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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reunion

Last January, I turned 38 years old. I graduated from high school when I was 18. That means that the ubiquitous 20 year reunion year is here. I'd been kind of watching, keeping an ear out to find out if anyone was planning anything.

I just got word that yes, there is something planned, kind of last minute. It's in a month. Down where I grew up, in Reedley, California. And suddenly I'm not so sure I'm interested in going. Kind of going back and forth. Really want to go. Really don't want to go.

I never really felt that I fit in in high school. My first several weeks of high school, as I remember it, were spent walking around and around during lunch and breaks. Because I had no friends and didn't want anyone to guess that I had no friends. If I were still, people would see that I was alone. If I kept moving, I had an air of purpose, or so I thought.

I did find friends eventually, and we became quite tight. We were the nerds of our school, the ones who didn't care about fashion and who studied for class. But not the super-intelligent ones, except for one of us. Maybe two. We attended banquets (Mennonite version of a dance, with no dancing) together instead of with dates, we had slumber parties, we had burping contests (I always won), and a couple of times we dressed up really super dorky and smeared makeup all over our faces and went to McDonalds, acting like total goofs. That was fun!

But we weren't athletic. And, as in most high schools, athletic was it. Was what was celebrated. Huge crowds came for the football games. Where were those huge crowds when my friends and I were giving a choir performance? Oh, there's a choir performance? Who cares?

Mostly I felt ignored in high school. Even though I had my antics. Golly, I was thinking about my fanaticism recently. High school is when I had a spiritual awaking, of sorts. And I got dogmatic. I remember going around trying to convince everyone, for a short period of time, that Christians should not go to movies. One, they were a waste of time when we could be reading the Bible and witnessing to people, and two, they contained all kinds of faith-corrupting messages. Yeah. That phase was over pretty quick and I was back to watching movies. Because one of the very few things to do in our town, if we could get our parents to drive us or after we turned 16, was to drive into Fresno or Visalia and watch a movie. That and mall shopping. (I'm so glad my kids have much more creative things to do with their time!)

And here I am, homeschooling my kids. Though we've thought about Hibi going to high school, but it's completely her choice and she's beginning to steer away from that choice. But now I'm wondering about how much of the awful ways that high schoolers treat each other is socialized into us. We're sent off at such a tender age to school, to fend for ourselves, and how else do we have to defend ourselves? I've heard it said so many times, and I absolutely feel it's true, that you can tell homeschoolers apart from school kids. They just act differently. That's not to say that they're perfect, or they're good and the school kids are bad. Not to denigrate anyone's choice. It's just an observation. I think they are better able to make organic choices and relationships.

And here am I, still trying to relate to my old school mates in an organic fashion. Doesn't help that I don't see them, like, ever. Maybe if I did go I could just begin to form those relationships and ignore the facade we put on for others in school.

I'm just such a different person now. I'm concerned that I still wouldn't fit in, in a whole different way.

If there's anyone from my class that visits here, because I *did* put my blog address on my classmates profile after all, it's not you. It's....well, it's all of us. It's just how we humans do things, I suppose.

10 comments:

Ali said...

Go!!!! Seriously. Go. You won't regret it. You won't have to walk around alone--people will be reading your nametag and trying to figure out who you are. People care much more about that stuff now, than any of us did as teenagers.

Most of my good friends didn't come to my high school reunion, and those that did, I got to see before the actual event so we talked to other people during the reunion. There were plenty of people I didn't care about seeing again, who didn't remember me, but that was ok. The cool thing was, people I had completely forgotten about who I did actually like but maybe just had one or two classes with, or friends of friends who I didn't dislike but never had much in common with--it was fun to reconnect with those people as adults and see what they've been up to. It was wonderful to spend some time talking to a few of the guys who were pretty geeky in high school but who grew into men sometime after 18 and are totally cool people now, happy and married with kids who are just as adorable as mine. And, it was mind boggling to look around at all these nice people and realize that, my gosh, we all (most) grew up. We really did.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah, but you probably didn't attend a small Mennonite high school, now did you? :-P Okay, I'll think about it. It's a lot of travel, when we've already been traveling so much and still have a lot. But I'll think about it. And my "trophy husband" (as Paul just called himself!) can't come, for sure. And I have heard that at the 20th or 25th is when people relax and stop trying to impress and have grown up.


You know, I hadn't thought about the irony when I was writing, but we're doing this for *homecoming.* You know, the big *football game.* Well, the guy organizing it was a big football star, so I suppose that's what he looks back at fondly from high school.

I did go to the 10th reunion. It was too soon. People were still acting like morons. We were trying to take a picture for the school newsletter--Mennonite, remember? No drinking! And one guy just would not put down his beer. In fact, he held it high. Needless to say, our picture did not appear in the school newsletter!

And finally, none of my high school buds live in the area anymore. So I'm not sure with the short notice they'll be able to come. I suppose I should find out.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, I just remembered it was the five year, not the 10 year, that I went for. Really, really too soon.

DebD said...

I haven't gone to any of my reunions. I think this year would have been 25th. I was a wallflower in school. Very few would remember me and probably not the ones that would go.

Mimi said...

Well, admittedly I grew up in Podunkville, married one of my classmates, and my parents still live in said town, but I have enjoyed every one I've been to.

Plus, how many of your classmates can say they are the coolest Presbytera ever?

Elizabeth said...

Well, I have that on them, LOL! And two of the three things you said are also true of me: I grew up in Podunkville (huh, how come I never met you there?) and my parents still live in said town. Well, one town over now. I suppose marrying a classmate would make it more interesting to go back--you don't have one saying, oh, if I HAVE to I'll go with you. Not that my dear husband is saying that. He's just saying, there's no way I can go with you. :-P

architect said...

I ditched my 20 year - I didn't think the few people I was curious about would be there and I didn't see a need to check out the rah-rahs or football geeks. Plus it would have cost ~$150 for James and I to go to the dinner! (If I'm gonna pay that much it better be for a meal at the coast!)

Hey, saw this u-tube and thought you would appreciate it a tad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBnKh6B2cMw

Mimi said...

I would have loved to go to High School with you.

My Dh didn't go to our 15th with me, but he did go to our 10th. I'm sure he'll go to our 20th as well.

Molly Newman said...

I'm really looking forward to hearing what you decide. Your high school experience sounds unique, and it sounds as if you were well on your way to building your own identity rather than letting everyone else define you.

We went to Jim' 20th reunion, and it was fun (despite the drunken come-on from one of his former classmates); but I don't know if I'll go to mine or not. Fortunately, I think I have five more years to think about it.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Molly, you're just flaunting your youth. ;-)

I'll definitely let you all know. Though at this point, it looks like lots of reasons to stay here are present. Perhaps that'll make my decision easier?

SC