Monday, September 20, 2010

My High School Reunion

This is lifted from my journal from September 12, meaning that my reunion was, yes, on September 11. It was held at the Old '76 House, in Tappan, N.Y., which is fairly close to where I grew up in Bergen County, N.J. In fact we went to the '76 House a few times when I was a child. It dates back to the Colonial Era, and once was used as a jail to hold a co-conspirator of Benedict Arnold's!


I had an absolutely awesome time as my 20th High School Reunion. Everyone was friendly, there were good vibes all around, all day.

When I first came into the parking lot of the '76 House I saw my old friends and colleagues from the student newspaper in school, Amie Ravitz and Elana Haviv, who were parking. I wasn't sure whether I should go up to Amie, as we hadn't spoken in more than a little while. (Elana and I had kept touch over the ensuing years.) But Amie was thoroughly warm and welcoming. It felt good to have people who were happy to see me.

That was the pattern. Everyone was open, surprisingly happy to see one another. I think even we were surprised by how nice it was to simply be in one another's presence once more. I was in high spirits all night. I had been worried that people would look down on me because I am still unemployed and not all the way there yet, but no one cared. Nor did I look down on them if they were not where they thought they wanted to be.

I was happy to see old, old friends, who were almost uniformly sweet and easy to speak to. We laughed at each others jokes, reminisced about things long forgotten or suppressed in some cases. There were people there who were thriving that I had been quite worried about twenty years ago. There were people who had turned their lives and attitudes around. There were people there I had long conversations with that I had almost never actually spoken to at school. There were no cliques, there was no posturing, none of that stuff. It was like the open, happy, carefree party that we rarely actually had at my school.

(What can I say, the 1990 class at Northern Valley Regional High Demarest lacked a certain school spirit. I mentioned this to Jessica Patton, who organized the entire reunion. She said, something back that I loved: "I was a cheerleader and I didn't have any school spirit.")

I spoke with almost everyone, laughed a lot, make people laugh, enjoyed everyone's company. High school is so strange. You have nothing in common, on the face of it, with many of these folks, and yet you DO have something in common. Something very key, four of the most crucial years of your life.

Everyone should go to their high school reunion if they can. It makes you realize that people love you and miss you, even if they didn't know it. Even if you didn't know it. Milestones are real and important. As are roots. We should honor them and use them to stay both grounded and reminded of the good people we were and the good people we may yet want to become. And even if we don't, people will still like us and be happy to see us for who we are today.

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