Time, The Revelator (‘Reunion Report’ Conclusion, At Least For Now.)

posted in: Day In The Life, Family, Paean 7
High school yearbook photos from 1942, somewhere in the middle west. Image: Wikipedia.
High school yearbook photos from 1942, somewhere in the middle west. Image: Wikipedia.

 

This will be my third and final “Reunion Report.” For now, anyway.

It’s just that there was so much to think about. I had to space things out. I had to plug in the iron, really press and smooth. I can’t figure anything out unless I write it out, as I’ve said. It’s been this way since I was in sophomore study hall, scribbling poems on the rubber sole of my Converse sneakers. I mention this again in case anyone from the reunion started reading my blog and is right now shaking their head, legitimately wondering why I can’t just chill and let the reunion be what it was: a great party. But I can’t help it. A sandwich is never a sandwich around here.

Whatever the occasion or experience, as time passes, impressions solidify, or they cauterize, or they get frozen in amber, or they disintegrate completely. Six-ish days after the reunion, I can finally get to what for me was the heart of it all. The thought started on Saturday evening and survived the night itself, the hangover on Sunday, the mulling, and the return to the city.

Time is the great equalizer. That’s what survived.

Every classmate I talked to last weekend, regardless of the tenor of our conversation — which did range from convivial to dark — was an adult. Time has no caste system, has no opinions about what you do for a living. I talked in the last post about “reverting to type” and I did, but not the whole time. Most of the time, I just felt like a person with people I admired simply by virtue of the fact that we’ve gone through a good deal of life since we were all in a room together. It’s been 20 years. Think of that.

Think of that.

Births. Deaths. Suffering. Ecstasy. Loss. Windfalls. Horror. Bliss. Addiction. Recovery. Jobs. Ruin. Success. Disappointment. Marriage. Divorce. Second divorce. Aging parents. Sibling pain. Fears for children, worry for friends. Disease. Redemption.

Living history, in other words.

The history we’re making and have each made in 20 years, all of us in our different ways (which are the same ways), that is the great equalizer. Time flattens us all and in this case, it’s a good thing. When I go on about feeling awkward, I’m being paranoid and small, even just taking up space to say that. Most of that night, we were all just folks, connected by the fact that two decades after we crossed the stage in the gymnasium wearing long robes and weird, betasseled cardboard hats, we are alive and we have earned — and paid dearly for — the space we occupy.

That’s what I figure. There’s more, but tomorrow I want to talk about how I rearranged all the furniture in my apartment this evening. What else am I supposed to do after seeing the grand pageant of humanity in the faces of my graduating class?

Move the couch, that’s what.

7 Responses

  1. ,, Jean
    | Reply

    Mary, Again, I have totally enjoyed your post. In October 2016, I attended my 45th HS reunion. It was fun and scary all at once. Some of the people had remained in touch, and so there was a certain amount of conviviality. Others like myself, had moved away, and only kept in touch with the very, closest few. I felt that same old awkwardness I had in HS, in spite of the fact that I have a Master’s degree, am confident and successful in my career, grown children also doing well…I still was 17 awkward, sort of plain, blah. I really didn’t “bloom” as they say until later. They never knew my biting wit,my fascination with medical science, my ability to attract and draw people in, and have them suddenly tell me their deepest, darkest secrets. The old “cliques” of the cool kids immediately gravitated to each other (I wasn’t one of them), and the rest of us “on the fringe” hung out, on the fringe. It wasn’t awful and I am since in touch with a prescious few that I had lost, but I do not think I will go back again.

  2. Kristina Morrow
    | Reply

    Hi Mary,
    I agree that reunions give you much to think about. I went to a small school in a large city – there were probably 30 at our 20 year reunion (21 years ago). I had a small circle of good friends (that’s introvert speak), and at my 40 year reunion there was only 1 of my close high school friends living – cancer claimed 4. Heaven help us – we are still in our 50s.
    Pick your favorite cliche lesson – I chose “enjoy every day”!
    Kristina Morrow

  3. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    Mary, This is crass but I am gonna say it anyway. You have balls! Tacky to say that to anyone but you let your heart, your fear and those insecurities out there for everyone to see. I will bet you a cup of lovely morning tea that not one of your classmates got up Sunday morning and announced to the world they felt awkward, reverted to childhood patterns or drank to much. Not one of them bared their soul. You my friend are a trailblazer, no following the masses for you. In that yellow woods where the two roads diverged—you took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.

  4. Terri
    | Reply

    Thanks, Mary for your words of wisdom. If time is the great equalizer for your 20th reunion, it will be even more so for my 45th in September. I will remember what you’ve written when I start to get anxious about it, which will happen. Thanks for the perspective! Terri

  5. Jeanann
    | Reply

    We just ‘celebrated’ 52 years since graduation.Even though I’m an old lady of 70 the emotions you expressed were so accurate for me. I loved your list of life traumas, and with your permission may I copy it to share with my classmate..

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Of course! 🙂 xoxoox mary

  6. […] there are very good reasons to live in a small town. And there are innumerable acts of charity and goodwill […]

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