Sunday, July 26, 2009
Yes, that's me 35 years ago. Those were our nametags last night for the main reunion and we had a lot of fun. It was funny to watch the same thing happen to everyone as they arrived and began to circulate through the room. This was the process - Step one: walk up to former classmate and look at nametag. Step two: look at face and see if that person is still there somewhere. Step three: recognition comes, for some sooner than others. Step four: say "HI!!" and hug your old/new friend.
Our graduating class had a little over 200 people in it and most of us had met in one of three elementary schools and grew up together. Obviously, by the time we got to high school, differences in personalities, extracurricular activities, friend choices, etc. largely determined our circle of friends. It was a bit strange to realize that the room we were in was filled with those who have known us almost our whole lives.
I actually ended up not taking many pictures because one of our classmates was doing a great job with a great camera and he's going to be sending them to me on a CD in a couple of weeks. We'll all have to wait until then to get a photographic record of the evening. I did take a few that I can share with you now.
This is part of the reunion committee that did an incredible job planning everything and finding so many of our classmates. I didn't get to be much of a help because by the time the bulk of the work needed to be done, I was moving to Baltimore and not very available. If anybody needs any sleuthing done, this is the group to call!
What's fun about living basically where you grew up is that former lives intersect present life in ways you don't expect. My friend, Bart, has children who went through Harrison when I was working there so we've had fun seeing each other in the past several years on occasion. His wife and Hamp entertained themselves throughout the evening by watching all of us.
As you can imagine, there was a much greater variety of shapes and sizes present last night than 35 years ago. I was in drill team my junior and senior years and earlier in the day my mom had given me a picture she'd found from a pre-season picture session. On one of the tables that had been set up with memorabilia, there was a drill team uniform and while not the same one I was wearing in the picture, I had proof I am definitely not the same person I was then!
We had some missing classmates because they had passed away, some due to family conflicts, some because they couldn't be located, and some because they just didn't want to come. I understand that feeling because at times in my life I've not wanted to look back and either accept or embrace parts of who I was. As I've said before, I'm realizing more and more that we can't subdivide ourselves into parts and keep only the ones that were good or positive. To quote Steven Curtis Chapman, "We are who and where and what we are for now, and this is the only moment we can do anything about". As I prepare to head back to Baltimore to a still uncertain future with mostly unknowns, I'm taking with me newly accepted parts of myself that were enhanced by many of those I spent this weekend with and for that I am thankful.