Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To Reunion (Yes, I made that into a verb)

Tonight is my 25th high school reunion.

I can hear you doing the math.  I'm 43.

I'm not usually one who gets too hung up on age, but there is something about being 25 years out of high school that is getting under my skin.

Maybe it's because I feel, emotionally, about 25?

Physically maybe closer to 30, but nowhere near 43. Not even in the ball park.

I was one of those kids in high school who knew a whole bunch of people, but who didn't really have a clique.  I was a jock who was also in the marching band.  I could hang out in the smoking area (not smoking, don't worry Mom) and not get beat up and held my own with the brains in every topic but math.

So I kind of pinged around, never really finding one place I truly fit in.

Of course, back then, it made me feel wildly unpopular, not having a clique. Looking back, though, I realize not having a clique is actually a blessing.  But try telling that to the girl who thought the bigger her hair was, the more friends she'd have (remember, folks, this is 1987) :


It took me HOURS to make my hair do that. And I think I'm personally responsible for the hole in the ozone due to the amount of hairspray needed.  Okay, maybe my best friend Amanda (in the blue) is also partially responsible (you're welcome, Manda, for sharing this photo with the world. Again.) :


That guy to my right (white suite a la Miami Vice) is Kevin.  We were voted class couple. The guy on the far left is John, Kevin's best friend.  I know Kevin won't be there tonight, which is too bad, but I'm hoping to see John, first to explain that I put a picture of him on the internet,and then to give him a hug.  I think in this picture we were on our way to Senior Class Night. But I digress. I was simply trying to make a point about hairspray, I think.

So I'm a little wistful about my 25th.  Maybe it's because I'm remembering my 5th reunion (or parts of it, anyway, like leaving with only one shoe on) back when I was still drinking.  Or my 20th when I was 90 days sober (not the best idea I ever had) and having someone say to me - bug eyed - "you don't DRINK?! At ALL?!  Man, that must SUCK!".  (And for the record?  That night?  Yes. Yes, it did suck).

Since my 20th reunion I have gotten sober, Amanda has gotten sober, and my life has taken twists and turns I couldn't have imagined (one of them being the blessing of going to my 25th reunion together with my best friend and sober sister).  

It doesn't suck to be sober anymore.  I lost my Dad. I survived cancer.  I built a jewelry business. My kids are both in school full time.  I lost 100 lbs.  I went on Oprah (albeit not because I'm famous, more like infamous).  I lost most of my hair because of radiation, and grew most of it back again.  I'm still vain about my hair, but no longer wrap my self-worth around its poofiness.  

But I don't know that there is anyone who doesn't feel an inkling of insecurity about reunions. I mean, those of us who have stood with our school cafeteria trays looking for a place to sit without looking like we're looking for a place to sit. Or who have waved enthusiastically at a Senior who waved to them when they were only a sophomore only to find him waving to his entire football team, who are all sitting behind you and laughing at you.  Not that that happened to me.  *cough*

Don't we all have that little fantasy of kicking in the door, looking decades younger than our peers, and having everyone gape at us in amazement at how fabulously our life turned out?  

Or is that just me?

Maybe I need a little more work on humility.

Or maybe I'll just crack out the curling iron and hair spray.


10 comments:

  1. I think you're prettier now than you were back in 1987! Many of us dread class reunion's, especially after a rough time in your personal life. In the past year I've lost my job of 36 years, my husband left me for another woman after 23 years, and it's become public knowledge that I'm an alcoholic. I think these class reunions should have a "survivor" award!
    LuAnn in MN

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    1. Thanks LuAnn. I don't think the pancake makeup was doing me any favors (let alone the hair).

      And I love the idea of a Survivor Award, which you have certainly earned.

      -xo

      -Ellie

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  2. Survivor Award--Perfect. Several of the women and men with whom I went to school have survived bad marriages, dead kids, foreclosures, bankruptcies, illness, all that jazz and so many of us have come thru it and Should Be Very Proud of Ourselves, yourself included Miss Ellie.

    Besides you never know who may have died by your next reunion. If I had known I would Never see my sister again...

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    1. Thanks, Lynda. And you bring up a good point, too. Reunions mark losses, too, in ways that I never had to feel before.

      I'm honored to be in the Should Be Very Proud Of Ourselves club with you. We can be Co-Presidents. :)

      -xo

      -Ellie

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  3. You are one of the few that have the courage and strength to not only admit this but share it with others. For that I thank and admire you.

    Picture going to your 25th reunion with all the kids you grew up with, only due to circustances in your own life at the time you ended up not graduating with them but two years later. Want to talk about feeling insecure.

    Even though I had bought my ticket it was not until today that I made up my mind to go. And in part due to what you shared. I think many of have these fears, doubts and insecurities but either stuff them down or just ignore them and hope they go away. I have spent many social gatherings stuck in my own head and not having a good time because I could not deal with the feelings.

    Once again Ellie much thanks for sharing this with us and being a power of example for me. Good to know I am will not be the only friend of Bill W there tonight.

    Matthew Alford

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    1. I'm so happy you're going tonight, Matthew! (are you Matthew now?)

      You are a power of example, too. I always thought of you as a member of our class, and I know everyone else does, too. Going tonight will hopefully show you that, so maybe you can leave that part of how you remember your history behind? Or at least mostly?

      Looking forward to seeing you!

      -xo

      -Ellie

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  4. Ellie, your hair totally rocks the 1987 style! Gorgeous!! now- go rock that reunion and enjoy... and hopefully they won't give you a tray at the door, and tell you to go find a seat when you walk in :) LOL!! Happy 25th!

    btw- I went to my 15th reunion married & pregnant with my 2nd child, and at my 20th I was divorced... well, better that way than divorced and then pregnant- whoops!
    Dawn

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    1. Thanks, Dawn. My 80s hair and I both thank you.

      Maybe that's the thing about reunions. They make you think about where you've been in your life for each one. More than birthdays, or even anniversaries, because these people who have known you (or at least known OF you) your whole life are involved...

      -xo

      -Ellie

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  5. My 25th reunion is tonight too! Only I'm not going. Of the small class I graduated with, I'm one of the very few who didn't end up married to the person I dated in hs. The cliques from our high school are still alive and well, as I learned at my 20th reunion. Considering most of them married the person they dated and stayed in the town we grew up in, it makes sense.

    I did go to a reunion of the dance club I hung out at in high school a few weeks ago with my best friend from 3rd grade and I realized those were the people that meant far more to me and had a much longer lasting influence on who I am now. It was great and I am so glad I went.

    At my 20th, I did have the total satisfaction of knowing that I look years younger than everyone else in the room - my husband still jokes that I'm actually 10 years younger than anyone else I graduated with. After being made fun of all through school by most of those people, it felt amazing to be able to stand there and just look good. I am that vain and shallow.

    Enjoy yourself!

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    1. Oh how I love this comment, Becky. Full of well deserved confidence and knowing who your true peeps are..

      -xo

      -Ellie

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