Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reunion Weekend

Oh my goodness – look at those men with their silver hair, or no hair. And look at those thick-waisted women with grandmother faces. Do I look like that??!! This was the whisper on the lips of many of us “reunion-goers” as we attended the Friday night event of reunion weekend. What did we really expect – we’ve been out of high school for forty years. Smooth skin, clear eyes and shapely bodies are a distant memory. We look in the mirror each day as we dress, carefully apply makeup and style our hair, but we don’t see the real image. In our hearts we are young and the image before us is gently softened to match the image we carry in our memory.

This stark reality was a shock. However, as we moved through the evening, reminiscing and catching up on each others’ lives, we began to see not the aging faces, but the images of the 17-year olds we knew all those years ago. By the end of the gathering, the surprise had been replaced by the warmth of shared memory, and we looked at the faces through the rosy lens of nostalgia.

The reunion events were enjoyable; a Saturday afternoon boat ride gave us all an opportunity to relax and catch up on each others' lives. We were served a delectable dinner that evening in the elegant State Room in Albany, and danced the night away to hits from the sixties and seventies.

High school in suburbia in the mid 1960's was a difficult place for a tall, chubby girl with few social graces. It was a place of cliques and snobbery, and I somehow never found my way into a group where I felt a sense of belonging. As I watched so many of the old “groups of friends” having such a terrific time dancing, laughing, and reminiscing, I was reminded of how much I was on the “fringes” as a teenager.

However, those days are long behind us, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the reunions I have attended. As adults we share a sense of comraderie and celebrate our common memories. These special weekends give us a chance to relive the memories and enjoy what we have become. Already there is talk of a 45th reunion, and a periodic newsletter to keep us all in touch.

The weekend was a treat, with its delicious food, music and conversation, and I will look forward with anticipation to the 45th, but my back porch and quiet gardens beckon to me tonight -- my own little piece of heaven.

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