The 40th High School Reunion: Turning Lemons into Lemonade…

I couldn’t make it this time. That was a disappointing outcome, as a close friend was sick and we had to cancel the room and arrangements when it was down to the last few days before the event. But, the good news is that in the wide world of Social Media, you can almost virtually attend. As they say, Social Media brings good things to life…Which means anyone can find out who’s going & who’s not, who’s living & who has died, and who is “living large” for the world to see with a veritable avalanche of photos and messages on Facebook.
The whole ambience of the event comes across with pictures and images that takes us back to the fun of “Beach Week” or the excitement we felt before graduation. We were comrades in arms and buddies. So the close ties and unbreakable bonds are still felt after all these years.
What time do we check out?” comes from a 58-year old teen at heart writing on Facebook. Other messages followed like, “I’d like to start working out now!” or “Sorry I can’t make it-take plenty of pictures!” And boy, do they have pictures, at times it looks like an onslaught of Hallmark photo spreads.

These are mixed with more hilarious messages, and then some poignant ones, “My doctor didn’t ok meto travel so I can’t be there”. And then there’s always the over-eager beavers in the crowd, “We arrived yesterday. I went 5.5 miles on the treadmill, and then had a quick dip in the Ocean before getting ready for the party tonight!”
All of these things bring back memories of high school. Has it been 40 years…really? It seems like only 40 days have passed. A friend & I used to have dreams where we were back in high school. We were racing to finish an exam or we were late to class invariably. Even after College, I had these dreams. What could they possibly mean? Anxiety dreams perhaps, or maybe just a longing for a simpler place and time…
The 10 year Reunion was a high/low point on the Spectrometer Scale of Reunions. It’s an anti-climactic let-down combined with an eye-opening jolt of adrenaline for most of us. One of my close friends was subjected to the “mean girls” syndrome at this event and has never quite recovered. Another close friend has never bothered to go at all. Still others plan for weeks in advance and decide just what they are going to wear because they wouldn’t miss it for the world.
High School Reunions in general remain a big business in this country, and they often live up to the spectacles they create and the drama that ensues. And beneath it all, burned somewhere deep, remains the psyches and sentimentality of a group of homogenous Western teens who were raised in another era- a time of blue jeans & bell-bottoms, of Watergate & pot-smoking hippies, of protestors & the looming shadow of the Vietnam War.

That era is bygone, a remnant of the time machine found buried deep inside each of our heads. But it pops out every now and then when we greet each other at the ritualized American Ceremonial Event known as the High School Reunion. 
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