This past week has been a rendition of my Fresno church friends exclaiming, "You're only 27?!?" When I shared that my ten-year high school reunion was happening, they did the math and it shattered the mass illusion that I am in my mid 30's.
I will be fortunate enough to experience this twice as I graduated from a public high school but spent my freshman and sophomore years in a home school program. The home school group is having their reunion in June. But my public school had theirs last Friday.
I was on the fence about attending this one. I hadn't kept in touch with anyone from that high school, aside from a couple teachers. I didn't remember many of my relationships being that significant. But it became a I'll regret it if I don't go, so I went.
I went through my yearbooks in the days beforehand, and was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of amazingly complimentary signings in regard to being a nice person, a Christian, a good student, a good friend, etc. I didn't think I had been an unkind or miserable person, but somehow I had developed this idea that I had been extremely shy and withdrawn to where no one knew me, and to where I had little-to-no impact on my classmates.
I took Friday off work, and was pleasantly surprised by being able to leave work on Thursday at 2 p.m.
It was nothing like what I expected. I think I was one of the few coming in from out-of-town. I saw several people I recognized: some friends, some acquaintances. There were many people I was sad to realize hadn't attended, but everyone makes their choices about these events. There were several people whom I had no memory of from high school.
The reunion had a casino night theme. I went over the blackjack table, and exchanged the play seed money ($500) I had been given for chips. I was about a breakeven player. I rarely busted, but usually I'd stay and the dealer would end up with a higher count. And I would watch the next hit after me and note that the next card more-often-than-not would have busted my hand.
Where I shined, however, was in the dealer's quiz. He was only using one deck of cards and shuffling it every hand. He would tell us to watch the aces. After he had collected all the played cards to a discard pile, he'd ask each player how many aces were left in the unused deck in his hand. If you got that right, he gave each correct player a $100 chip. The other guys and occasional girl at the table were mediocre to terrible at this per-hand quiz. I batted a thousand, including one hand where he thought I was wrong but rechecked his hand, and subsequently handed me a chip.
The chips ended up being exchanged for raffle tickets ($100 for 1 ticket) for prizes donated or purchased for the event. I had 21 tickets, but unfortunately, no winners.
The rest of the night was mingling and dancing. Christina, the class president, dragged me and a few others onto the dance floor. I'm grateful for all the times I've been pulled out onto a dance floor for contemporary (or hip-hop?) dancing in the past so I didn't feel too self-conscious. I've come to realize that as much as I like order and structure, there is no pattern to this style of dance, and all that is required is a series of ridiculous movements in some seemingly random order. Now that I've accepted this, I feel generally comfortable out on the dance floor because I don't look any more ridiculous than anyone else out there.
I stayed until about midnight, and then got on the road for home, because I had a 10K to run in Fresno at 8 a.m.
All in all, our class officers did an amazing job putting this together. I'm grateful for an awesome night of memories!
A high school reunion is an interesting phenomenon: an opportunity to revisit a pivotal time in your adolescence. As I speak to so many friends today, most either loved or hated high school (the majority having hated it). Very few express ambivalence. I count myself blessed to be one of those who loved high school.