I recently attended a high school reunion; pictured is my yearbook photo. It wasn’t the first reunion I’ve attended, and hopefully, not the last. My nature is to observe people and pay close attention to the immediate vibes felt within my gut.
My first observation was about myself. I walked into the reunion alone; yet, I was confident and relaxed. Back in high school, would I walk into dances or events alone? Not typically because my friends and I usually went as a group, or we’d wait for each other in the parking lot and strut in together.
As I entered the reunion, I didn’t notice anyone that hung out or ate lunch with me back in the day. I introduced myself as others came up to me doing the same. My yearbook photo with name included was given to me, which I wore to jog memories while walking around. There were classmates that did not remember me, nor I them. In most cases, after staring at their photo I could recall who they were. Many decades had passed before meeting up with some of my graduating class.
What impressed me most was how friendly everyone was. Although, it’s human nature to feel more excited when old friends walk in, I found it extremely interesting and enjoyable talking with classmates I didn’t remember so well. Why didn’t we ever have a conversation back in high school? I actually asked that of someone at my last reunion and he replied, “We must have.” I responded with, “I don’t think so because we didn’t hang in the same cliques.” He didn’t recall being limited to a clique, so I clarified my statement by explaining we hung with different friends.
Another classmate stood shoulder to shoulder with me in 9th grade as we rushed to our neighboring lockers, but we never spoke a word. Now we are friends on social media and converse at reunions. Others congratulated me on my book, and expressed how they enjoyed reading my blogs. I was overwhelmed by the support from my fellow classmates.
After speaking with two other classmates I had little or no interaction with back in high school, I learned they are neighbors; one lives down the street and the other around the corner. About a week after the reunion, I went for a walk and heard someone call out to me. It was the classmate living around the corner; we had a very friendly, lengthy conversation. Now, when I pass her house I look to see if she’s sitting on the porch.
I had a wonderful time getting to know some classmates for the first time, and catching up with old friends. Hugging everyone and saying goodbye had me realize how little we know about others when we remain within our individual group of friends. I’ve connected with several “new” classmates on social media; from their posts and our shared comments realize we have much in common. Perhaps the eyes of a high school teenager view others as one-dimensional. Reunions help us experience the growth, complexity and similarities between others and ourselves.