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Near this time tomorrow I will be attending my high school’s reunion, milling around at the local country club. Instead of being thrilled to reunite with my classmates, I’m dreading it. I keep asking myself-Who in the bloody hell ARE these people?  So, I’ve decided that the only way I can cope is to get blind, stinkin’ drunk...(kidding)!

Rather than drink myself numb, I’ve decided to approach the event as I did some of my studies in anthropology. After all, theirs is a culture that has mystified me almost from the first day we attended kindergarten (and Sunday School) together. And it continues to baffle me even now, as evidenced by their interactions on Facebook. Therefore, I will conduct an ethnographic study of sorts. I am an outlier whose job is to simply observe and study.

It seems appropriate that I would finally willingly embrace that role. I realized, so early on, that I thought differently than most everyone around me (including my parents, I regret to say). I was adopted, so I was that much further removed, as if it were a scarlet letter. But I tried, over and over, to fit in, only to be sabotaged by mean girls and their mothers, by authoritarian teachers who resented the fact that I was likely smarter than they were, by boys who teased me into thinking they liked me when they really just wanted to either cop a feel or win a bet.

The geography and demographic data speak volumes: This is a small, but not tiny, Texas town, dusty and flat, far away from the hustle and bustle of big cities-the liberal bastion of Austin is a world away. As one would expect, churches were (and continue to be) the cornerstone of the community. But the churches, in addition to school and my family, were the first places where I saw the separation of class, sex and race. It was bewildering-surely the rest of the world wasn’t like this!?

The town had one high school-there were approximately 300 people in my graduating class. A rough breakdown of some demos for that microcosm, according to the pictures in the yearbook: 75 Hispanics,or as my family called them, Messkins (oh, there were other slurs), 17 African Americans (you can guess what my parents called them...), and yep, you guessed it, the rest were white like me. Oh, wait, we were more diverse than that! There was one Indian girl and a Vietnamese girl. So diverse.

If a person of color happened to be good in sports or attractive, they were amply rewarded with recognition and popularity. Otherwise, they would be relegated to the fringe...yes, there were others, much more removed from the center of that universe than I was.

The memories started coming back when I moved back to the city of my childhood a few years ago. And the more I feel anchored to this place, the more the memories linger. Now, they’re everpresent with this event. Some might ask why I would bother to go...believe me, I have struggled with that. But I was lucky enough to have two real friends during my childhood that will be there. One is flying in from Hawaii, and will be staying with me.  If not for that, I would not go.

There was a 20-year reunion, so I heard. Someone posted pictures on Facebook recently. It was clear that a very small group had orchestrated an exclusive get-together. As my friend and I discussed, such a mendacious act would not be possible in the age of Facebook. People “friend” people that they barely said a word to in high school. All of a sudden, everyone likes everyone. Funny, that.

And speaking of Facebook-it has been a great tool for me. I’ve gained more insight into who these people are and were. It’s not surprising (disappointing, though) that the Class of 82 is filled with racist, sexist republicans who never evolved from their narrow views. Their hatred of “the other” is splayed across the screen, with rants about welfare queens and chik-fil-a, with slurs and jokes about our President, and so on, interspersed with Bible quotes and cute kiddie and animal pictures. The contradictions are astounding.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes-Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” These people showed me when I was growing up, but I didn’t want to believe them. I do now.

Originally posted to shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree (17+ / 0-)

    My 30 year is coming up also, and I've seen the same stuff out of people.  I'm not going to go to my reunion, I have other, more fun activities to spend time and money on now.  

  •  I'll be doing that on Saturday! (11+ / 0-)

    -and you're right, I never would have gone if it weren't for Facebook.  No idea how it will go, but I'm prepared for it to go well.  We shall see...

  •  Spend time with your real friends (13+ / 0-)

    and skip the reunion altogether.

    You'll all be happier.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:23:19 PM PDT

    •  I see your point. (15+ / 0-)

      And maybe this is just wrong of me, but my friend and I will be quite happy hanging w/ each other, and watching the freakshow. And laughing. Lots of laughing.

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:44:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree (20+ / 0-)

      I never went to any reunions. Why should I? Those people were not my friends then, I was the one you had to pick on or your social standing would tank. I was the consummate ousider, a Jew among goyim, an atheist among Christians, a lesbian among homophobes, a science geek among those who insist girls couldn't do math or science, a feminist among raving sexism, a radical among right wingers. I got out as soon as humanly possible and escaped to UC Berkeley at 16. Didn't even go to my graduation. I don't see any reason why any of those people would be any nicer to me, or any more enjoyable to see, than they were back then. Probably all birthers who eat at Chick-Fil-A. Certainly none of them have shown any inclination to find me; I never even got invites to any reunions. I've moved but my parents stayed in the same house for a lot of years. So I guess they didn't want me around any more than I wanted to be around.

      •  so sorry for your hurt. (8+ / 0-)

        from what you said, I would have been drawn to you because you were so different from everyone else. and my parents would have hated it! a jewish girl? that in itself would have marked you as a heathen. (no synagogue here, for sure.) and berkeley? well, that's where the hippies wreaked havoc, according to my parents. a lesbian geek? yes, you and i would definitely have been friends.

        i always wondered about our 20 yr reunion. like you, my parents never left the house i grew up in. it was clear-my classmates didn't want me there. but now they have no choice in the matter. bwahaha!

        'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

        by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 01:36:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We went to different high schools together. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DamselleFly, ScienceMom, SuWho, raincrow

        :::::fist bump:::::

      •  Same here (7+ / 0-)
        Certainly none of them have shown any inclination to find me; I never even got invites to any reunions. I've moved but my parents stayed in the same house for a lot of years.
        I know.  I haven't gotten invitation to a reunion since the 5th.  Last year was my 30th.  My parents have lived in the same house since I was in 9th grade.  One of them nursed my mother back to health, and my father mowed the lawn of another when my classmate was injured last year.  My classmates' mothers play cards and sing in the choir with my mother, and my classmates' fathers go on baseball road trips with my father.  Their parents are our godparents.

        One of them even sent me Flat Stanley on behalf of her son's class because I lived in an interesting place and they could learn more geography that way.

        But I guess when I moved away from the town, I got hard to find.

        I had my own little mini-reunion last year with four other oddball girls in the class.  We had a lot of fun, and we're still in touch.

        I teach in a school where students fight tooth and nail to get into my class and raise hell when we try to promote them out.  I'm by far the most popular teacher at the school.  

        It's really strange how I can be so well liked professionally while so sneered at by adolescents years ago.  I simply don't understand how this is possible.  I can only thank my lucky stars that I went from ignored to liked and not the reverse.

        "He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help." ~ Abraham Lincoln

        by harchickgirl1 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:50:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  good attitude shesaid (19+ / 0-)

    go as an anthropologist and be surprised at what you uncover. You also will enjoy realizing that at this point that the mean girls are still mean and live constricrted unhappy lives because of it. They put a lot of effort into it for ever decreasing results. They peaked in high school and desperately try to keep their lives on that level all these years later. It's sad and it only bothers me when they need for me to be as unhappy as they are. That is best countered with a laugh. It irritates them and leaves them without a response, making a pause where you make your escape.

    "When you're swerving on life's highway you're running someone off the road." Robert Earl Keen

    by Wordsinthewind on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 12:34:17 PM PDT

  •  Kurt Vonnegut said: (33+ / 0-)

    "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

    "Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing." Robert Benchley

    by scilicet on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 01:22:53 PM PDT

  •  Have any of your classmates evolved? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lina, shesaid, SteelerGrrl, ScottinSF

    Did any of them change their views since high school?

    •  stop the stereotypes and you could have fun. (5+ / 0-)

      So you changed. Dont you think that of the 300 who graduated that there will be a mix of liberals, conservatives and moderates, believers and non-believers, vegans and vegetarians etc.  If you can get beyond the superficial you will find that there are a lot of people in your class just like you.  There are those struggling with bills, union members, unemployed and underemployed.   Some will have lost their homes to foreclosure and some are still paying off their student loans.  Facebook is supposed to be superficial.  You do not brag about bad things on facebook.  Sit down with your classmates and you might learn that a lot of them are just like you

      •  Replying to me, or the diarist? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shesaid
      •  i appreciate you commenting... (7+ / 0-)

        but let me clarify. my views never changed. i was always a progressive, surrounded by right-wingers. i just didn't really understand the extent to which that was true when i was young. as i mentioned in the diary, due to the geography and demos, this area was the epitome of right-wing (white) hate and intolerance. no, i'm afraid it was them who stereotyped anyone who was different from them.

        and part of the point of the diary is that of a class of 300, there should have been more diversity of thought-and there wasn't. and no, few seem to have evolved, if at all, because now they have facebook as a platform to spew hate as they proclaim their christian values.

        as i said to someone else, i'd dearly love to be pleasantly surprised. i truly would.

        i had to chuckle about the vegan/vegetarian comment. the organizer of the event had posted possible menu choices: beef, chicken or pork. not surprising that almost everyone voted for beef (it is cattle country, after all. sometimes i can smell the beefpacking plant wafting in. blech!) My friend suggested a choice for those who might want a choice for healthier food (i.e.-vegetarian/vegan.) she was ignored. that says alot about the people we're dealing w/.

        i'm guessing you must have grown up in a much different environment than i did.

        'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

        by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 03:51:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I grew up at the spectrum's other end. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lina, shesaid, BusyinCA

          Evanston, IL, where the school districts voluntarily desegregated back in the 1950s or early 1960s. I grew up amidst cultural, ethnic and economic diversity, although there were few White Sox fans and even fewer Packers fans, back then...

          I'm sorry you stood out like a sore thumb where you were/are. I was curious whether anyone who grew up with those attitudes managed to outgrow them as they became adults. We see plenty of diaries/posts here at DK from people who grew up in rabidly conservative or religiously fundamentalist families, yet somehow, something affected them and made them question their beliefs. And then change. I'm guessing that hasn't happened to any of the people you knew from school.

          Did any of them ever leave town, and get exposure to the wider world?

          •  thanks so. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Railfan, SuWho, madhaus

            actually, i felt more invisible than anything.

            a few did leave. as i mentioned, my friend is living in hawaii now. but her family was not from around these parts-they had lived all over (military dad, i recall). but because of that, she was blessed w/ a broader perspective.

            you were fortunate to have grown up w/ that diversity.

            thank you for sharing.

            'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

            by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:00:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  wow, looks like a long night. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shesaid

          Practically everyone has a non-meat choice these days.  Hang out with your two friends and one of you stay sober to drive home.

          •  will do! (0+ / 0-)

            it's 2 nites, actually. ugh.

            one of my friends doesn't drink anymore, so she's volunteered to drive. but i am limiting myself to one or 2 drinks. i know how i get when i get drunk! and i figure there will be a contigency of drinkers who will provide a bit of entertainment suitable for the rumor mill. our county was dry up until a couple years ago, so they'll probably overcelebrate.

            should be interesting, at least.

            thanks!

            'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

            by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:05:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  surely some have, and i hope they have, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wordsinthewind

      but the very few that i know are progressive now were always that way to some extent.

      i'd absolutely love to be pleasantly surprised, but like i said, i've seen the posts they make on facebook.

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 03:15:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow - think positively! (6+ / 0-)

    I just went to my 50th and had a blast.  It was 2 evening get-togethers with a tour of the old high school and golf outing in between.  We have them every 5 years and always enjoy seeing each other and catching up.  We live all over the country and as far away as Australia - so it is great to renew old friendships.  We had 650 in our class, some have passed, but I think we had close to 350 in attendance.  Of course, you gravitate to the ones who were closer friends, but they were all good people and deserve an enthusiastic and positive encounter with you.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 01:30:13 PM PDT

    •  thank you for your encouragement... (3+ / 0-)

      i assure you, i will try to present myself as enthusiastic and positive. sorry that i find it so hard to be positive...i just can't even begin to express how growing up here messed with my head.

      as for them all being "good people," well, i respectfully beg to differ. a few, yes. but there were many who were, and still are, hateful and mean, or at the least, ignorantly indifferent. i don't think it's a coincidence that those very people are now republicans and tea-partiers.

      my friend from Hawaii will likely be the one who travelled the furthest. many stayed here or within 70 miles of this town, and a few never ventured outside texas. i think they liked being insulated from the rest of the world.

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 04:19:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't know where in TX you are, but I grew up (9+ / 0-)

    in eastern NM, just 10 miles from the border of TX. I felt like a fish out of water there more as a young adult than I did when I was in HS. I wasn't part of the "in" group, but wasn't ostracized either. My parents were liberal and educated and I'm sure they suffered more than I. I just didn't know any better until later on. I know I'd have a difficult time living in my hometown now.

    I've never been to my HS reunions, but my brother and sister have and they say I should go, that I would enjoy them. I graduated almost 50 years ago, so doubt at this late date I'll be attending in the future. Hope you're pleasantly surprised by some of your classmates and that you and your friend have a spectacularly good time.

    Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 01:31:32 PM PDT

    •  i hope so, too. thanks for commenting. (3+ / 0-)

      you know, my parents are 80. they grew up in a small town near here. they never miss a reunion. (granted, there were less than 20 people in their class-not hard to organize.) but you might get a big ole hoot out of going next time.

      being back in my hometown is truly an other-worldly experience...i don't recommend it.

      thanks again. and we will have fun, one way or another!

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 04:24:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Clovis? (7+ / 0-)

      It's gotta be Clovis.  

      David Corn once spent the night at my parent's house in Clovis; he and a friend were doing the grand tour and stayed with his friend's cousin in Albuquerque, who hooked them up with me in Clovis for a free night's lodging.  I was home from college just slumming, and didn't know what to do with these two easterners...  I think I ended up taking them to the Copper Penny.  That's probably the most exciting thing that ever happened in Clovis...  

      I did attend my 30th a few years ago, it was surreal in a strange way.  Ended up partying with some cool people I never knew in high school.

      •  Bingo. My parents are deceased, and all my (4+ / 0-)

        friends left Clovis long ago, so I don't have a reason to return (not that I particularly want to). I always tell people Clovis is a nice place to be from. That said, I did have a semi-idyllic childhood, but then I grew up in the 50's when life almost anywhere in the States was better than now in many ways.

        Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

        by Hanging Up My Tusks on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:50:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  60's here (0+ / 0-)

          we had SO much fun with the horny toads and the snakes and playing outside...  and then later with sex and drugs and rock and roll, heh.  Great place to be from. But sometimes my heart just clenches in love with the sky and the light and the luminous beauty of the Llano Estacado...  we were lucky to experience that!

          Have you read Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne?  best description of this last-to-be-explored wilderness in the lower 48.  

           My best memories of Clovis are from Running Water Draw once when there was actually RUNNING WATER!!! and Sarah and I stripped down to our undies and rode frisbees down the little stream!  And a night out partying on some alley when we turned around and the full moon was just clearing the horizon,   and we were so stoned and so blessed by la luna that we were just speechless with wonderment.  

          Just goes to show that wonderment can happen anywhere.  

          •  Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was (0+ / 0-)

            almost seven.

            When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my  eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth.  The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood.  She took my hand, and the silent, magic powers she possessed made beauty from the raw, sun-baked llano, the green river valley, and the blue bowl which was the white sun's home.  My bare feet felt the throbbing earth and my body trembled with excitement.  Time stood still, and it shared with me all that had been, and all that was to come....
            the beginning of Bless Me, Ultima,  by Rudolfo Anaya.
  •  Love the "anthropology" (9+ / 0-)

    approach!  I got the hell out of my small PA town upon graduation in 1986 and resolved to stay away until our 25th reunion.  It seemed like a good amount of time to get a true idea of how everyone turned out.  It also gave me a few years to replace my former geeky awkwardness with confidence and style!

    Last fall I made good on that resolution and drove up to PA.  Walking into a ballroom full of people I hadn't seen in 25 years took a LOT of deep breathing exercises.  I did it anyway.

    The next thing I knew, I was sharing a table with four stunning women who looked exactly like my long-lost childhood chums, only grown up.  (We'd gone to grade school together as well & met when we were all 6.)

    We all kept sneaking looks at each other and cracking up because it was so crazy.  Yes, there was wine involved.  A photo later turned up on FB of me wearing multiple leis and dancing with a Catholic priest in full attire (my old band buddy.)

    Aside of that, I was surprised over and over by the folks who grew up to be nothing like they were in high school.  A couple of really fun guys are now local GOP reps.  The salutatorian developed Born On 3rd Base, Thinks Hit Triple Syndrome after inheriting the family business.  She's Rmoney in REAL "mom jeans."

    The other fascinating thing is how many of us women went into two fields: teaching and health care.  We have several K-12 teachers, a principal, a college dean and a guidance counselor.  Also a bunch of nurses, a dentist, pharmacist, rad tech, and nursing home administrator.  

    Have fun!  It's just one night, and if nothing else it will be interesting :D

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 03:54:08 PM PDT

  •  went to my 10th in 1994 and learned 2 things: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid, varro, raincrow

    1. Most had grown up into normal human beings
    2. I really had nothing in common with them as most had stayed put

    well, 3 things:

    3.  Kansas City MO, is beyond boring, and I will never return for any reason except for maybe lunch at Stroud's

    "Hey Joe Walsh, when did you stop deadbeating your wife?"

    by wretchedhive on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 05:00:40 PM PDT

    •  thanks for the insight... (0+ / 0-)

      kc, mo beyond boring? i swear, we gotcha beat! i'd bet cash money! (lolz).

      actually, it's quite sad. the town used to a have a few places for fun...they've all eventually closed down (except for the bowling alley).

      my heart broke when they closed the only bookstore in town.

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:16:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do like your library.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wretchedhive, raincrow, shesaid

      ....much more than Portland, and the Plaza district is the right way to do an upscale urban area rather than the yuppie ghetto known as the Pearl.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:06:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just went to my 30th. I grew up on Long Island. (7+ / 0-)

    Our class was about 300 people and compared to my class yours seems like a multi-cultural nirvana. We had one black kid (who was part of some kind of a foster home in town).
    He was not just the only black kid in our graduating class, he was the only one in our whole school.

    We had maybe 3 or 4 Asians and perhaps a couple of hispanics, I honestly don't remember.

    We have lots of ridiculously right wing people (as I can see on facebook), but some of them tend annoy me less than others folks I haven't know as long.

    There are some right wingers that just aren't all that bright.  If  you know someone who wasn't that bright in the 3rd grade, its a little easier to understand why they get sucked into nonsense now.

    Luckily for me the really hard right wingers I know didn't show up. Politics didn't really come up at all that night. I talked to some folks more than others, but never felt uncomfortable even with people I didn't like in HS.

    Go and have fun. Don't let anyone but you control your mood... ..... drinking heavily couldn't hurt. I  was lucky to stay in a hotel close by that I didn't have to drive to.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 05:31:56 PM PDT

    •  interesting... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio

      i always thought that the east and west coast areas were so much more diverse. the thought that we would be more multi-cultural makes me chuckle.

      i checked the rsvp list. practically everyone attending has shown themselves to be far right-wing.

      you mentioned their intelligence (or lack thereof). one thing that frustrates me to no end is the lazy spelling and grammatical errors most of these people make. (your/you're, to/too, etc.) we had the same education, yet they couldn't grasp such simple things? wtf...

      thanks for your comments. (we'll be staying at a motel nearby, mainly for the swimming pool).

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:29:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  East coast - Boston area (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Carol in San Antonio, shesaid

        Very little diversity back in the 60s and 70s, except right in Boston and a couple of the larger cities in MA.

        The local HS (in a mostly blue collar city of approx 60K population) where I grew up graduated 3000 kids a year.  Back in 70-71, I think we had 1 or 2 black kids, and a few more hispanic.   Now there are more than 52 languages spoken as a primary language at home that are not English.

        That to/too, your/you're and there/their/they're thing bothers me too.

        I went to my 10 year reunion.  It was OK.  I decided it just was not worth giving up a weekend to travel back there for any others.  Our 40th was held recently (though I did not go), and I did get 'friended' on FB by a number of my classmates.  It appears most are fairly conservative in their politics, so I have relegated them to a group that mostly does not see my posts.  Maybe I will think about going to my 50th, but only if it does not inconvenience me.

        I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

        by DamselleFly on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 04:14:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I too graduated in 1982 (4+ / 0-)

    It is sad that this depression has ravaged  a good number of people my age, yet still they cling to the myth of Reagan, as fiercely as others with JFK or older ones with FDR.  I have good friends who never gave up their inner Alex Keaton, nevermind we grew up on the twilight of the mass American manufacturing,watching those jobs disappear, but still those of my age embrace Reaganomics even though the great cathedral of St. Ronnie is collapsing because the foundations are rotten.

    One does not simply walk into Mordor! One invites a gas driller in, and one’s land becomes Mordor. Chris From Balloon Juice

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 06:19:54 PM PDT

  •  I wanted to go to our 50th year class reunion (10+ / 0-)

    and even had vivid dreams as I recalled going up and down stairs and how the beautiful wood banisters felt on the stairs. Sadly, I was unable to go due to illness in the family.

    I went to a very large high school. It has been called one of the most beautiful public schools in the nation. It was built in 1927, and the magnificent architecture spoke to me in a visceral fashion.  When I go to our web page, I am reminded of my own mortality, because almost half our class are now gone.

    Some of the kids I went to school with did not live to graduate.  Others went on to greatness.  One was a Cy Young award winner. Others excelled in other sports and literature.  One became a mystic and healer.  One of my best friends has been nominated for a Nobel Prize.  Another is on that terrible and beautiful black wall in Washington, DC.  Most lived rather ordinary lives, like the rest of us.

    1957 is not the year I graduated, but the Statler Brothers song, Class of '57 has always spoken to me.  The lyrics of the song speak a deep truth, even more so as the years pass.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:02:14 PM PDT

    •  Kurt Vonnegut once said that song (4+ / 0-)

      should be the national anthem. Said he could picture everyone wiping their eyes at the line

      "Where Mavis finally wound up is anybody's bet."

      Sometimes a .sig is just a .sig

      by rhubarb on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:31:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you, otteray! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, marina, SteelerGrrl

      you should know, you're one of my faves here-posts like this are one reason why.

      recently, they remodeled and expanded the high school. there used to be a big tree in the front. we drove by one day, and the tree had been uprooted to make room...i started crying.

      thank you for the song-so appropriate!

      take care.

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 09:38:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My daugther's high school facade was remodeled. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, SuWho, shesaid, SteelerGrrl

        It had a lovely and peaceful covered walkway out front and to get to the front door, you had to go by a little park-like atrium. There were numerous small trees. They tore all that out to build a driveway for the buses.  Now the front is a plain wall with an ordinary door that could be right at home on any small factory in the industrial park.  She no longer drives past the school because she hates what they have done to it.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:09:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes--played that MANY times on the ol' 8-track! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SteelerGrrl

      I always liked that one and "Road Hog and the Cadillac Cowboys"....

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:57:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pure awesome (0+ / 0-)

      don't know how I've never heard this -- definitely a keeper!

       I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by SteelerGrrl on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:46:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck (5+ / 0-)

    I graduated from a HS in Dallas, certainly not part of the in crowd.  Just a quiet geeky kid.  I moved away after HS and came back for the 10th reunion, apparently the class bully had died just a few weeks earlier.  This punk had managed to set up a small oil patch leasing firm and had done well.  The entire event seemed to be about him, his posse was there and his widow (not a classmate) gave a speech about him.  That was 30 years ago, I haven't been back since (haven't lived within 500 miles since then either).

    My wife went to HS in Ft. Worth.  Highly stratified school, multimillionaire kids, kids from normal homes, farm kids and Air Force brats.  The AF kids were the only thing that kept her from the bottom of the barrel. She's never gone to a reunion.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:30:44 PM PDT

  •  I'm struggling with attending my reunion, too. (5+ / 0-)

    There were only 200 or so in my graduating class in rural Arkansas. The school was about 30 minutes away from a town of 30,000.  It was heavily dominated by football culture despite a dismal 0-12 record my senior year, mostly attended by fundamentalistand southern baptist churchgoers, not much concerned with academic excellence - the algebra classes were taught by a football coach who couldn't teach math to me (I passed with a D from him. I later earned an A in college level algebra), and the most heavily promoted non-sports organization was the FFA (future farmers of america).  Me?  I was a Trekkie who moved in from California who always had my nose stuck in a book, knew every Asimov and Heinlein novel by heart, was goth before I even knew there was such as thing as being goth, was moderately but visibly disabled and was Catholic. Was I an outsider? You betcha! I was told to stop using so many complicated words when I talked. I rarely dated and mostly hung around with the few friends I had in Band, one guy whose father worked with mine and a Vietnamese kid down the street who became a close friend.  He died of cancer when he and I were 21 so he's not gonna be there.

    High school was horribly depressing. I was so damned glad to get out at 17 when I became a freshman in college.

    I don't know if I'd want to spend $50 admission plus $20 in gas for the chance to relive that.

    •  i can so much relate! (4+ / 0-)

      the religion of football (and the coaches who couldn't teach), and FFA (and 4H)...

      the fact that i was always told i didn't speak like i came from here because i used 'big words' and enunciated. (credit to my mom, who made sure i didn't say goin'-there's a g there-use it!). and i always had a book in hand. my mom tells the story of me sitting with them in the stands at the football games, totally oblivious to the raw cheering because i had brought my book :)

      so you were a band nerd too? I was for awhile (flute), but later focused on choir. but even though i was an award-winning singer, i still didn't get the lead in the musical (funny how a parent contributing $ to the choir association can influence a decision such as that).

      sorry that those years caused you so much pain. no doubt, i would have been your friend. i was always attracted to the other outliers.

      i sympathize w/ your conflicted feelings about your reunion. it wasn't an easy decision for me, either. wish i lived close to you. i'd be your date and we'd have a blast!

      peace.

      'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

      by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:18:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No offense, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid, Carol in San Antonio

    You're over-analyzing the situation.  If you're looking for an anthropological study, you've come to the wrong place.

    Yes reunions can be strange - but as the  years go by, they actually (for me anyway) have become something to look forward to.  The 30 year mark is just about wheneveryone drops the pretense and just enjoys the event for what it's supposed to be.

    Go.  Have fun.  Report back :)

  •  WOW! You just described my predicament perfectly (5+ / 0-)

    I'm also a 1982 HS grad from a small Texas town. My town is in east Texas and the rightwing dominates there as well. I left over 20 yrs ago when Texas had a progressive woman governer. My, have things changed!
    I, like you, have done the Facebook debates. I've been called every name in the book.  I suppose some of it will be there when I go to my reunion.

    Good luck!

    •  Facebook "debates" (0+ / 0-)

      are easy.  Calling people names is much more difficult when you're face to face with them, especially if others are present.  

      One of my two most pugnacious FB conservative classmates completely ignored me at our 25th reunion last year.  Not a problem; she'd never been friendly unless she thought someone could score her some beer.  The other was totally cool in person -- we have similar artistic interests and had a great conversation.  Politics never came up.

      Some of it may be there at your reunion, but it's equally likely there will be a pleasant surprise or two.  Best wishes!

       I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by SteelerGrrl on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 04:04:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My 30 year is next month (5+ / 0-)

    I'm on the fence about going. I only live 10 miles from where I grew up and I don't keep in contact with a single one of the 500 people I graduated with. I run into someone every now and then, and there's facebook, but I don't maintain any sort of relationships with them.

    I went to my 10 year, and my 20 year, and it seemed like most people were still hanging in the same cliques as high school. I was sort of a geeky stoner, so I didn't really have a clique. I wasn't popular and pretty much stayed under the radar. It was a white bread suburb, upper middle class. Most people's parents worked for Boeing or owned their own businesses. Most of my classmates were working for Boeing or Microsoft at the 10 year reunion.

    Frankly, the only reason I'd really consider spending $86 for a reception buffet and no host bar is to satisfy my curiosity and show everyone that this geeky stoner has made a successful life and still weighs 115 lbs. That just seems too shallow.

  •  These Comments Make Me Want to Attend Mine (11+ / 0-)

    I grew up in a little university town in the rural midwest, class of 1969.  I participated in everything except sports, including student government.  Looking back now, I realize that all my friends were professors' kids.  I was one of the town's rich kids and graduated second in my class of 267.  I was popular.

    But I was also deeply in the closet and was living a lie, scared to death that my gayness would be discovered and that everyone I knew would reject me.  I dated the hottest girl in school, who knew my secret and loved me all the more for it -- the perfect cover.

    I escaped to an ivy league school that was still male-only so that no one would ask why I did not date girls.  (Foolish me.  the school was awash in women seeking their MRS degrees every weekend.)

    I eventually got my law degree, established a successful practice in San Francisco, built a legal software and education company that freed me to do anything I want in life, but the one thing I could never bring myself to do was to return to my home town to attend a reunion.

    Now, thanks to my mother, who continues to live in my home town and who passes on all the gossip, I have discovered that that there were several gay and lesbian students just like me, including several friends, and many more who have become surprisingly wonderful people living interesting lives all over the country.  

    They don't attend the reunions either.

    These comments have changed my mind.  I want to know what became of the people I knew, for good or ill, liberal or wingnut.  My home town and the kids I grew up with are part of who I am.  As I read these comments, I realized I miss them.

    I don't Facebook but my mother keeps me informed enough that I can contact every non-attender like me to attend our next reunion en masse.  

    As for politics, there is no time better than breaking bread together to break down barriers, including my own.  

  •  thank you to whomever rescued this (2+ / 0-)

    to 'community spotlight' and also, to whomever added more tags (words, was that you?).

    i can't keep my eyes open any longer, and i still haven't gotten to respond to all the insightful, supportive comments. if i have time tomorrow, i will.

    thank you, all.

    'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

    by shesaid on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:45:59 PM PDT

  •  I have 25 next year.... (4+ / 0-)

    ....and always look forward to them.

    10 was OK....but still, people were kind of tentative and finding themselves, so to speak.

    The planning for 20 started with a page on ning, and the planning group used a "find anyone" site to find almost everyone in the class and notify them.  People were popping up on the site every day in late 2007 and early 2008, and most of them came over to Facebook close to the reunion time.

    One person was a religious spammer, and he was roundly ignored, and political pie fights were strongly discouraged.  

    We had the reunion in September 2008 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh (we had the place on a Saturday night from 8 to 2), and it was a huge success.  The cliquishness and fear of going outside one's group had disappeared, and nobody in either the high or perceived lower cliques could be identified as such - everyone had their own families, careers, and worries that far overshadowed any perceived superiority or inferiority of 20 years ago.

    Demographics:  530 or so in the graduating class, maybe 15 black students, with some social integration (2 of my 3 closest friends were black - one I met in middle school and was my football teammate; the other transferred in and joined our group in his junior year).  One (1!) Hispanic student, and two (2!) Asian students, who were integrated into their own interest groups (one a jock, the other a science-oriented student).  

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:48:21 PM PDT

  •  Class of '82 rocks! (4+ / 0-)

    (except for that half-term AK governor that makes us all look worse...why'd she have to be from our year?)

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right. I'm riding in the Tour de Cure. You can donate here.

    by darthstar on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:10:24 PM PDT

  •  Same story here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio, shesaid

    South Texas, class of '70.  Same slurs, but the ruling Anglos were and are in the minority.  
    Our freshman class had 150 kids, but we only graduated 94.
    Thankfully my parents moved away and I no longer had any reason to go back.  
    I've had to unfriend several former classmates because they relentlessly "shared" the same tea party crap over and over.  

  •  me too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio, shesaid
    These people showed me when I was growing up, but I didn’t want to believe them. I do now.
    amen
  •  You could not PAY me to go to my HS reunion. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:12:05 AM PDT

  •  Stranger in a strange land. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid, SteelerGrrl

    That's a great coping strategy for your reunion -- "to conduct an ethnographic study of sorts."  I've spent my entire life doing that.

    I went to my 20th HS reunion in 1984 and have declined all others since.  I coped with that one by imbibing a modest dose of marijuana before I went in.  It was OK... there was the expected mix of sellouts, assholes, and church mice.  My most fascinating observation:  I could instantly recognize the handful who had self-actualized since high school.

    We have a universal problem, unfortunately:  as most people age, their personalities become more deeply imbedded and even more extreme.  Which is why most older white Americans are so conservative.  No wonder I didn't have anything in common with them back then!

  •  wow! your story is hauntingly familiar to me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid, SteelerGrrl

    I, too was adopted, grew up in a small southern town (in Mississippi) & was shocked at who the ppl I grew up with, are now. Fb has shown me so much abt these ppl. It terrifies me that those ppl are now the leaders of the town. Good luck at the reunion. I look forward to the insights your investigations reveal.

  •  Mine's this summer as well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    I can't understand why anyone would want to go to one. The few friends I have from that time, I still see or speak to regularly. The rest are complete strangers and hold no interest for me. Nothing negative about them, but why would one bother to pay to spend time with them?

    I went to all my elementary and high school in the same town with the same people. I sincerely doubt that I am missing out on not seeing what they have become as adults. It was fairly obvious at the time. Perhaps, some of them broke the mold and became different than expected. I have missed out on meeting Stephen Hawking in my life and will survive not seeing the surprise change that may have occurred in one of my classmates in the last 30 years. I'm willing to take the risk and save the $60 they want to attend the reunion. I only know that much from one of my friends who is on Facebook and in touch with the reunion committee.

  •  Growing up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    I graduated in a very small town high school in Redneck Central California. I graduated in 1975. There were two things there that are like religion.
    - football
    - hunting
    I cannot deny what I am. Nor can I deny where I came from. I went to my 15 year reunion awhile back. I did not go to another one. The 15 year was OK, since it was on neutral ground (Harris Ranch). The others were too close to the school.

    I vowed I would never step foot on the school grounds as long as I live. I have pretty much kept that vow.

    The folks are not bad ... they are all grown up now, and leading pretty normal lives as far as I can tell.

    From what I can tell, you and I have a lot in common ... at least in our backgrounds now.

    No more gooper LITE!

    by krwada on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:41:03 PM PDT

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