Wednesday, August 14, 2013

20 years

© photo credit: Jenni El Fattal

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I really enjoy high school reunions.  

Last Thursday, I flew out to Seattle for a jam-packed weekend of 20 year high school reunion events (20 years!), looking for a house to rent, making a job connection, and spending time with my family. It was a weekend I had anticipated for months.

Dinner & ice cream with the fam.

A quick visit with my Colie and Baby Jack (due in two weeks!).

Ten years ago, our reunion weekend was also enlivening, even if we were all a little twitchy.  I went in to that homecoming with confidence and a story to tell, but I was still being refined and figuring things out, as we all were.  I was riding on a redemption high, while others were still wading through a season of uncertainty and disorientation. The mid-20s were an exhilarating time, but boy do I feel more comfortable in my skin now.  Seeing everyone at this stage of life affirmed that we've all become functioning adults.  

It's equal parts surreal as it is familiar.

I promised I would bring my scrapbook.  But, instead of the one containing pep rally flyers, Kodak articles, class photos and prom pictures, I brought the one from my choir trip to Europe in 1993. Those of us in that group (plus spouses and my brother who graduated the year prior) all gathered together on Sunday for a time of reminiscing and "geeking out" together.  I decided that if I was going to lug a big scrapbook on the plane with me, it was going to be that one.  I also brought my tour sweatshirt and the VHS-to-DVD recording that one of our chaperones made for us (thanks to my hubby for FedEx-ing it overnight to my parents' house!).

Our choir director from those years, Jim McCullough, and his wife, Kathy, joined us all the way from Chicago!  He was the teacher that nurtured his students and saw the potential we hadn't yet seen in ourselves.  It was music that brought us together back then, with a synergy that (I have feeling) will always exist between us.

This was my favorite reunion event of the weekend.  We sang songs we hadn't sung in 20 years.. and we still remembered our parts!  Photo credit: Shane Kelly

Share...Dream.

If I'm honest, everyone looks the same as I remember, just older.  We are all settled in to careers and families and life experiences, but the essence of who we are is still there.  Even those I didn't know well in high school or felt distance with then, I talked to.  I wanted a new memory with them.  Call it curiosity or concern: each conversation was rewarding.  We're only human, after all.

We've been laughing together for over 20 years!

My oldest and dearest friend, CC.  We've been besties
since elementary school!

Bob Cummins, my old friend.  We had several classes together growing up and used to pass notes to each other.  He's now a chiropractor with his own practice!  
Photo credit: Jenni El Fattal

Nicole and I played soccer together for many years!  
Photo credit: Jenni El Fattal

My sweet Jen - one of the most generous people I know.  
Photo credit: Jenni El Fattal

Stefin & Annemarie are so dear to me.  We go back as far as first grade!

Memorial for our classmates who have passed away.  I remember learning about every single one of their deaths, except one (Nick - third from the right) who was a surprise to us all this year.  Angela (far right) was one of my best friends in junior high.  
Photo credit: Jenni El Fattal

Some of the conversations were short and sweet, while others addressed heart matters, family dynamics, the ache of disappointment and the joy of blessings (some times amidst heartache).  I'd say that I was sort of the class therapist when we were in high school.  I did my best to be kind, plus I could sing, I was involved in a dozen extra-curricular activities (from sports to music to ASB), and I was straight as an arrow (always carrying a monogrammed Bible in my book bag).   

As much as I enjoyed my high school career, I'm happy to leave it in 1993.  Life is far more interesting now, and my level of care for people is at a depth that could never exist when I was seventeen.  I wonder what we'll all be talking about in ten years, and if we'll make reference to the reunion we just had.  Who is still in the area?  Who's a no-show?  Did Robb Schmidt have more kids?

You know, the important things.

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