The things we don't know about each other could fill the Atlantic. But there's no-one else with whom I would have preferred spending this past weekend. Since the 10 year reunion memories - especially the reconnecting our small group did beforehand - trigger such nostalgia, it was a no-brainer that I would attend. I have friends who would rather have outpatient surgery than attend such a function. To me, though, it's not about rekindling every friendship and friendly acquaintance I had those years ago. I guess it was a blend of curiosity, nostalgia... an excuse to dress up and go dancing and laugh a lot. Plus a chance to see a handful of people I don't see nearly often enough. Especially that.
It was over way too quickly. There's no way to capture the entire weekend for you in a manner effective enough to convey the tone, but I'll share some tidbits of what made it so unique. Of what made it memorable enough that I'm keen to have another one whenever somebody official says the word. They're talking about a 25th.
Like last time, friend's parents hosted a reconnection party (although this time in absentia, as they were out of town,) so a group of us could gather in advance to get reacquainted before heading on over to the big honkin' party. I think the count was around 18. That's how many people clustered in that kitchen, (it's a roomy house - didn't matter; hardly anyone left that kitchen for more than a few minutes,) for a couple of hours in advance. Standing in the doorway once, surveying the room, I felt something best described as "unabashed sentimentalism." There's something about people you knew that long ago. Even though you've moved along your separate paths, rarely intersecting since that parting, it's an old, familiar love that's simple and good. I wish we'd had more time there that night.
Later, at the reunion itself, I enjoyed the true extrovert's drug of choice: person after person to greet with moments of surprise and giddy exclamations of "Oh Look! At! You!, You're! Here!, How! Are! You?, It's! So! Good! To! See! You!!!!" And in those moments, it didn't matter how long it had been since I last even thought of the person I was hugging, they were the perfect person to be hugging at the moment.
And as at many of the best parties, there was a dance floor. How better to reacquaint yourself with people you may or may not ever see again, but with whom you share a host of sometimes-best-left-behind memories? You dance! Enthusiastically we danced to tunes that were each suddenly among our favorite pieces of music ever written.
Events like this are sure to bring you in contact with those you never knew that well, too. Sure enough, I had actual conversations with more than one person I never truly talked to in high school. In fact, I have a suspicion that a couple of those talks lasted longer than the sum total of words I exchanged with those individuals, 20 years ago. Funny, that. And how the years remove much of the awkwardness and angst that make certain individuals so separate and seemingly-unapproachable.
In the ladies room, I heard honest voices. Among them, a friend was reconnecting with a lovely woman who was in my home room all through high school. Friend said, "You know, I love my girls, but do you know what I mean when I tell you...sometimes, I'm just soooo tired." The weariness in her voice convinced us all and I later thought about how that's one more thing reunions can do that very little has the power to accomplish. Break down the barriers of all those years. Suddenly you're confiding things to people as if you've picked up from last weekend's gab session. It's another reason I love these things. (Also another reason I hope my friend finds a good spa and gifts herself with a much-needed getaway.)
Eleanor's boots kicked butt. I'm gonna' try to find a photo and post it here. Ohhhhh how I want those boots...
If you get a chance to go to a high school reunion, find yourself a handful of people you once cared about deeply, catch up with them a little in advance, and go together to the big party. I've been to two of these things now and I don't regret either one. Might regret a few of those pictures people are sending around, but overall, the memories more than make up for any embarrassing unphotogenic tendencies. (Plus, any shots taken now are sure to beat the ones they'll bring out from "back in the day.") Besides, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised that you will want to stay in touch with one or two of your old pals...