Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tinora High School Reunion: 10 Years Later
I was afraid my 10-year high school reunion would resemble a recent episode of "30 Rock." Liz Lemon remembers being the social outcast everyone picked on. But her classmates recall how she made their lives a living hell.
While I'm pretty sure I was neither outcast nor bully, I was extremely nervous about attending the reunion and had gone back and forth about whether or not to attend.
A few years back I put together a mini-reunion in Columbus since that's where several of my classmates and I were living. I also sent an email to those living outside of Columbus whose email addresses I had, inviting them as well. Long story short, I got an irate email from a classmate who didn't live in Columbus that said she and/or other people thought we were having a "secret reunion." FYI: I don't think secret reunions are allowed at the Blue Danube.
I was pretty bitter about it at the time, but in any case all but 2 or 3 C-busers showed up at the Dube, and I ended up having a great night. The experience, however, put me off getting involved in any other sort of reunion -- mini or otherwise -- but I was curious about seeing classmates I had rarely or never spoken to since graduation day.
So I booked the plane tickets.
The reunion was on the outdoor patio of BW3's, a bar that didn't even exist in Defiance in 1999. It started at 6 p.m., I got there at 7, and I stayed until the lights flickered out 7 hours later.
My classmates -- even and especially the ones I knew well back then -- were now even funnier and more interesting than I remembered. Before the reunion, I wasn't sure how my memory of myself would mesh with those my classmates held of me. I'm still not sure. (One person did tell me how much he hated me in fifth grade because I was so good in English. I failed to tell him how jealous I was over how well he did in our high school history classes. Secret's out, I guess.)
Several people said they were disappointed at the turnout-- maybe 15 or 20 of our class of 77 showed up. I was hoping to see a few of the no-shows ... even the writer of the "secret reunion" email. But we didn't do too bad. My uncle's 20-year reunion from the same high school was cancelled this year because of a lack of interest.
I had a terrific time, but I left with a feeling of regret. Why haven't I been friends with some of these people for the last 10 years? I lived practically (and at Ohio State, literally) down the street from a handful of them for eight years.
It would be easy to say I wanted to cut all high school ties after graduation, but that isn't true. I was too insecure to make many overtures, and time severs ties. After awhile it seemed too awkward to get back in touch. I made a few attempts (like that mini-reunion) but mostly let things be.
Will the reunion change anything? Who knows? But I do know that the evening ended too soon and that I meant it if I said you should visit and offered up the spare room.
Even after all of these years, I still feel socially awkward and a little behind my classmates. No kids and no plans to have any anytime soon. No idea when, where or if I want to settle. I'm still finding my footing, still trying to find my way in the dark.
At any rate, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who isn't exactly where she thought she'd be 10 years later. After yet another unsuccessful explanation of my job, one classmate replied, "OK, but what do you want to do?" Good question, and one I still can't answer.
So I figuratively lift high my Ram Shot (whatever that is) and toast the Tinora High School class of '99. Here's hoping it won't be another 10 years.