Thursday, January 20, 2011

Class Reunion

My 20 year high school reunion is coming up in April.  I'm very nervous about going, though excited to see old friends.  I moved away shortly after high school and rarely went back.  I missed our 10 year reunion since it took place right after 9.11 and I was scared to fly out of NY at the time.  Back when I graduated, I was given Jim Metcalf's Journal, a collection of poems by a local New Orleans writer.  This one piece he wrote, Class Reunion, struck a chord in me all the way back then and I had to dig this book out of a box to re-read it.  While I am attending my reunion, it pretty much sums up how I feel.

CLASS REUNION

The last paragraph of the letter read:

   "And so Jim, we of the High School Homecoming Celebration Committee sincerely hope you can be with us and all your old classmates next month.  As you know, this will be the first time we have ever attempted to get our graduating class together.  It has been a long time since those wonderful pre-war years and we will, I am sure, have much to talk about." 

Regards,
Dick Martin,
Chairman

**

Dear Dick,

  I regret that I will not be able to be with you for the homecoming celebration.  I must be frank and tell you that it is neither press of business nor the lack of time that precludes my being there.  Rather it is fear.  Fear that something very precious to me might be destroyed...the memories of those days, filled with the magnificent bewilderment of youth, when we were lean and eager, absurdly naive, summertime free and hopelessly in love with living.
  I like to pretend that the people and the places are still there, just as they were when last I saw them.  And sometimes, when it's important that I remember what being young was like, I go back in memory to those days. 
  If I were to see them now, the people and the places and the changes time has brought, my little game of make-believe would be over.  It would fade into the world of reality that is, I believe, too much with us.  There would be middle-aged people where children were supposed to be, fat where once there was muscle, and wrinkles would replace the dimples I recall on certain freckled faces. 
  And the places...the vacant lots...the gridirons of chilly Saturday afternoons in autumn, baseball diamonds under July's burning sun; they would not be vacant now, for progress would have grown in places that had felt the footsteps of our youth.  And there would be plastic booths where tables with wrought iron legs and marble tops once held the sweet and wondrous delicacies from the soda fountain at Old Man Peter's drug store...and it would be air-conditioned.  Gone would be the drone of wooden overhead fans that mingled with the talk of English Four, and who was going steady.
  So if you will, Dick, give my regrets and tell all I'll be thinking of them.  And when you hear them tell each other how they've changed, tell them that to me...they haven't...

Sincerely,
Jim

In remembering high school, I think of how my friends and I loved the movie, St Elmo's Fire, and watched it at slumber parties.  I need to sign off now before I get all nostalgic and start prank calling old boyfriends and hanging up.  But before I do, I want to know...have you attended any of your reunions?  I'd love to hear how it went!    

12 comments:

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

You'll have so much fun! That letter was awesome. My 10 year reunion is coming up next year. Crazy.

Farmchick said...

That letter really is awesome.

designchic said...

What a poignant letter...but you will have such a great time - always fun to go back and share memories of old times!!

Roxy Te said...

Tiffany! This letter gave me goose bumps! I know what that feeling is like. Going to school in NYC, I truly felt I became the me I am now. Many milestones and discoveries that year. I've been back to visit countless times and can often feel tugs at my heart strings when being in certain neighborhoods or passing by certain parks. I always keep in my heart a special place for that time I know I can never re-create. Good luck and congrats on being brave enough to go! :)

Cindy said...

Loved St. Elmos's Fire!! We watched it all the time too. And that theme song is the best (ever heard the actual lyrics?) My reunion is this summer too... Haven't decided if I am gonna go or not.

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

My 20 year reunion is in a couple of years and I'll likely go now that it isn't too far away (Houston). They always have them around the holidays and I've never been able to make it back when I lived in DC. But, the odd thing is with facebook it is almost like we all have at least an inkling of what is going on....who looks like what, etc. It is sortof odd....I know more about some people now than I did in HS! I almost wonder if it will make it more strange?!? Have a great weekend.

Holli said...

2012 will be my 20 year reunion and I don't know if I'll go or not. I kinda feel like Jim in the letter where I just want all the memories I have to stay the same... but I am curious to see how everyone is now. I never went to my 10 year reunion...

Have fun at yours!

Aspiring Kennedy said...

i love this post. great job putting it all together!

JMW said...

Great letter - very touching. My
20th reunion is this June (Class of '91 - woo hoo!). I went to my
10th and it was fine, not sure if I'm going to the 20th. It's interesting how Facebook has changed my outlook on reunions. I feel like I've caught up with so many people, seen photos of their kids, their homes, heard about what they're doing with their lives. While it would be great to see these women (yes, I went to an all-girls school) in person, at the same time, I feel like I'm well caught up!

Mrs. Kindergarten said...

I have never had not one bit of interest going "back" to a HS reunion. I live in the present not the past. Anyone I wanted to keep up with from childhood or college, I DID. No, I didn't need facebook to do so. Technology has not made me one bit closer to people I wanted to stay close to, I did that myself. Something to think about...

Tessa said...

Oh I loved that!! So true. I went to my 10 yr, and I think it was about 4 weeks after I had my first child. I was feeling especially pretty. (note sarcasm). It was so strange to see everyone fall back into their old cliques. A bit like time hadn't moved forward. My 20th is next year, it will be strange to see if things are different now, with FB and all like Jen mentioned above. Have a good time at yours and you'll have to post pictures & stories!!

Katie said...

Hey Tiff! I am feeling the same way but cannot wait to see you there! I've given up the dream of losing about a million pounds in the 90 or less days we have until the big weekend. I didn't go to the 10th one either b/c we didn't want to fly out of DC then. Wasn't it literally like the next weekend or something? Anyway... see you there! Will your husband and Stella be going, too?