Saturday, October 3, 2009

High School Reunions – the Real Melting Pot!

Ahhhh. Autumn is in the air. Crisp, cool days, football and bowls of chili – well, maybe a little north of Houston, Texas that is. It’s still a sweltering 90 degrees and crisp is an adjective we in the south use for burnt toast. And, we only eat chili during the two weeks in February when winter hits the Gulf Coast. But, we still have football!

Most schools, colleges and universities have what they like to refer to as an “alumni game.” That’s when everyone who ever went to that school is allowed to show up, sort of like a class reunion for everybody – no matter what year you graduated (or didn’t graduate, but at least attended for one semester).

My high school has the garden variety of reunions – every five years and we even ask the year before and the year after to attend.

For those of us who have been to a few (“few” can mean as little as three or as many as seven depending on your age… I’ve *ahem* been to only one or two… well maybe three or four if you don’t count the ones I might have missed) it’s another major milestone in our lives.

That first reunion is like a big party – similar to the ones we attended while still in high school. After all, five years is nearly yesterday to a 23 year-old (only two years past legal drinking age and still wet behind the ears). For those young enough to remember their first reunion, it’s the gathering of college elites, college dropouts and college wannabes or those who couldn’t care less!

And, some of the “kids” come in with wallets bulging with photos of their babies, most still in diapers, all of them talking about how little Ashley or Joshua will be the next Einstein or Ralph Waldo Emerson, all the while talking about the 12, 24 or 56 hours of labor giving birth to the little darlings and of course the biggest discussion was diaper choice…. Paper, plastic or cloth!

The second and third reunions are a little more, how do I say this?.... complex…I didn’t make it to my first two, but I made an all-out effort to be at the third one. Have you ever tried to lose 30 pounds in three weeks?

Listen, we’ve all seen the commercials where the girl is going back to her 10th - or maybe her 20th – reunion and she’s worried about her hair color. I was more worried about taking the (ex) husband.

At the first reunion, most of the married couples were those we knew in high school who were headed for the alter the minute the last school bell rang. But those (of us) who moved far away brought home some really good examples of cross-cultural diversity (the word “cultural” is used very loosely here).

Example number one: The super smart fellow who made A’s in chemistry, physics and atom smashing, but flunked etiquette and physical education, yet in he walks with a surfer girl from San Diego…. Legs up to here, flowing blond hair and a vocabulary of 10 words.

Example number two: The cheerleader – the one who dated the quarterback of the football team – in she walks with what looks like a Japanese Sumo wrestler – no vocabulary – just a lot of grunts.

I came back to my reunion with a guy whose major terminology consisted of, “Hey, woman, whar’s the vittles?” or, “Me and Bubba’s goin’ out to do us some huntin’… keep the fahr burnin’ and chop some more wood for the pile.”

So, there I was with the Neanderthal cowboy trying to keep a (very) low profile. One of my former classmates came over and introduced himself to us and began to tell us about his latest money-making venture. Apparently, he had become quite wealthy since leaving school – at least that was the impression he imparted.

Ol’ Hoss looked up at him and said, “Wahl boy, have ya ever bin in a Turkish prison?”

Former classmate and his spouse ever-so-quickly turned and fled, tripping over several chairs as they made their excuses – something about checking on little Poopsie who was boarded at the vet clinic in Albuquerque.

Lassoing old Paint, I hightailed it out of there, hoping no one would remember who I was with when the next reunion came around. “Hey,” said the Bubba clone, “That wahr jist a lil’ ol’ rednick hewmer. Thay jist don’ preshate funny stuff.”

I tried to explain the difference between Midwesterners and rednecks hoping he would understand if I used only one-syllable words. Needless to say, I undid the ropes that bound us together not long after that and have attended every subsequent reunion …. Alone!!!

The next reunion was a blast! I was single, free and unencumbered. Watch out everyone, I’m about to hit town! Besides the fact that I had lost 230 pounds…. 200 of which formerly belonged to Old Hop Along.

The third and fourth reunions are when you find out that the boy you had a mad crush on for three years in high school but were too afraid to speak to because he was really, really, Really popular, had a secret crush on you at the same time!

I can’t begin to tell you how many times that has happened to me. The reason I can’t tell you is…. Oh never mind…. But it DID happen!

Anyway, these reunions are the ones where everyone’s career is set and flourishing and everyone wants to know what mutual funds and how many T-Bills you have in your portfolio.

My portfolio consisted of a $25 savings bond my brother sent me when my daughter was born. Do they still make those???

This last reunion was just as much fun as the previous two. And, at this reunion, the main topic of discussion was where are you retiring? When did you retire and how is the golf game now that you have time to play every day?

Wallets also are bulging again… this time with photos of grandchildren, great grandchildren and furbabies. Yes, many of us now have furbabies since the children have left home…. For some reason, our need to continue parenting just never ends!

I refuse to bring photos of my grandkids…. With 12 little moppets, I need a wheelbarrow to carry them! Instead, I brought one of the little angels with me… she was the “family grandchild representative” – and she handled her job very capably!

Next reunion? I’ll probably still be single, (happily of course) and ready to party until at least 10 pm!

1 comment:

  1. Hysterical. Luckily no one knows my married name so have been spared the invites. Instead attend the reunions of my past students. Makes them feel younger to see how old I am - they conveniently forget that I'm only a couple years older than they are.
    Did attend a few of Chuck & Dave's HS reunions. At the last one Maureen & I saw some old folks behind us in Valet Parking. Were laughingly glad that we weren't going to the same party. Wrong!