This past weekend was my THIRTIETH high school reunion. I didn’t think I was the reunion type, whatever that means. I still don’t. I haven’t been to any before now, save the 5th, and in all honesty, only 5 years out there wasn’t too much exciting news coming from many people. Two reasons:
- I fled home for out of state college, and more or less never looked back. More because of my home rather than school experience. High school was really fun, but how many times have you heard someone proclaim, “you couldn’t pay me to re-live my teens?” This is what I’m sayin’…
- I more or less kept in touch with the people I really wanted to. Not to mention, with Facebook, I am now in touch with a bunch of people I never would have expected to be. Which has been interesting, entertaining and informative.
- Ok, here’s the 3rd thing. I know I said 2, but… I am terrible with names and sometimes faces. The Hubs is amazingly good at recognizing names and faces and stories from his past. Me? Mostly the stories. The names and faces? Not so much.
- And of course there is a # 4. It is worth mentioning is that recently I’ve somehow changed (not really somehow, I know exactly how) from a very social creature to one who is far less likely to go out, or to socialize with less than very familiar company.
When a friend said she’d fly in from far, far away, and was anyone up for our own, independent, not-reunion gathering? I was all for it. I was in. She based her travel plans on friends committing to getting together, and made plans to fly across the country. You know what is coming next, right? The independent, not-reunion plans got hijacked when someone suggested maybe we should go. Really? Really? But these were people I wanted to see. I was still in.
I wasn’t going to go all nuts about what to wear, or my hair, or rush out for a mani-pedi. I had a few casual but acceptable -for a nice hotel event room- outfits planned out in my head. Amongst our small group, as we were unsure of anyone else, plans were made for pre-reunion cocktails. Sleeping arrangements, so as to safely imbibe the inevitably necessary social lubrication and fortification. Brunch the next day. It might not be so bad at all.
Of course there was the inescapable moment when I added another outfit option, this one a little, dark purple cocktail dress that was so low cut that the neckline (which was nowhere near my neck!) dipped below my tan line. whoops)
This was the antithesis of my calm and casual plans for reunion dressing. Not to mention the fact that I tried on all the outfits (fully accessorized, of course) and texted pictures of them to a few carefully chosen and sartorially savvy friends for advice and a vote. The cleavage cocktail dress won out, hands down.
(Word to the wise: the cleavage baring , thin strappy cocktail dress posed a dilemma and created a party game – where does the name tag sticker go? Short of sticking it front and center on my chest, sticking it on a strap but essentially directly onto my skin, maybe wearing it like a tattoo on my upper arm… we were all at a loss. I played with it all night, and had to ask for duplicates as the sticky stuff wore off each time).
Armed with girlfriend advice and a very sweet, unexpected, confidence-boosting, and much appreciated compliment from a friend (some people have a knack for saying the perfect thing at just the right moment) I was good to go.
There are so few people left in my life who knew me as a child. I’d known a few of these friends since kindergarten, all through high school. I was surprised by how much this struck me. It was fun and meaningful in an unanticipated way. A few comical moments, some tragic fashion choices, lots of snarkiness, and an unfortunately too many remembered names that brought sad stories and news with them.
Sharing a hotel room with my former blogging partner (Lizzie, are you going to meet up with Jane at the other end of this story?) was full of girl talk, mommy conversation, husband/boyfriend news, and the unexpectedly shared confession of an all too recent, still slightly raw experience. There is an intimacy to this friendship created by our shared writing process that we are so lucky to enjoy, no matter how much time lies between visits and even phone calls.
Brunch the next day was glorious – a delightfully delectable meal and bubbly mimosas, all enjoyed al fresco in truly amazing autumn sunshine. Followed by a leisurely stroll through the proverbial quaint river town. Gossip and chat and friendship. More shared kid, husband/fiancé discussion. Shopping! Photos and a loaf of home baked fig bread lovingly carried (TSA be damned) all the way across the country. Long live the sisterhood…
The event itself was fun, I did it and even if I don’t go again, I’m glad I attended. But not unexpectedly, it was the unplanned, rogue moments that made the weekend.