The Class of 1989/90 Reunion was in February, but I guess I never hit "Publish Post" on this. 'Bout time!
I was pretty surprised that Michelle was willing to drive all the way out to my parents' house to practice our songs for the Reunion. Even in high school - that can't have been 20 years ago already, can it? - we lived pretty far off the beaten path, but after I left for the Air Force, mom and dad bought property even further out, nearly to Wickenburg, and added a good 25 miles to their already lengthy commutes.
But Michelle said she was used to driving all over the Valley of the Sun for her job, and didn't mind. So there we were, playing music and talking about old times and recent times, and about our apprehensions of the Reunion itself. Would we remember the people who showed up? Would they remember us? Fondly? Would our best friends be there, or would they be stuck in far-flung corners of the world?
We needn't have worried.
Even 10 years ago, documenting this would have been more difficult; putting memories down in a blog or sharing pictures on Facebook would have been either unheard of, or at least uncommon. But now, roaming through a hotel ballroom full of not-so-distant strangers is a matter of recognition more than anything; how much do they resemble their profile picture? And can you read their nametag in the dim light? Most of the ice-breaking has already happened online, after all.
So, for me at least, the evening was a stream of people who looked a lot like the parents of the kids I knew in high school, walking around, being happy to see each other. They seemed to enjoy our singing, even though the PA system we had wasn't quite up to the task of filling the room, and they seemed to appreciate our effort.
I'm still not very good at capturing details, of course. I can't tell you who all I talked to - I could try, but I would forget too many names at this point - and I can't tell you who we talked about and caught up on. I can tell you there were a few missing who are no longer with us, and a few I never would have expected to make it this far (and I'm glad you did!), and I can tell you that the overall impression I had was a joyful one.
In a lot of ways, we haven't changed. The patterns of who talked to whom, who got silly-drunk and who withdrew early, the inevitable comparisons of work/hobbies, family, successes and failures; that all stays the same. But because perspectives have shifted, I saw something reassuring in all of it. I saw a truth unfold at my 20 year high school reunion that I barely dared hope would be true all those years ago.
We really are "okay".