For the most part, I remain comfortable with my choice to not attend my 40th year-since-graduating-from-high school reunion, though I admit to having more than a twinge of remorse for making that choice. The festivities were held last weekend but I was busy planning a trip to see my mother (who lives in the same city in which the reunion was held) and trying to make sure I'd be back home in time to welcome overnight guests who were arriving that same evening. I had a short visit with my mother and sisters and an uneventful trip back home, but my mind was actually on the reunion most of that time. There I was in town, just one block from my former high school, yet I chose to not attend. I wondered which former classmates were there and what they said to each other when they met again - many for the first time in 40 years. I wondered if any of them would have remembered me, but I was relieved that I didn't have to experience the disappointment if they had not.
A few former classmates developed a website for our class and posted pictures of the reunion as it was happening. I viewed the pictures with curiosity and was surprised that time appeared to have stood still for some of my classmates and they looked very much as I remembered them. Time hadn't been as kind to others and I fear I might have fallen into that latter category.
I had mixed feelings after viewing pictures of my former classmates. I thought they were all very brave to have gone to the reunion and allowed their pictures to be taken and posted on the website. I don't know that I would have been anxious to have my picture displayed there.
I wanted to keep the memories of my classmates preserved forever in my mind and be able to always see them as they were in my school years. Now, of course I know it's not realistic (or fair) to expect people to remain as I remembered them. I have gone through many stages and changes myself - some good, and some not so good. So how could I possibly think that others should have stayed the same for all these years? I didn't actually think people would look the same as they did in their youth, but I didn't want my illusions to be shattered either.
I have a friend who is fond of saying we should always accept each other, "warts and all", and from all the accounts I've read, my former classmates did just that. All barriers and cliques that had existed during high school had disappeared and the members of our 1968 graduating class seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed their time together last weekend. The former math "geeks" mingled with the cheerleaders and the ex-football stars conversed with the scholars. Many of them exchanged addresses and shared pictures of their families and pets. They saluted classmates who are no longer with us and vowed to keep in touch in the future.
When the reunion ended, many who attended expressed a desire to meet again in 5 years and I think I'd like to be among them next time - warts and all. Life is short.