I knew it was coming. I laughed about it. I ignored it. I snarled at the mention of it. And yet, it was mysteriously compelling and repulsive at the same time.
My 20th High School Reunion.
Sure, you hear stories from everyone about reunions. They laugh, make it seem like a rite of passage. But what it really is is the first conscious declaration that, although in your mind you still feel 18, you are not. And yet, there is the odd magnetism of being with a specific group of people who are in the exact situation as you, and reveling in the same feeling.
In any case, my high school is 3000 miles away; I had no intentions of traveling to what was a clearly blatant attempt to get donations from me to a place I had not been in 20 years, to see a very small group of folks (our graduating class was 63 people), most of whom I really wasn't interested in seeing. And then it came. My friend Charles IM'ed me with the simple question.
And just like that, I was. I can't explain it. It's this strange tunnel vision: you suddenly are flooded with the good memories, and shut out the bad. You just know...you have to.
So, away I went, for my first real non-work/obligation/event trip to Boston in about 9 years. JetBlue makes it easy. I was picked up at the airport by Charles, who promptly whisked us to the cocktail party of choice, at our alma mater. I was not expecting it, but within moments (thank you, Big Dig) we were at the location of some of the most formative experiences of our lives.
When you first see the campus of a place that you spent almost every waking hour at for 5 years after 20 years, you feel comforted: "Oh, it's practically the same." And then you notice the newness. What you accepted as normal is now considered quaint. What you never dreamed of having, like a massive wing for the performing arts, complete with black box theater and multiple studios, is now de rigeur. And it's then you know.
You are not a kid anymore.
But there are good things! Reunions with old friends, for instance. Vasska, of course, who now runs one of the finest retail stores on Martha's Vineyard with his fantastic wife Tarni. Dave Strand, the man who's motto I still quote monthly ("It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it."), and took some great photos from the weekend. Allison Latt, who I barely spoke with in high school, hosted us all with a great party and fun. Jill Mazza, whom I have known since were kids, and who's sister Pamela will always be a sister to me. Ian, who flew in from Wisconsin; Jen Sesen, the first person I ever heard with the name "Jenna." And so many others.
We decided to bail on the dinner at the school, and headed to a nearby restaurant (talk about memory lane: I took my first date there, in the early '80's!). We spent the night drinking, eating, laughing, and picking up where we all left off. we talked about what our lives were now, and what ever happened to...etc.
Finally, we headed out, promising to meet at the barbeque at the school the next day. More on that later...