My husband and I graduated from the same high school. We did not know each other then because I was a year behind him and I started there in my senior year, after he had already graduated. So, when we go to our reunions, everybody knows him and nobody knows me. I might as well be going to the Academy Awards as a tag-along spouse of Robert Redford. You know, the one who stands there smiling and smiling while everyone exclaims how wonderful the husband/wife looks. “You haven’t changed a bit!!!” They don’t know if I’ve changed because they never knew me in the first place. Those who signed my yearbook mostly wrote “To a swell kid.” I could have been an ax murderer for all they knew. “To a swell kid. I hope you enjoy Alcatraz.”
A lot of them had loony knick names which complicates the remembering no end. “Wimpy” is a bank officer. The football coach is still “Doc.” And then there was Krummy, Yogi, Twig and the like. Now they go by John and Mary and I’m totally confused. One guy in my class got himself elected to Congress. I can’t remember his real name or knick name but he must have had a bumper sticker at some point. One guy who always shows up is the one who was responsible for our losing the state championship when he dropped a “Hail Mary” pass during the Thanksgiving Day football game. We all know who he is.
I have kept in touch with a few friends who married people in my husband’s class so there will be a few familiar faces. Of course, the faces are chubbier these days, and topped with white hair, if any.
I remember one reunion we went to a few years ago. We had lost the directions (per usual) for finding the restaurant where the shindig was to take place. When we arrived at the place listed on our reunion packet, we peeked in the door and didn’t recognize anyone. “This must be the wrong place,” my husband said, “these people all have walkers.” It was the right place.
There was very little jitterbugging done at the last reunion. The dancing more resembled shuffling around to some old Frank Sinatra tunes.
Several years ago, conversation centered around our brilliant children. One guy has a son who is an astronaut. Try to beat that! The rest of us discuss the feats of our brilliant grandchildren.
One thing I absolutely hate is when I’m approached by total strangers who coo, “Guess who?”
Now, in a few weeks, it will be reunion time. Along with sending in a way-too-large check for a mediocre meal, we are suddenly driven to look better than we actually look. Any day now, we’ll embark on some diet that promises quick results. We’ll pump a little iron, extend our walks a bit. Make an appointment with a really good hair dresser. Head over to Manchester for the perfect outfit.
And why? Why do I want to look good for these people who barely ever knew me?
Because they’re probably wanting to look good for me, old whatzername.