen and the delightful JC (who I am not going to name because he might not want that and Maureen, well she knows me so she will have to forgive me if didn’t want her name in my blog!), put together a great DVD of photos from way back and that was a pretty big highlight of the weekend and hope to get my copy soon so I can review the fun memories again.
As mentioned earlier, Westwood is the home of the Warriors and Round Rock is the home of the Dragons. I was a Dragon longer than a Warrior, especially if you include the RR Middle School Lizards, that grow into Dragons apparently. As I was maroon and white Dragon girl for some time, I was sporting an all the current rage Silly Bandz dragon bracelet from my daughter’s collection. I brought another for Maureen which she proudly wore throughout the weekend.
All funny and fun stuff aside, the reunion reminded me of how much I love these people I slogged through algebra and biology with, journalism and yearbook, english classes, Friday night football games and weekends at Lake Travis. I heard once that who you are as a person is formed early and I have been basically convinced that who you are late middle school and beyond is who you are now, in my case 28 years later. I am still goofy, I smile a lot and act silly and have a nutty sense of humor. I still love my long time friends with the same sense of loyalty and become loyal to the new ones too. I am up for the good time when that includes lots of laughing, talking and music and don’t require a whole evening of alcohol to have fun. The friends from school and some now on FB from that time remind me of the best parts of me. Sometimes the not so nice of me that I wish I could fix if I find I hurt someone’s feelings back then. But for the most part it is positive. Sorry when I hear it is not for people because I got lucky I am sure.
Facebook is a great re-uniter of friends. I am now connected with my friends that I didn’t know if I would ever even know where they were from before and during elementary school in a small WTX town to the first girl I knew when we moved to Austin when I was in 5th grade, to the friend of middle school in RR schools, to people we share the common school experience and maybe just knew each other in the halls. Reunion weekends make me glad that people with that common experience are still around and still like getting together, reminiscing of course but also getting to know about you now as pretty much growed up. And FB will keep us in touch too so we may not have to wonder where or why old so and so didn’t make it to the reunion as off with kids or even grandkids etc.
I had a blast, stayed up too late all the nights as did Maureen and like small children were exhausted and weepy due to the tired hanging out by Sunday. Hugging my friend as I dropped her back to the hotel before I embarked on my 6 hour drive home, we just bawled. We had already discussed the plans of moving back to the area before too old to enjoy it. We will be running that nursing home eventually, even with walkers. And it all started years ago as friends in middle school.
You all have them, the memories, the friendships, the shared experiences with a set of people, even if not all of the experiences were good but you have them. And I hope when you do have a chance at a reunion you will go, to at least one. Because you never know who will reunite with, like two of our friends who didn’t date in high school and got to visiting at the 10 year and are now married, and there are more stories of happy occurrences (and not all are the hook-up dirty kind of stories, get your mind out of the gutter) along the way.
Monica and Polly rule!