Monday, January 27, 2014

Twenty Year...Wait, What?!

A friend of mine from Facebook land is pretty consistent with her Throwback Thursday posts.  Oh, how I do enjoy having friends who don't take themselves so seriously that they can take us with them down memory lane, scrunchies, perms, and all.  One day some of us were feeling supportive of her and didn't want her to wallow alone in the tears of our laughter, so we ponied up our worst on her thread to show our sisterly solidarity....though most of us were strangers.  That's how it works.

That picture of me, however, just like the pictures of all of us...were pretty serious business at some point in history.  Mine?  I was sixteen years old.  SIXTEEN. YEARS. OLD. And it was my Senior picture.  WTF?

I don't know if this should be more embarrassing for me (then or now) or Ralph Lauren and/or the entire United States of America (then or now) but my with the monstrosity that our athletes are to only wear inside the official Olympic village and nowhere else, lest they be assaulted.  Yes.  Obviously.  Anyone, anywhere would beat someone up for wearing that outfit.  I would beat up my OWN kid for wearing that outfit.  I'm joking.  I wouldn't let my kid wear that outfit.  I'd make him drop out of the Olympics.

Red, White, and Bluetiful.
What's Black and White
Permy all over?

Lucky for the world that I'm taken and that MY sweater is long gone because can you say "POWER COUPLE"?  Kidding, again.  He's probably what?  Nineteen?  And he looks humiliated, like when you put a sweater on a dog that's just not that into it.

Unlucky for him this pic is gonna haunt him for a long time.  Like mine did.  First willingly when I was being a good sport, then, when I joined a lovely group of ladies planning out our 20th class reunion.

Urk.  Just typing that out makes my throat swell up.  Da hubs had his last year, which was fine because there were like 29 people in his class, they feel like family, and, well....he's OLD.  This is getting personal.  And there's like 330 give or take from my class.

This group has been fluid and flexible, opening up the "committee" to whomever cares to show up at the posted venue at the posted time, allowing decisions to be made by the majority showing up there and putting some things to a vote on a Facebook group wall, and somehow organized with the help of one amazingly together lady who doesn't even live here.  I've missed all but the last meeting because of our crazy home schedule, but I finally made it to one, to scan through our yearbook and through the list of names of classmates we had yet to reach to see if we could, as a little group, get our feelers out a little wider than before.
This giant group reaching far and wide that we could barely get our minds around, let alone our arms around.  We even tried to fit them neatly into the categories we knew they never belonged in to begin with, attempting to bully the one "cowgirl" at the table to track down anyone wearing a cowboy hat in their picture.  We laughed, acknowledging that the labels of high school didn't fit then and didn't define us as people any more than the jobs or spouses we have define us now.

It stymies me what twenty years will do to a group of that size, blowing us the 4 directions of the wind, making us parents, grandparents, married 20 years to one person, divorced, remarried, still single, sinners, saints, and angels.  We've had tragedy, success, love, loss, and laughter.  We've stayed together, lost touch, reconnected, remembered, and forgotten.  We are graying, coloring, balding, fat, skinny, angry, happy, confused, and content.

As we flipped through the pages I began to wonder whether the publisher just made up some of the names or whether I had actually attended school with these people at all.  There were faces I knew but their names I did not.  Names I had heard but faces my eyes had never seen.  It was obvious what twenty years had done to me.  It had turned my brain into my Grandma's.  The one that doesn't know anyone.

When you see reunion scenes in movies or on TV, there's always the lady sitting at a table passing out name tags, and she's the only who seems to remember everyone, right?  No.  I realize now it's only because, through the planning process, she reacquainted her brain with everyone that she SEEMS to remember everyone, but I know now that lady is just like me, humped over a hardback full of black and whites, thinking "Who the hell is this?  Did this guy REALLY go to school with us?  He looks FORTY...look...he has a full-on moustache.  He must have been the janitor."

We apparently didn't do a great job distinguishing our foreign exchange students either, because we integrated them so well we had to just go off "memory" for which ones they were, and I, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings or purport to know how they'd like to spend their summer holiday, suggested that we SHOULD, in fact, send an invite to Spain. I might NOT have been the most helpful person at the table, obviously.  I also mistook alive persons for dead persons and vice-versa.  However, I would never make a definitive declarative statement without validation first.  Like, you know...obituary level verification.  You have to admit though....zipping through your mental Rolodex for 330 people you may or may not have seen for 20 years when you may or may not be able to remember the names of your maybe or maybe not three children that may or may not be yours is....difficult.

In all, progress was made, assignments given, and fun....yes fun was had.  I'm happy that I had the opportunity to share in this stage of what's "officially" just a weekend later this year but is really extending, for me at least, into more than that.  To dip my toe slowly back into the hot tub time machine, so that perhaps by the time the summer rolls around, I may be the crazy lady who hands you a name tag and knows who you are.

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