I came across this blog-from-another-era the other day, and I thought it was worth transporting. I think back fondly to my 40th high school reunion, two short years ago. Enjoy.
Laughing It Up: A Guide to Re-Igniting Friendships
I just got back from my 40th (yeah, that's right, count 'em) high school reunion. I wouldn't say I was the typical attendee, seeing that all I remember of my high school years was a daily keystone-cops-like break-out at lunch and shivering smokes in the south parking lot.
I wasn't class president is all I'm saying.
And I pretty much announced before arriving that I had no memory of high school -- so if I stole your boyfriend, snubbed you at lunch, stepped on your toe or copied your outfit, you really shouldn't be mad at me anymore. I was returning with a clean slate.
The first event of the weekend, I will say, was a little awkward because, my god, everyone was so OLD. Literally unrecognizable in many cases. (As my cousin said, "The 40th reunion might be the last one you want to go to.")
But, as I was saying, it really didn't matter who you were, only that you were part of something, together. Once the first hug was thrown, the rest of us joined in.
It could be just because we're all pretty much over it. At 58 years of age, everyone has gone through something traumatic enough to spoil their perception that they are going to sail through life unscathed. Which has made them much more approachable. More human.
My dance club friends (really, who did dance club? only girls who had a collection of leotards and saw deep meaning in Joni Mitchell) and I picked up right where we left off. But a big bonus for me was re-connecting with friends from PRE high school, right back to kindergarten.
There's just something pretty wonderful about closing all those loops. I mean, we knew each other's families, and I have seriously wondered about the parents who were part of my childhood, as well as the brothers and sisters who either tormented us or took us cool places. They are part of who we are.
I actually got misty at the point when I connected with my 3rd grade boyfriend, someone I spent hours on the phone with, and who knew me as well as anyone could know an 8-year-old classmate. I just never thought I'd see him again.
What Makes a BFF?
When I look back on the people I attached myself to from the very beginning, the quality they all have in common is that they had a sense of humor -- big ones.
My fondest memories of elementary school involve a still long-lost girlfriend who was so funny I rarely went home from our after-school adventures with dry pants. My mother, god bless her, never said a thing.
In junior high we had a little more mobility to carry out our high jinx. I actually asked one friend "What did we do, really, because all I remember doing for three years is laughing? Her reply: "We spent the night and on Saturdays we rode the bus downtown. We saw a few movies. We tried to find boys."
Really? Because in my mind I see one hilarious episode after another that look a lot like "Girls Behaving Badly." Someone would start something ridiculous, and we would just riff on it until it was beyond exhausted.
We were young and confident and brave and silly -- and we definitely were self-directed. No parents doing our planning for us. They barely gave us rides anywhere -- we walked. We weren't really in trouble, but we didn't steer clear of it. When I look back, I'm kind of proud of our ingenuity.
After struggling to recall a couple of ridiculous escapades with a high school friend, she said, "That sounds like something you would have thought of." Smile.
Even in my adult life, I have gravitated toward people who find a lot of humor in everyday life, and who are capable of a good belly laugh -- something not too common in grownups these days.
One friend and I who got into some adventures way into our 40's came up with a saying, and when I have time I'm going to needlepoint it onto a pillow:
"It's not a day worth living until you've laughed so hard your mascara has run."
So, before I forget, to all the people who have made me pee my pants, make a fool of myself, miss my ride and ruin my makeup, thank you! It's been a blast!
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