A Personal High School Reunion 42 Years Later
I Connect With a Classmate from the Past
Last year, I received an email from a classmate who I had gone to school with 42 years ago, and I was delighted.
After exchanging several emails, we exchanged phone numbers and he called me. I spent well over an hour speaking with him. It was a great conversation, and we shared a lot of laughs. He made several more calls, and we realized that we would have to talk again, after all, 42 years is a lot to catch up on!
When we weren't on the phone, we talked online. I came home from work one day to find an email, asking was I free on Saturday for lunch. I was taken by surprise at first, gave it some thought, and replied that yes, I would love to join him for lunch. We agreed to meet at an old diner we both frequented when we were kids in high school.
I Remember What Once Was
Saturday arrived, finally. I awoke at 5 a.m., realizing today is the big day, the lunch date. Several thoughts cross my mind, such as, should I go or not? What will he look like? What will he think of me? Will we find the meeting awkward? Even though we chatted on the phone and online rather easily, will we find ourselves at a loss for words once we meet?
As I went about my day, I wondered if the boy I remember now the man he has become? Will I recognize the boy I remember? Will he have changed much? Will our lives have been spent in two different worlds? What will go through his mind upon meeting me? Will I be the girl he remembers, or not?
So, while I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I tried to process these thoughts, then just as quickly, put them out of my mind. I went about my morning routine, fully aware of the time. It was now 10:00 a.m., and we were meeting at 1 p.m. I guessed I should start getting ready and decide what to wear. After I took my shower, it was now time to look over my choices of what to wear. I picked out an outfit, and thought, this looks good. I put it on, looked in the mirror and said, oh heavens, it's awful. So, ok, I'll pick something else. Well, this went on for about 20 more minutes when I finally decided on black pants and a brown knit top with sparklies around the V-neck, just a bit more casual than dressy. Now, for the hair and makeup. I wasn't feeling good about the hair, so I messed around with it some more till I got a look I could live with. Now, it was time for the makeup. I have to take my glasses off to put makeup on, which kind of defeats the purpose, so I asked my daughter to do it for me. There, done, perfect. A spritz of perfume, something light. It was now 10:40 a.m. I went and fixed another coffee and played on the computer to kill some more time. I had a 30 minute ride to get to our meeting place, so I finished my coffee and hit the road at 11:00 a.m. I suddenly realized, that will make it 11:30 a.m. when I arrive at the diner, leaving me 90 more minutes till we met. Heavens, was I anxious or what? I was beginning to feel like the 17 year old girl I once was, the one with butterflies in her stomach. I thought, ok, it's time for a short detour.
Killing Time With the Butterflies
I turned off the highway and headed to the car wash. My truck really needed a washing anyway.
I arrived at the car wash and the line wasn't bad. I got out of my truck and went to the cashier, then waited outside. It came out in a few minutes, and I hopped in, checked the time, and thought, ok, that killed a whole 20 minutes. I headed on back out to the highway. To kill more time, I decided to do the speed limit. I arrived at the diner, and it was now 12:15 p.m. Still another 45 minutes to go.
As I sat there in the diner parking lot, I listened to my cds, music from the 60s of course. My cd player is belting out songs of yesteryear, flooding me with memories of my beloved high school dances. As I recalled the dances of the day, I realized we never even danced with each other, nor did we ever date. We actually hung around with different people.
I kept checking the time. It was now12:33 p.m, ok, less than 30 minutes to go. Feeling jittery, with those butterflies in my tummy, heavens, I was feeling like I was on my first date. But wait, this is not a romantic meeting, just old school chums catching up. Calm down Patty.
Finally, I saw a man approaching, he came to my window, held up a picture, and said, do you remember this guy? I had to laugh. I couldn't believe it! After all these years, he was the same, a bit thinner than I remember (wish I could say the same about me LOL), and his smile! It just lit up his face. I jumped out of the car, and we gave each other a big hug and with a peck on the cheek, off we went to eat.
We spent probably two hours in the diner, and our waiter couldn't have been more charming. The waiter asked, would you like something to drink, so of course we said yes, coffee for me and tea for him. The drinks came and we continued smiling and talking. Probably another ten minutes went by, when the waiter came back and said, are you folks ready to order? I said uh, actually, no. We were so engrossed in conversation we hadn't even looked at the menu, and the young waiter said no problem, take your time, as he walked away with a smile on his face too.
Gee, did we look like we were on a date? Did we really look that happy? I guess so. After a short while, the waiter brought us our food. Everything looked great, so we proceeded to eat. Once we were done, the waiter brought our check and we left the diner to take our tour.
We Visit Old Haunts
We didn't have far to go, less than a mile to our little town. Our town is only one mile square, so it doesn't take long to go through it.
Wow, so many changes! The old high school is closed. The boat club by the bay is where we used to go to swim, and it is now home to the new high school and million dollar condos on the water. We then drove down to the water works, where we used to go ice skating. It's still there, but I doubt anyone goes there anymore. The police station that sat next to our school was torn down. They decided to put it in an existing building on Broadway, the street where all the little stores are. Some of the stores still had the names we grew up with. The many old, wonderful trees that used to line our streets have been removed, giving the town a rather sterile look. The old railroad trestle that crossed over the street by my house, gone. Trains no longer go through that part of town.
We drove down to our old school and parked. We got out, walked up the steps and peered in the window. The room was still looking the way we remembered it, old desks, old chairs and chalkboard. We tried to recollect teachers' names, and came up with more than we thought we'd remember. As we walked by the auditorium doors, we recalled the dances held there, our favorite place to be on a Friday night.
He had suggested to me prior to this meeting that I should bring a camera.
Well, I didn't, and he couldn't find his, so we were without cameras. He had wanted us to sit or stand on the steps and grab some passer-by and ask them to take our picture, as he wanted to post it in our Classmates website. That would have been so neat, but hey, a good excuse to get together again :)
So, we left there and drove down to the bay, to the new park that had been built by the water. We sat there and talked for probably another hour and finally he said it was time to get back.
I did not want it to end. He was so very nice looking, so very sweet, and oh, so funny! The greatest sense of humor, and he could tell you stories that just made you laugh out loud. When he smiled, his whole face lit up, and he had the most incredible blue eyes framed by charming crinkles, and wonderful laugh lines.
Why, I ask myself, was I not attracted to him in high school? Why did I always seem to go for the bad boy type? The Jimmy Dean type? The older guys who wore black leather jackets and maybe even drove a motorcycle or a souped-up car. Maybe I liked the idea of being a bit daring. Who knows? Back then, I was always a flirt.
Well, the time had come and we parted ways, and with a peck on the cheek, he said he had a great time and we'd have to do it again. My heart smiled .
On my way home, so many thoughts went through my mind. Why didn't we ever date? How different would my life have been? Apparently, it was not ever meant to be. After high school, I was fortunate and met a wonderful man (not from my school) who became my husband. But sometimes, you just wonder.