The passing of 25 years…

Yesterday was my 25th high school reunion. I haven't been to a single reunion since leaving for college, but, for the 25th, I thought, This is a big one. I should go. It all started about 6 or 7 months ago, when we all started chatting on Facebook that we were out of school 25 years. This subsequently brought up the reunion, which we were sure was bound to be planned by the alumnae association. The "missing person's list" went out. Girls (now women) who I have befriended on the book were randomly chatting about who would go, when it would be, etc. And then, just under two months ago, the invitations went out. They were beautiful. Inviting us to a Mass and a tour of our beloved Sacred Heart Academy, followed by dinner at Novita Wine Bar in Garden City. On the reverse side of the invitation, was a list of "missing persons." As my invitation is currently at home, and I am sitting cozily in my best-friend-from-kindergarten's house, I can't say how many of the missing persons showed up. But there, plain as day on the list was Katie McGarry. I quickly emailed the alumnae address to let them know she was not missing. And anyone who is in our class knows where she is. But, not to put a damper on the celebration, I suspect that many of these missing people were found. I made arrangements to stay at my best-friend-from-kindergarten's house. She and her family were so gracious to let me into their home for the weekend. But that's another lovely story. No really, it is a lovely story. Anyway, on Friday, I chose to take the day off from work, and headed down to Long Island excited to see my friends. I ended up on the ferry in Bridgeport. The voyage was pretty quick. It's only an hour and fifteen minutes, dock to dock. The short part of this narrative is that I did a little shopping, got to know my best-friend-from-kindergarten's daughter better, and took off for the reunion. The long of it is that in so many ways, some things never change. My own thought process immediately brought me back 25 years, and I thought of all the attendees as girls not women. The same girls who would go out of their way to try to make others feel uncomfortable, were still trying to do so, and still failing miserably. The same girls who would go out of their way to make other feel comfortable, were still doing that, and as always, succeeding. We, myself included, fell back into the same social classes that seemed to exist before. Clusters of women, catching up with each other, hugs all around. And then, there were moments where I felt everything had changed; that there were those of us who were able to transcend the lines. (I like to think that I have always done that. I like to think that I was never one of those people who was looked down on for decisions I made in school. I like to think I was never a target for being made fun of. Realistically, I don't know what was ever said when I wasn't around, or whispered as I moved from class to class. And I never really cared. And that, I think, is what has made me feel I could transcend the lines. I was the math tutor, the musician, the ear-to-listen. I was the cheerleader and the geek, all rolled into one.) As I looked around the room, I was able to note how as much as we'd all grown a little older and a little wiser, we'd all stayed the same as well. For every reminder of high school I found, I was able to identify a marked change in that same classmate. For every change I was able to pinpoint, I was able to see what I loved or hated about someone as well. The short of it:
  • Everyone, no matter how much she protests, enjoys coming home
  • People who are self-centered in high school, and I mean, genuinely self-centered, really don't change much
  • Most people have, at some point in their life, been a target. They don't like it. It's how they deal with it that makes them strong or weak
  • True friends, really are true friends for life
  • We may be 25 years older, but we are also 25 years wiser, 25 years sexier, and 25 years happier
In true geek fashion, I challenged myself to remember people. I said hello to girls, by name, and only had to look at a name tag once or twice. Every other time, I recognized the woman for the girl she once was. I can't tell you how many times I was able to note that others had to read my name tag before being comfortable saying hello. It was more times than I could count on two hands. In many ways, I felt really good about that. My memory has not failed me yet. In other ways, it made me feel a little sad. I hadn't made that much of an impression. Or. Something occurred along the way to cause these women not to care about their memories, good or bad. 25 years ago, this would have bothered me. 25 years ago, I might have tried to analyze why I wasn't remembered, or why I needed a name tag to remind people who I was. I was ME, dammit! This weekend, I was able to smile, greet, and hug with the best of them. I was able to let the glance to my name tag roll off my back, and rejoice in the realization that my memory was pretty kick ass.

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