30 Years Ago

It’s June 4, 1987. Synthesizers were flooding the airwaves. Gasoline cost .96 cents a gallon. (We were so modern and crazy.) Fluorescent clothes were all the rage. We seniors in high school were finally going to be free of these four walls we considered prison. The day had arrived. It seemed like it took forever!

I attended the post graduation party at the recreation center. We were signing yearbooks for the last time. Saying our last goodbyes to dear friends, and happy to be rid of some. I was free! The world was laid at my feet. High school was ending, and the dream was becoming real. 

I wrote myself a letter to be opened in the future with a Polaroid. (That was an instant picture you shook to develop.) The letter I penned to myself was a lot about boys! (I guess that’s what I was frequently thinking about.) I thought the guy I was with was the ultimate one. (Not so.) I was excited about college and a scholarship I won. (It didn’t last long enough.) Family was another thing high on my list. I was so amazed at how our family was growing. I had seven nieces and nephews that I was so proud of. (Now it’s 23 with 26 of their kids.) I remembered watching the Monkees reruns everyday at 4:00 with them while we ate Otter Pops! Life was just beginning. I thought I knew it all, but truly I was so naive.

I met my husband shortly after this. He was the one! We went to college together. I got my dream job! (At the time) We got married. (Yay!) We played. Kids came. (Ahh.) School was put on hold. Much happiness and hard times followed while we raised a family and dealt with the blows. (Kids and cows will bring those.) I look back now after 30 years. What did I acheive? Was it enough? I know I’m not finished, but I’m doing a lot of introspection. Did I accomplish all I thought I would?

My 30 year class reunion was a few days ago. After much convincing from various people, I decided to attend (with my wonderful husband.) I was curious most of all. Were these people different somehow? I had a great high school experience, but I was past the whole drama-filled production. I am not living all these years through those high school glory days like some people. I am not that outgoing extroverted life of the party anymore. Unwarranted attention is not what I wanted. What would they think of me now?

My sister did my hair and makeup, I was ready mentally. We entered through the back. Everyone looked. A few that didn’t know were confused and shocked. I am sure much hushed intergroup talking was happening. I cried a few times, but I held my own quite a bit more of the time. Some sweet friends and some acquaintances rushed up to wish me well and offer a hug. I know they meant well, but they all said about the same thing, “You’re doing great, hang in there, you’re are fighter.” I so wanted to stand up and be part of the group, normal, not an invalid being rolled around! I didn’t want to be pitied. I guarantee I’m walking into the 40th year reunion!

A little program was presented. Who came the farthest? Who lives the closest? Who had the most kids? Who had the oldest kids? (I won that one! Well out of who was there. Zack is 25!) They read the names of people who were no longer with us on earth. That was difficult for me. I was so overwhelmingly glad I wasn’t on there! (I so easily could have been!) Memories were shared of those deceased classmates. What memory would they have shared of me?

I wished I knew each of their life stories. So many experiences were in that room. So many life lessons learned. I know it would’ve taken forever, but I wanted to go around and share life’s experiences. I talked to many, but each one was with too quick of a passing, “Hey, how are ya?” 

Time is the great equalizer. It was amazing to see people from different high school social groups. Ones who would have never been seen together for a million bucks, now are hugging, laughing, and posing for pictures. It just didn’t matter anymore. Every person was sincerely glad to see the other. We all started from this place. High school was our commonality.

I did make good use of these thirty years. I may not have tons of diplomas or a fancy house on the hill, but I have six wonderful kids, an amazing husband, awesome friends, and I possess many years worth of life experiences (sprinkled with memories) to help me on my way. 

“I wanna be forever young…”

I am dead center.

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