20 Year High School Reunion With A Much Older Wife
And She Smokes Too
My twenty year high school reunion is approaching at breakneck speed and will take place in rural south Alabama this June. The invitation came to me by way of LinkedIn, and my wife of 24 years is oblivious of it’s existence.
Should I tell her? Do I ask her to go with me? Would she go? I really don’t know how she’d feel about being in a room with a bunch of people my age who remember our scandalous albeit legal marriage.
Things have changed in Alabama since I was a kid, but in 1995, the drinking age was 21, the smoking age was 19, but the marriage age was 14.
It’s funny how easily a sketchy thing can be accomplished if it falls within the realm of the law. You sit in front of a judge with your mother and your “girlfriend” and your mother signs her permission for you to get married. It didn’t matter that my girlfriend was my mother’s 49 year old best friend. I admit the judge had some qualms and lectured us on his opinion, but legal is legal, and he signed the papers and performed the marriage.
The civil ceremony took place two days after my 14th birthday, on the summer before I started high school. So overnight, I was a husband, a stepfather, and a grandfather. Not that I really played those roles, but it was mind blowing for a kid my age to think about.
There’s a lot I could and might say about my teenage years. A part of me wants to write about it so that I can relive it and remember them. However, the real question is whether or not I want to relive those years in front of the people I went to high school with? And with that in mind, how would my wife feel about it?
For the record, my wife and I are very happy and still in love. Marrying her was the best thing I ever did. Some people say she stole my childhood, but those people have no idea what I got in return. They also say things about my mother without knowing her or our situation. They ask how could a mother let her 14 year old son marry a 47 year old woman? My mother was wise enough to recognize the difference between a crush and being in love. Other people had bad things to say about my wife. The nicest thing they accused her of was being a cradle robber. I’m sure you can imagine the the other things they said about her.
Maybe we should have moved away from the town we got married in. But we didn’t, because it was our home. My wife was a hair stylist and owned a successful salon that only got more successful after we got married. That salon paid my way through college. I also didn’t want to move away from my mother and my brother and sister. I had friends in that town. But there were always the whispers behind behind my back and the pointed fingers. Of course my wife was on the receiving end of those whispers and fingers too. We had two choices. We could either hang our heads or hold them up high. We chose to stand proud, and I think that bothered a lot of people.
We finally did move away when I graduated and went to college. My wife bought a house and we lived there until we sold it and I bought a nicer house with the money I made from my job. As I was saying, we came from a rural town. It wasn’t very wealthy and most of the kids I graduated with didn’t go on to college.
So how would it be to return to my home town for my high school reunion? It could go a lot of different ways. I’m proud of my career and the things I’ve accomplished. I’m also proud of my wife. Would we be rubbing their noses in it? Or would we be the target of whispers and pointed fingers. Who knows? Maybe it would be a little of both.