I’ve decided to attend my 30th high school reunion coming up the second weekend of August, but not because I’m dying to be there. There are things in my life that I don’t want to do but that I also don’t want to not do. High school reunions are a perfect example.
Mind you, I’m sure I will enjoy it – I mostly enjoyed my 20th, and maybe the memory of that experience settled it for me. But it wasn’t a fast decision. A number of factors including the price, $150 for a couple (mostly for the open bar, I’m betting) made me pause. But I’m going.
That is, we’re going: Diane will accompany me – I wouldn’t have it any other way. You always want to look good and successful at high school reunions and she is plan A for that. Of course, it’s tough to be the plus one at a reunion, but she dutifully accompanies me, and I return the favor when her reunions come up the following year.
I remember her 25th. The local Fox sportscaster Tim Van Vooren who was in her class attended. Always nice to have a celebrity of sorts, but even more memorable – the gal in her class who became a doctor had to attend a woman who was throwing up/passed out drunk. Kind of embarrassing, huh? But, then again, I suppose it happens all the time. Reunions are scary business, and alcohol is liquid courage. While paying for other classmates to get inebriated makes some folks pause, I suppose others wouldn’t attend without the offer of unlimited intoxicants.
Of course I won’t be getting drunk, but I can appreciate the insecurities of going back to “glory days”. I’ll never forget walking the gauntlet of the hallway next to the commons my freshman year. A jock senior kicked the books out of my hands and laughed at me while I picked them up. Now, things got better, and I enjoyed a very positive high school life all in all, but there was always that feeling in the pit in my stomach on the first day of class each fall. That feeling in the pit comes back at a reunion, so you might say that attending is a mild form of torture.
The source of our insecurities? Easy. Walking in to a reunion and seeing all those old faces for the first time in years brings up the same old questions we asked a thousand times back then: “Will I be accepted?”, “Will I measure up?” and “Will I be loved?” Junior year, my girlfriend Lisa Starr and I went to see Queen in concert, where sad Freddie Mercury asked this question:
I get down on my knees
And I start to pray
Till the tears run down from my eyes
Lord – somebody – somebody
Can anybody find me – somebody to love?
I don’t know if I “prayed” with Freddie back then, but I do know that in the years since high school, Love found me, and told me that because of Another, I am accepted, I do measure up, and I am deeply loved. I’ll be thinking about that at 6 p.m. on August 11th, when the Antioch Community High School class of 1982 comes together to celebrate 30 years.