Friday, August 18, 2006

CHS Class of 1996 Reunion

Ah, so. The reunion.

I think that most of you know, but maybe some do not, that I went to a tiny high school. My graduating class had approximately 70 people, many of whom had been together not only since high school or even since middle school but since kindergarten or maybe even earlier. I've always thought it interesting observing the relationships of many of my classmates with one another, because so many people were neighbors and friends for most of their early lives. Many of my classmates are almost more like siblings than like people who happened to go to school together - when you're in a community that small, it's difficult to avoid closeness. So. Background concluded.

Going in to the reunion, I had no idea what to expect. I'd read horrible accounts of people's 10-year reunions and how much they hated the experiences. I'd also read indifferent ones (people always say the 10 year sucks and the 20 year is fun). But I'd never read anything by anyone that said how great a time they'd had at their 10 year, so I was a little trepidatious. I shouldn't have been - it was planned by two of my friends who are probably the most fun people from my class, so I should have trusted that they'd plan something that was at least bearable.

Despite my teenaged high school angst, my classmates were actually pretty cool, now that I look back on it. Or at least, they've become cool since. Most of the people from high school that I'm friends with became my friends after high school and in college and even beyond. The person with whom I am in closest contact totally stole my (wannabe) boyfriend in 7th grade, so, you know. And now she's living in Queens. And said wannabe boyfriend was at the reunion, in a pink shirt, and seemed to be a little less full of himself than when I saw him at the unofficial 5 year in 2001.

After high school, many of us would get together at someone's parents' house during the Christmas holiday season - I'd say for at least the first five years. So I got to see people grow up past their acne and awkwardness and into their experiments into adult personality and adult activities. I saw a few people enter longterm relationships and marriages and even one friend's first baby (unplanned, now she has two but is divorced from their dad). It was nice, to see so many people that I'd known for so well for so long mature into real people and not their zitty angst-ridden teenage doppelgangers.

That stopped right around the time people really got involved in their own lives, being out of college and into the real world. People's parents moved away and they didn't have reason to come back to Cloverdale. I think the last time I saw many of my classmates in one place was Christmas of 2001 - because December 2002 my parents were beginning their very messy split, so if there were any parties I didn't pay attention. I heard through the grapevine (that boyfriend stealer is a fabulous gossip) about people once in a while, who had married whom, who was dating whom, who had babies and who moved where and was doing what. I saw a few classmates at a wedding in early 2003, but since then, only one or two here or there.

And so, to the reunion itself.

First of all, it was all outside. I was glad I had both my little shrug thingy and the sweater that QIR borrowed me, because after the sun went down it got hella cold. (My friend Heather was sleeveless and sweaterless! Poor girl!) But it was in a beautiful location, the setup was good, and we got 2 (two) drink tickets to share. I told myself I wouldn't drink much and only bought one other drink - my world was kind of altered enough as it was, just being around people who were the same and different all in one package.

I think about 40 people from my class showed up (plus guests of course). My college boyfriend did not, though he was supposed to come (Organizer 1 thinks he just forgot; this would not surprise me in the least. He's kind of a flake.)

Mostly, it was a lot of talking, hugging, eating, drinking. There was supposed to be dancing but someone had screwed with the ipod and was playing 70s stuff instead of the agreed-upon playlist of stuff from '92-96. (We did get a CD full of probably the most iconic songs from high school and once I find it in our luggage I'll post a song list). Many people from my class seem to still live in the area, either the Bay Area or Sonoma County proper (though few still live in my hometown. Can you blame them?). Someone came from Atlanta, someone from Portland, several from Southern CA. I think many of the ones who live in the area are still friends with their old friends.

I made a point of saying hi to and giving hugs to everyone I could (and I tried to introduce Hulk to as many people as I could. Luckily, he's met a few people before and had spent some time with the boyfriend of Boyfriend Stealer so he at least could talk to a few people). I think I missed 2 people that I'd never really talked to at all in high school, but out of everyone who was there I think I did pretty well. Oh, and I did miss one person I'd wanted to talk to, but he and his boyfriend?friend?something left right after dinner so I didn't get a chance. Some people did choose to drink a lot; one person is 9 months out of rehab and almost didn't come because she was afraid she would drink (As far as I know, she resisted). I saw pictures of people's babies and children; everyone got reacquainted with one classmate's boobs (they were very much on display). Mostly I talked to people I was friends or at least friendly with. I caught up a bit with some of my old teachers - four were there, though I really only liked two of them. I talked to people's dates (husbands, wives, significant others) and wondered secretly how many of them would still be around for the 20 year reunion. It was at the same time surreal and totally normal to be talking to these people that I'd known so well 10 years ago.

The four of us who had been in ballet together for years took a few pictures together. I have some on my camera that I'll upload soon if I can. Unfortunately, the "official" reunion photographer didn't get that shot so I can't post it here yet.

The one couple who got together sophomore year and went to college together and went to grad school together and got married are still together. That was nice to see, some continuity.

For the most part, people seemed happy and healthy. They are living their lives, getting married, having kids, starting wineries, passing the bar. Only a few people looked much different - some of them had gained a little weight, and one classmate looked completely different (she made a comment to me about "making investments after high school" when I told her I liked her dress (strapless) and commented that I couldn't wear a strapless dress because I didn't have enough to hold one up. I'm assuming that meant a boob job, though I am thinking maybe she got at least a nose job too). There were a few awards given out (prizes were wine and video games) for who had come the farthest, who had bought their ticket first, etc. Two awards were voted on (who has changed the least, male/female). The winners were, oddly enough, those who won prom king and queen ten years ago (neither was in the "popular" crowd, just both really nice people that were well-liked by everyone - even the freaks like me). The one who won for "least changed female" seemed pretty changed to me - physically, she might look the same, but her confidence is higher, she's grown into herself, and her beautiful personality just shines through even more.

Man, it's hard to write this. I was glad I went; I was glad Hulk was there to support me. I was glad of those who came and wished a few more had been there. I was glad to see everyone and it made me wish a little bit that I still lived in CA because it would be easier to see people's lives continue to change and to see people continue to become who they are.

My dress was a hit, by the way. I got several compliments. And there were at least 5 other guys there dressed like Hulk - one was even wearing the same black with white stripes adidas soccer shoes. Heh.

1 comment:

Yank In Texas said...

your dress looks so cute! love the necklace!
i'm sad i'm going to miss my 10 year. i was planning on going but then we decided to buy a house. and since it's at thanksgiving- not going to happen. i've been in contact with lots of my classmates though, so i know i can reunite through them.
glad you had a good time though. that's the important part.