This is going to be a banner year. My husband has a milestone birthday coming up. A couple of our kids are celebrating wedded bliss with anniversaries ending in 5s and 0s. My hubby and I will commemorate three decades together. And this year marks 40 years as an alum of David H. Hickman High School.
And although I have nothing to show for my time in high school, no trophies, no queen-in-waiting, not even a good GPA, I still look forward to our class reunions. I wasn’t part of the “popular” crowd. I doubt many of the teachers would remember me (most have gone on to their rewards anyway). I wasn’t a troublemaker, but I did get suspended twice, once for smoking in the girls’ restroom and once for calling my P.E. teacher a bad name (boy, have times changed; that particular word is used daily on daytime television).
More than half of our 500-plus class attended the 10-year reunion. That year we toured the school (I don’t know why nothing had changed in that decade). And in the evening there was a banquet and dance. None of us had changed much. Some of us were a little pudgier. Most of us looked like grownups even though we didn’t really feel mature. There was one classmate who had been one of the class beauties. I was hoping that in 10 years she might have lost some of her luster. She didn’t; she looked radiant.
Everyone dressed up for the occasion. Some even wore long evening gowns. Most of the attendees were either newly married or in the throws of raising toddlers. There was a lot of boasting about career paths and first homes.
I helped plan the 20th reunion. At that time, a book titled “The Class of ’65” was on the best-seller list, so our class was in the spotlight locally. We toured the high school again, noting nothing had changed, and then we went to a park for the afternoon and had a picnic. Less than half the class was in attendance.
I flitted from group to group, listening to how one classmate had climbed the corporate ladder and was next to the top dog. Another boasted that BOTH of her children were on track to go to Harvard. The Ph.D.s huddled together, spouting six- and seven-syllable words. And the highlight of the evening was when one classmate strutted into the room lathered in oil. Apparently she had just won a bodybuilding title and wanted to show off her stuff. (She just looked greasy to me.) The class beauty was on hand, looking perky and pretty. She was beginning to get on my nerves.
We had a half-hearted attempt at our 25th. It was a quickly thrown together affair. About 50 of us met in the lobby of one of the local hotels and had cocktails, then everyone broke off into little groups to have dinner separately.
The 30th was probably the most fun. It was attended by the largest group yet. Gone was the pretentious air that ruined the 20th. The running theme was, “What you see is what I am.” Some of us were a little pudgier (guess who?). The witch of a beauty queen was there; she must have had plastic surgery. Many in the class had been divorced and a few brought their new young “trophy” wives. More than two dozen had died.
Some of us passed around photos of our grandkids while others showed photos of their kids who were the same age. It seemed that everyone was genuinely happy to be together. We didn’t plan a ton of events, just a tour of the old school (it looked the same as the past two tours) and a casual get-together after dinner. This year is in the planning stage, as in I’m planning to start making calls to see if anyone has started planning. I think this reunion will be the best. Some will show up with balding heads. Some of us will be a little pudgier (SIGH). And there will be a bevy of beer bellies. Some of the lucky ones will be retired or on the short list. Most of us will boast about our grandkids. We’ll lie to one another and say that we don’t look a day older than when we graduated. I don’t know what events will be planned for this reunion. I do know we will tour the high school. This time the building has changed, and I’m just waiting for someone to say they liked it the old way.
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