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Who say’s you can never go home again? You know, I always thought that was probably true. That was until I went to my 40th high school reunion on the beach in Florida. 40th?!!! Yep, I’m an old f*&t, alright.
I could right a whole blog on just how we came to decide to go to my reunion, but I won’t. Suffice to say, I was informed that my high school class had a website and that the reunion was being planned. I went to the website and found out that so many of my old friends (some of whom went from 1st grade through high school graduation with me) were planning to attend the reunion. I also got in touch with my very best friend from high school whom I hadn’t seen since her wedding 35 years ago. Once plans were made to go to Florida, I learned that more and more old friends would be there. I started to get excited. The decision was sealed when I found another person whom I hadn’t seen in more than 40 years. My best friend in junior high school is living is Sarasota (just across the Skyway Bridge from our reunion). I was going to have the opportunity to see (and introduce Jim to) two of the people I had loved and missed most.
I’d attended my 10 year reunion and had been somewhat underwhelmed. Let’s face it, at that point, we were all clawing and scratching our way into the business world or starting families. The emphasis, at that time, was on jobs, money, cars and babies. Since I didn’t have a high-powered job, didn’t have any extra money, drove a pretty ugly car and was single with no children, I really felt pretty alienated. Right then and their, I decided no more reunions. I’m glad I changed my mind.
Now, we’re all old f*#ts, and we could care less about any of that. We’re just happy to see old friends have made it through the “wars” and survived. Sadly, more than 40 of our classmates have passed on. It’s not something we think about on a daily basis, but it’s a fact of life. The older the lucky ones of us get, the more other we find have left us. It was quite a shock to read some of the names on the website, and I’m so very glad that we had a memorial service on the beach to remember and honor those who have gone to their rest.
Most of the crowd have grown children (who really weren’t a topic of much conversation) and are in the twilight of their careers. We’ve all figured out that the secret isn’t the money or the position so much as it’s the satisfaction of doing something we enjoy to the best of our abilities. Some lucky souls have already retired (grrrrr), but the rest of us are hoping to be able to do so before our next 10 years pass.
The very best part of the whole reunion was getting so many of our old friends together and finding out we still can laugh, be silly, and, yes, for one weekend be 17 again. No, we can’t limbo like we could, but we can enjoy the music and each other’s company like 40 years had somehow magically disappeared. The bonds, while stretched across time and space, were still there.
I have to tell you, though, that the funniest thing that happened during the when a dear, old friend came up to me aghast and said, “You’re not DEAD!” My name wasn’t on the list of the departed, but she had been told that I had died. So, now, I was either Lazarus or a zombie. I had to suppress a giggle and a desire to say, “I can smell your brain.”
Now that the reunion is over and we’ve all gone back to our four-corners of the globe, we’ve promised that we will stay in touch. I think we will. I hope we can find a way to get together, too. It sure would be a pity to lose touch once we’ve found each other again.
Do you have a reunion coming up? You might have just as much fun as we did. I just love reunion stories. If you have one you’d like to share, please add it to this site.