Thursday, May 26, 2016

You Want Me... For What?

This summer is time for my high school's 50th reunion. I'm already not enthused. Our family had relocated 200 miles just in time for the start of my junior year, a major jolt from small town to big city. The school I transferred into was itself accommodating a major meld when one local school closed down and its students split among two others. I was a newbie in a sea of newbies who already knew at least half the rest of their fellow students. Friendships had been formed, many for years and years.

Fortunately for my social life back then,  I was in the band. Most of my friends and friendly connections came from there. It turned out to be a very short two years. A small handful of friends followed me to my chosen college, and from there we all scattered widely. My best high school girl friend Carol wound up on the deceased list a couple of reunions later, a victim of breast cancer. I hadn't known. The closest tie, if one can call it that, was with the girl who sat behind me in High School Junior English class who wound up marrying the man who, during college years, was engaged to my freshman roommate. Best thing to happen to both of them, and I always enjoy talking to Mary Ann and John at reunions.

Connections had gotten so sparse that reunions were about the only times anybody from high school ever contacted me. In fact, I found out that for a couple of reunions I was myself on the "cannot contact" list despite not having moved or changed my name for well over a decade. I wouldn't even have gone to the last one except for the fact that one long-lost classmate, Randy, called me up to verify I still had the same address from last time, and added his personal request that I attend so we could talk together.

I was amused to find that every time I came within 15 feet of him, he was "holding court", entertaining a whole cluster of people it was impossible to break through for a word, even had I been more inclined to work do so. Ah well.

One of the conversations I did get into was with the classmates charged with organizing the reunions. They were delighted to find out that I was still in the geographic area, suddenly finding me eminently qualified to assist them with their next reunion. This one. I recall smiling politely, saying something noncommittal, and excusing myself.

Frankly, I was astounded that they even claimed to know who I was. (Danged name tags!) In 52 years, high school to the present, they've never bothered to acknowledge that much familiarity, much less act on it, but suddenly somebody from the group is trying to contact me now. Nobody's familiar enough with me to know I retired, that I moved out of state, that I'm even still alive. They couldn't talk to me in high school, but now I'm sought after to help them organize their party of the decade.

The classmate who convinced me to attend the last reunion because he'd love to chat with me found a way to get in touch with my daughter to send along the message. He passed along that he'd love to chat with me there this time too.

Uh huh. I wonder if he even remembers he didn't even try to last time. Sure, Randy, I'd love to come. Maybe in another twenty years or so. Maybe, that is, if anybody there even cares. I'm totally not sure that I do. Well, that's kind of a lie. I'm pretty sure I have a strong opinion on the matter.

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