bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘reunion’

Back to the Future-Part 3

Yes, yes, we are finally getting to the actual reunion part of my story.  Keep your pants on.

When we left Michelle yesterday, she was going to go get a drink and calm her big self down.

I went into the bar and there were faces that looked somewhat familiar, but not necessarily friendly.  Think Star Wars Cantina.  (I can’t help it.  Gotta throw a Star Wars reference in whenever I can.)  I smile at those who actually make eye contact.  One guy is really good-looking, but I can’t remember his name.  And, remember, no name tags.  Great.

I get my drink and I hear, “Michelle?”  I turn around and there is a guy I’d know anywhere.  We grew up together in elementary school.  I didn’t need a name tag.  I hug him and he introduces me to his wife.  The three of us find out that we all live in Wildwood and that their daughter will be going to middle school with my two kids next year.  His wife takes our picture, and we say we’ll see each other outside.  Now, I walk out of the bar with confidence.  I am passing those same faces that I saw when I entered, but now I’m not avoiding their eyes.  I’m smiling and nodding like I’m Miss America or something.

When I get back outside, I find out that there are now name tags, plus a sign-in sheet.  Another sigh of relief escapes me.  The pen we have to use, though is definitely a fine-tip one.  (I’m an office supply freak/geek.  I know my pens.)  This makes me laugh and as I mention to the women I saw when I first arrived, “Sure, we may need to use our hands and read them like Braille, but at least they are name tags!”

Another great elementary buddy comes and finds me, and we hug.  ( I had thought before I left, “What if these people aren’t huggers?  I’m a hugger.  Oh gosh.  Turns out, those I felt like hugging often hugged me first.  Those I just kinda knew?  No hugging necessary.  Weird.  It was like these were real, normal people or something.)  I tell him that he was so sweet to me in high school because I rode the bus all the way through high school, but he would pick me up in his pickup truck once in awhile when he saw me standing alone at the bus stop.  He threw his head back and laughed.  “That big ol’ white pickup?  Wow!”  He later mentioned that to his wife who told me that that same pickup had broken down on her when they were dating.

Then I saw my friend from church and her friends and there were more hugs.  Everyone’s got name tags on now, so I don’t have to use my not-so-great memory to remember who these people are.  (And, these ladies don’t have their husbands there either, so I’m not regretting not dragging Tom along.)  We start talking about the clothes we used to wear and how important those were to us.  We each remembered what pair of Nikes we had.  We thought that was hilarious!  Twenty-five years go by, and I still remembered my dark blue Nikes with the light blue swoosh.  We talked about Candies, Yo-Yos, and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.  I was laughing so hard tears were practically shooting out of my eyes!  If there had been a fire right then and there, and they made everyone go home, I would have thought it was the best night I’ve had in a long time.  This is why people like to attend reunions.  The laughing and the memories.

I headed over to what I called The Music Department Table.  If you were in band, orchestra, or choir, you were over there.  Again, hugs all around.  One guy said to me, “You know.  I haven’t been in St. Louis for years.  And, when I came back, and decided to go to this thing, there were certain people I really wanted to see.  You are one of those people.”  Awwww.  How cool is that?  He introduces me to his wife, and I meet the other Music people’s wives.  Awesome.  (I just now realized I’m the only female there from the Music Dept.  Didn’t even think of that until now.)

I move on into the bar area now and see my friends from earlier, and more people start to arrive.  Lots of screaming “Hi!!!!!!!” and lots of “Quick!  Who is that in the blue shirt?” right before that person comes up to talk.  Not all the name tags are staying on, it seems. 

One of my old friends tells me that she’s mad at me, and winks.  I asked why and she said I stole the solo in “God Bless America” from her in high school.  I said, “Seriously?  I don’t even remember that.”  Then I laughed and said, “I can’t believe you are even speaking to me after that!”  I guess you can forgive pretty easily after 25 years.

I saw lots and lots of people that night.

  • A best friend from elementary school that didn’t associate with me in high school, but was so excited to see me.  She looks just like her mom, and talking to her brought back all the good memories and none of the bad.
  • A girl that didn’t talk to me in high school and still didn’t talk to me that night.  Okay, several girls.  And guys.  But, what was I going to catch up with them about anyway?  I didn’t know anything about them 25 years ago.  I thought it would bother me when they would look at my nametag and move on, but it didn’t.  I did the same thing when I saw their nametags.
  • Guys that were so popular and good-looking in high school that are still good-looking, but aren’t married, and wish they were.  Or at least wished they had kids.  And, I wasn’t deathly afraid to talk to them.  Twenty-five years will do that to a person!
  • Classmates that weren’t “popular” at all in high school, but were having the best time circulating and talking to anyone and everyone!
  • People that I kind of knew in high school, but were so friendly and fun to be around at the reunion.
  • And, finally, classmates I had honestly forgotten about, but was absolutely thrilled to see and catch up with. 

It was truly an amazing evening.  I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, “You haven’t changed at all!  You are still so funny!”  (I don’t remember being funny in high school.  I thought that came later.  Shows you what I know!)  If you had asked me last year, or even last month for that matter, if I would be attending, I would have laughed out loud, and said, “No way!”

There are several classmates that I am sure I will see before the next reunion.  Two of the guys are in a band together and several of us plan to go hear them play whenever we can.  But, now, I can honestly say that I cannot wait for the next reunion.  Which just goes to show you, “Never say Never.”

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Back to the Future-Part 2

Now that I’ve decided to attend my 25th high school reunion, I’m a mess of emotions.  I’m really excited.  I’m really nervous.  I’m going to throw up.

I mention that I’m nervous to Karen who says, in her “matter of fact” way, “Why go, then, Mom?  If you are so nervous, just don’t go.”  Well, yeah.  So, I explain that I am more excited than nervous, and just like trying out for Willy Wonka in May, I’m going to do something that makes me a little nervous, but that I think I will enjoy if I just do it.  She says she understands.  Maybe she does.  Or maybe she just wants me to shut up about it.  I’m going with the former.

The day passes by quickly and soon it is time to think about what to wear.  Ugh.  I had already told myself years ago that the time of trying to lose weight before these people see me has long gone.  I am a much more confident person now.  If they think I’m fat, too bad.  I don’t care.  And, as all good mothers say, “Then, those people aren’t your friends anyway.”  I’m not going to see those people.  I’m going to see the people that were nice to me back when I didn’t have the confidence or the rockin’ sense of humor I do now.

I told Karen that I didn’t know what to wear.  She, of course, says, “I’ll be glad to help you with that!”  I quickly remind her that she’s got Mom’s wardrobe to deal with, not hers.  There will not be a lot of choices.

So, I headed upstairs and quickly laid out the three possible choices.  Ugh again.  I could hear my mom’s voice in my head telling me I should have decided this earlier and bought a new outfit.  And, she was right.  But, there was no doing that now.  Karen looked at my choices and said, “Well, this one I like, but it is just too much black, I think.”  I tried not to say, “Oh no!  Black looks better on people that are heavy or fat or whatever!”  She pondered over the other choices and I said, “Well, I liked that outfit because I could wear my cute pink shoes with it.”  That got her attention.  She’s Imelda Marcos Jr.  “Okay, go try that on.”  I did and she said, “Oh yes.  That looks really good.  It doesn’t look like too much black at all.”  Now, if the rest of you out there don’t have your own Karen in your life, I will lend her to you.  No one makes me feel better about how I look than my daughter.  She will tell me if she doesn’t like what I’m wearing.  (In fact, she told Tom yesterday, “Really, Dad?  Navy blue shirt and black shorts?  No.”  And we were just out at Innsbrook and wouldn’t be seeing ANYONE!)  Fashion is her thing.  So, when I got ready, I felt really, really good.  I needed that.

I did my hair, and it looked great!  YES!  Decent outfit, good hair, I’m good to go.  I get ready to leave when I realize I don’t have any pictures of the family to show off.  Isn’t that what people do at reunions?  Crud.  I am now running around like a chicken with my head cut off looking for photos.  I’m even shouting aloud, “What kind of mother doesn’t have photos of her kids?”  I finally find one of each kid.  Sure, they are from two years ago, but they still look like my kids.  Now, for a photo of Tom.  Huh.  Every picture I find that isn’t already in a scrapbook is so old he doesn’t even have a beard.  He’s had that for three years now.  This is sad.  Mark yells in at me, “Hey, Mom, do you have your phone?”  I scream, “YOU ARE BRILLIANT!”  Tom is the main picture on my phone.  YES!  (Turns out, Mark just wanted to know if someone had called me.  He wasn’t trying to help with the photo issue.  Oh, well, I still hugged him for it.)

Then, I was out the door.  Nervous.  Nervous.  Nervous.  I kept telling myself that if the place was filled with “Who are you?” people, I could just leave.  No formal dinner or anything.  So, just get back in my car and go.  Good.  I have an escape plan.

I call my friend in Dallas and she talks to me about her demon child and I can now concentrate on something else.  Well, that and driving.   She wishes me good luck and I hang up the phone.  I put on my lipstick, and I walk to the bar. 

The reunion was being held at Harpo’s in Chesterfield which has a patio as well as the inside bar/restaurant.  I can’t tell whether the people standing around on the patio are from PCH or not.  Oh, man.  I am wishing I wasn’t doing this.  I don’t recognize anyone.  But, my legs keep going.  I walk up the stairs and there is one of my Facebook buddies.  I grab her and hug her like she is the only life preserver in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!  I tell her how glad I am to see her and she introduces me to her husband, and then another classmate that is standing with her.  I now see Problem #1 and it is a biggie.  No one is wearing nametags.  What the?  I said, “Uh, no one is wearing nametags.”  I love stating the obvious.  Both ladies agree that nametags would be nice, and I said, “Heck, I will go over to Schnuck’s and get nametags if I have to!  We NEED nametags!”  I truly think I’m going to hyperventilate.  Instead, I say, “Well, I’m going to go inside and get a drink.”  My friend says, “Oh, yes.  Don’t worry.  We did that first thing too.  We all need a drink before this thing.”  Whew.  I’m not the only one who is nervous.

Tomorrow’s topic:  WHAT WAS IT LIKE ALREADY!?!?!?

Back to the Future

 “I feel like I have been in Back to the Future this weekend.”  One of my high school classmates posted that in her status. It was our 25th high school reunion.  Parkway Central Colts – Class of 1984.  (Always hated that mascot.  But, that is another post.)

I have never attended any of the previous reunions.  I don’t have a lot of fond memories when I think back to high school.  It is one of those periods of my life when, sure there were good events, but mostly I remember going to school, then coming home.  Not much of a life outside of school.  A few friends.  Definitely not considered popular.

But, this year felt different.  My good friend had attended the 20th reunion and reported back that it was a good time.  Still, she was much more popular than I was.  When I heard the 25th was scheduled, I was absolutely not going to attend.  Why relive that time?  It had been 25 years since I had seen ANY of them.  Why go back?

But, then, Facebook entered the equation.  Slowly, I started to see people from high school that brought back GOOD memories.  Now, it’s not like I was ready to pick up the phone and call any of these people.  That’s the great thing about Facebook.  You can just write, “Wow!  You look exactly the same!  I loved looking at your photos!” and that’s the end of the communication.  But, still, the wall that had been separating you for 25 years now has a small crack in it.

The closer it got to the day, the more attending it entered my mind.  And, the night before the informal get-together was to occur, I mentioned to Tom that I was 70% interested in going.  His response:  “That’s a heck of a change from ZERO!”  I nodded.  Admitted that Facebook had made me think about it more.  Then, he asked the big question.  “Do you want me to go too?”  I quickly responded that I wouldn’t do that to him.  He let out a big sigh of relief.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to take him.  I did.  I am so proud of him.  I would have loved to have shown him off.  He’s amazing!  I just knew that he would have a horrible time.  And, I’d be worried about him having a horrible time.  I was worried enough about myself having a good time. 

I posted the status on Facebook:  “To attend or not attend.  That is the question.”  Nothing else.  Just that.  Several fellow alumni figured out I was talking about the reunion.  I was encouraged by all to attend.  Now that I knew more than two people that were going, I was even more intrigued.  I sent a message to my friend from both high school and church and asked what time she was going.  (I had heard two separate start times.)  She told me and said she expected to see me there.  That was it.  I was going.

You know how Back to the Future had three movies?  Well, this topic is going to be divided up that way too.  In bites you can actually swallow.  So tune in tomorrow for Part 2.  🙂

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