Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Can't Believe It's Been 20 Years!

This past weekend, I attended my first high school reunion -- the 20th. No matter how many times I see that number, it doesn't seem possible that it's been 20 years since I marched into my high school gym to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance." A lot has happened since then. I got a college degree, I worked for many years full time in the journalism field, I got married, I moved to a different state, I traveled to or through 41 states, and I've managed to get three of my books published so far. Despite all the accomplishments, part of my less confident younger self emerged in the days leading up to the reunion. I was looking forward to it, to seeing friends I hadn't seen in awhile, but I wondered how people would react to each other. Would they pick up where they left off? Would they naturally gravitate toward who they'd been friends with in high school? Were the people who were at odds then still be that way?

I needn't have worried. Yes, there was some of the gravitating toward the people you'd been closest to in high school, but that makes sense. While I spent time with most people there and really enjoyed the fact that the whole clique thing seemed to have disappeared, I hung out most with my closest friends from back then. In fact, I'm still in contact with them 20 years after we took our diplomas and left our small hometown. I can't mention everyone, so I'm just going to focus on three.

There was Allison, who has been my good friend longer than anyone. We became best friends in 5th grade after being in Girl Scouts together the previous couple of years. I spent an enormous amount of time at her house once we got to middle school since her house was literally two lots from the school. Allison got me through trigonometry in high school, the only class I ever got a C in. It killed my aspirations of being valedictorian, but that's okay because Allison ended up earning that honor. She and I roomed together for a semester in college before she moved to the dorm where most of the music majors lived. (She's an oboe player.) That's Allison on the right in the photo.

The gal in the middle is Kristy, who became the third part of our trio when we got to 7th grade. At the time, the county still had more than one elementary school and she'd gone to one of the ones out in the county while Allison and I went to the school in town. But the smaller schools only went to 6th grade, so we all ended up in middle school together. We were in many of the same classes, clubs, etc. As we moved into high school, we'd go to ballgames together, get ready for dances at Allison's house, and have slumber parties at Allison's house in town or on Kristy's farm. I remember sitting back and watching them practice for marching band (Kristy played flute and later was the flag captain). Kristy became my second roommate in college, for a year and a half until she moved off campus.

They both have three kids now. I like to joke that they each had an extra one for me since I have none. :)

Another good friend in high school was Kim. She lived on the other side of the county, and we'd do things like go horseback riding (at which I was dismal, falling off the animal onto my head the one and only time I attempted to ride with her) or four-wheeling through the mud and creeks. Kim and I walked together at graduation (that's us in the top photo on graduation night), and unfortunately afterward we fell out of touch with each other. Through the wonders of Facebook, we reconnected. She has two adorable daughters now, one of whom looks a lot like her. Kim's mom owns a flower shop in town and did the flower arrangements for the reunion dinner.

The reunion was actually three days of activities. On Friday night, we were supposed to tailgate at the high school homecoming football game. But since the game was canceled because the other team had to forfeit (they got in a big fight with another team the previous week), we ended up having a cookout and eating in our old high school cafeteria. I don't think I'd been in that room since the night I graduated. Some people were easily recognizable as they walked in; others not so much. I kept having to ask Kim who people were. We took a tour of the school. Some things looked the same; even one of the teachers is still there. But there was a new annex, which included a very nice computer lab with big Mac computers. Way better than the Commodore 64 computers we had back in the day. :) There was also a new arena where the basketball games are played, though we did walk through the old gym. Still smelled the same as it did 20 years ago. LOL! And it was funny to see the kids of classmates playing with each other just like their parents did years ago.

The next night was the official dinner at the country club. At one point, we all introduced ourselves, told what we did for a living, if we were married, how many kids, etc. It was interesting to hear what people ended up doing -- teachers, chemical plant workers, lots of nurses, a prison guard, a state trooper, and a variety of other occupations. Only three of us didn't have any kids. The rest had anywhere from one to four.

Sunday morning, one of our classmates who is now a minister preached a service, but I headed home instead of driving back into town for it since I was staying in the next county. I heard it was a nice service though.

Even though the reunion is behind me now, I still can't believe it's been 20 years. I hope the next 20 years don't fly by quite so quickly.

So, have you ever been to a high school reunion? What was it like? Were people the same? Different?


Virginia said...


limecello said...

lol congrats on the GR, Virginia!

:X Er... I'll just be quiet since I haven't had a hs reunion yet...

Virginia said...

I went to my fifth high school reunion, but I haven't been to any more! I can tell you its been a lot longer then 20 years for me. Shall we say my 35 was last year! I just received an invitation to a party for our class that's in November but I am not sure just yet as to weather I will go. My close friends from school I still see every now and then and they haven't changed that much, just older.

Joan said...

Virginia and the GR just had THEIR reunion...awwww..

Dear Lord...we did not even HAVE computers when I was in HS! We DID however trade in our stone tablets for the big Texas Instrument calculators :-)

I've been to exactly TWO. My 10 yr and {hand over mouth to muffle} gulp...25 year.

The first was eye opening when...after not seeing one of the girls I had hung out with since graduation, I heard "Joan!" turned around and about choked to friend had a frigging moustache!!!!! Not on purpose I'm sure but whoa....

The last one I was DRAGGED friend and our hair stylist called me on the phone and INSISTED I go....that she'd do my hair for free.

Ok fine.

Ended up that.....I looked better than the majority of the class and got to laugh at the two loser guys who OBVIOUSLY had hired two ladies of the evening to be their dates.

Like Virginia, I see everybody I want to see from HS and since those years were ones of teenage angst and self esteem issues...I don't need to go back.

But I'm sure glad yours turned out so great, Trish...I bet you were the ONLY romance/YA fiction writer in the bunch!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Virginia! You got the bird for the day. Keep him in line, now!

Hey Trish, what a fun post. I've not been back to any of my reunions. My college ones seem to fall on the same weekend as my infamous Halloween party, so...hey, can't miss that even for old college buddies. :>

High school? Uh-uh, no way. Hated high school. Moved to a new town in a new state in the middle of winter in my 9th grade year. Can you say OUTSIDER? Ha! All I ever wanted to do was Get. Out.

It sounds like a ton of fun though. And I did go to one of my DH's reunions. It was so fun to see people recognize one another. There's that sideways glance then. "OMGosh it IS you!" sort of thing. Too fun. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, and on a connected note to your friend (pun intended), I had played fiddle/violin in my previous school's orchestra. My new school did not HAVE an orchestra so they said, "Here, play the oboe for the rest of the year so you can get the credit."

Yeah. The two instruments are SO similar...

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Lime, does that mean you're a youngun? :) Do not make me feel like an old lady.

Virginia, the reunion might be fun.

Joan, LOL on those crazy reunion stories! You know, that's why I had some nervousness about going to mine -- the angst and self-esteem issues. I was a much different person back then, and I didn't want to revert, ya know? But it was actually...healing in a way. I had a great time catching up with people I hadn't seen in so long. Kristy, Allison, Kim, and a couple of other people are the only ones I keep in anything resembling regular contact with. Well, until we all started finding each other on Facebook. We even have a page for our class. It'll be interesting to see if it gets much traffic now that the planning for the reunion is over.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Jeanne, I can't imagine being the new kid. I went to school in the same small town all 12 years before going off to college.

LOL on the violin to oboe transition. Hello, one is a wind and one is a string. Our school didn't have orchestra. We had a small marching band which turned into a small concert band after football season was over. And by small, I mean something like 20-30 people max. Of course, there were only something like 480 students in the whole school.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Okay, peeps, it's going on 1 a.m., so I'm hitting the hay. Will check back with you all in the morning.

Donna MacMeans said...

Yay Virginia - Looks like the GR will be on the move.

I've never been to a high school reunion. I moved to a different state in sixth grade which meant I was to forever considered an outsider (small school). I had no wish to go back at first, esp as it would have meant a five hour drive. Now I'd like to attend one but they are no longer held. My high school no longer exists so I guess that's apropos.

My husband changed schools his senior year in high school and thus never really felt like part of the school he graduated from. We never went to reunions on his side either. Oh well. Glad yours turned out so well, Trish.

Pissenlit said...

Nope, never been. As far as I know, there's only been one and I wasn't technically invited. Guess they didn't have any contact info for me. I found out about it through a friend who apparently got an email. We talked about it and both decided that neither of us felt like forking over 50$ to spend an evening with people we didn't care enough about to stay in touch with. Actually from what I understood, it wasn't even only for our year.

jo robertson said...

Good memories, good times, Trish. Great post!

I've only been to two high school reunions, one my 25th. The other one was my husband's reunion. His was super. I really enjoyed getting to know people he'd been friends with in high school, hearing all the trouble he got into. Very interesting.

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia have fun with him

Trish what a lovely post and you certainly had lots of fun. The only school reunion that I have been to was a 20 year one and It was fantastic catching up with old friends and hearing what they were doing their jobs and families. There hasn't been another one and it is now 36 years since I left school (I am getting old LOL). Ours was just one night a dinner in a club but we never got home till really early hours the next morning,I do hope there will be another one.

Have Fun

Tawny said...

Trish, your reunion looks like it was so fun. And what great pictures!!! Have I mentioned lately that I love your haircut?

As for me, nope, no way on the reunions. I hated high school and have gone out of my way to avoid attending any reunions. Heck, I even wrote a book dedicated to my high school issues and the hell the heroine went through in attending her reunion LOL.

I figure the best thing to come out of my high school graduating class was my husband, and I can see him anytime ;-) So thats good enough for me!!

Kirsten said...

Hi Trish! I know lots of people hate high school (most of the folks who've commented apparently!) but I loved it. I had a fantastic school, great friends, and great teachers. I'm definitely going to the 20th (NEXT SUMMER -- EEEEK!) if I can swing the money and time. Of course, its in NY, where I grew up, and I'm out here in Oregon, so its a big trip. But I'd love to do it.

Cassondra said...

Woohooo Virginia! GO on the rooster girl!

Maybe he'll bring some sunny weather with him. I was really hoping for a clear day today but I got up and..yup...more rain.

Trish I have attended two reunions. My ten year and my 20 year. The ten-year one was interesting because we got to see all the changes in the people. I had trouble recognizing some too. Still...there was some cliquishness at that one.

That had changed by the 20-year reunion. Everyone had gotten over themselves by then I guess. I sat and chatted with people I'd never gotten to spend time with before because I wasn't in their "group."

The trouble is, that with each successive reunion, fewer and fewer people attend. It's kind of sad in that way. People become scattered and busy.

I do wonder whether Facebook will have a bit of an effect on that for the next one, and whether there will be more people at the 30-year than there were at the 20 because folks have reconnected. I think Facebook and the other networking tools are great for that kind of thing--and for getting out the word about where people are, so more can get invited and know about reunions. One of the difficulties seems to be that as parents pass on and there is no longer a connection to people, notice of the reunions can miss some folks who've moved away. Cool that you connected with your old friend on Facebook BEFORE the reunion.

Our class never does the family stuff. They always just go back to the same place--a lodge on a lake nearby--for the reunions. I wish they WOULD do some of the daytime activities, so we could see each other's kids. I don't have any, but I would love to have seen all the mini-me types running around, looking like their parents did back when.

Cassondra said...

JOanie said:

Ended up that.....I looked better than the majority of the class and got to laugh at the two loser guys who OBVIOUSLY had hired two ladies of the evening to be their dates.

OMG! One of the guys at ours did that. I'm certain of it.

I mean, she looked okay and everything. But her dress was..well..shall we say a bit more revealing than normal for that kind of thing? And when he introduced her it was first name only, and the vibe was so clearly that they really didn't know each other hardly at all. It took me a few minutes to decide I was right, but I did decide that.

I couldn't believe it. And he was NOT a loser in school and did not appear to be a loser at the reunion. Very successful. It was so weird that he brought her.

PJ said...

I loved high school! Like Trish, I grew up in a small town and knew many of my high school classmates from early grade school. My family moved to another state when I was in college and I wasn't able to make it back for a reunion until 2006 - 37 years after graduation and more than 30 years since I had seen any kids from school. We had a multi-year reunion (classes of 68 - 71) and I had a blast! Three of my best girlfriends from H.S. were there. We had all moved away to other states/countries and had lost touch over the years but we recognized each other immediately and within a couple minutes were all laughing and talking over each other like we hadn't been apart for more than a few days in all those years.

I recognized most of the people I encountered...except the star quarterback who graduated a year ahead of me. He was a chiseled, hunk and a half who had morphed into (no kidding) the Pillsbury dough boy with white, Prince Valiant hair.

PJ said...

Wow, Virginia! You beat out Lime by one minute. Enjoy your GR time!

Susan Sey said...

Oh, Trish, you brave soul. You went to a high school reunion. Kudos to you. I'm not that courageous. I think probably it has to do with my having been such a tortured, unhappy teenager.

Suffice it to say I wasn't one of those kids who skipped happily into adult life. It was a somewhat...rougher....transition. You'll all be relieved to know that I've pulled myself together since then & become a great deal sunnier.

But I'm still not going to a high school reunion.

TerriOsburn said...

I'll hit 20 years next year and I don't even know if they're doing a reunion. The girl who planned the 10 year (which I attended and it was NOT good) was killed in a car accident a couple years ago. So sad and way too young.

I might consider going. At the 10 year it was as if not a day had gone by which meant the cliques were all the same. And since not one of my friends from HS showed up, that left me as the odd woman out.

At the time I was married with a one year old. Now I'm divorced with a 10 year old. Funny enough, I'm much happier now. :)

I'm glad it turned out well, Trish. And kudos for staying in touch with those childhood friends. I cut town right after graduation and I don't even know where to find my old friends now.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Donna, that's sad that your school doesn't have them anymore. It's interesting because every year my dad goes to a school reunion for one of the little one-room schools he went to back in '40s or early '50s. Only a handful (like less than 10, probably) are there, but he seems to like going.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Pissenlit, ours was only $25, so it was a little easier to fork over. I've heard of multi-class reunions, but we've never had one.

Jo, I'd love to go to one at my hubby's school, but he has no desire to attend if they have one.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Helen, I hear you on the late hours of the reunion. The second night, especially, was late -- about midnight. I mentioned it was a small town, and I had to drive over to the next county to get to my hotel. I'm not used to driving those little roads at night anymore, so I was going slow. It wasn't helped by the fact that it as rainy, foggy and the deer were active since I think it might be deer season in Kentucky right now. Anyway, I figured deer versus little Nissan, deer would win.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Tawny, thanks. I like the new 'do, too.

So you and hubby went to high school together. My hubby and I are both from Kentucky, but from opposite ends of the state.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Kirsten, you should definitely go. I can't say I loved high school, and I still had a good time at the reunion. So you should have a marvelous time. :)

Cassondra, I totally agree about Facebook. I actually started my Facebook page for promotional purposes for the writing, but I kept getting friended by people from high school. So now it has a dual purpose.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Joanie and Cassondra, I can't believe these guys brought "escorts" to the the reunions. That's just wild.

PJ, your reunion sounds like it was fun. It was interesting to see how much some people had changed and how little others had.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Susan, isn't it weird how so many of us remember high school with shudders? Maybe it's why we became writers, to make our worlds as they should be. A catharsis, if you will.

Terri, after hearing these stories about how the cliquishness was still there at five and ten years, I'm actually glad I didn't go to those and waited until now. Everyone has grown up, and I guess that has a lot to do with distance in time and the fact that most of them have their own kids now.

Beth said...

Trish, I'm so glad you had a good time at your reunion! My 20th class reunion was in August and though I still live in my hometown I didn't go. I went to my 5th and did not have a good time so I'm not very anxious to attend another one.

Of course, at my 5th reunion, I was married and pregnant with my second child so I was at a way different point in my life than most of my classmates who were just finishing up college.

My hairdresser (a friend from h.s.) attended the 20th and said it was funny because all the guys looked different and all the girls looked the same (but without the 80s hair *g*) Was that how it was at your reunion?

Nancy said...

Virginia, congrats on the GR!

Trish, I went to my 20th high school reunion, at which I took the prize for youngest baby. The prize for most grandchildren (4) went to a woman who always struck me as very quiet in high school. She really didn't look "old enough," whatever that means, to have so many grandchildren.

It was a nice evening. We had a deejay playing songs from the year we graduated, but people mostly sat around and talked. I've reconnected with a lot of those people via Facebook.

catslady said...

I've been to two reunions. One for me and one for my husband who was a year ahead of me. We went to our 25th and egads this year is my 40th. I have to say we had the most glorious time at my husband's - lots of people, good food, and free drinks lol. Mine was a total bust - go figure. I guess it does really matter what officers you elect in your senior year. Mine was a very low attendance so I didn't get to meet the school buddies that I would have loved to catch up on thier lives. I hope yours turns out wonderful!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Beth, it was a lot like that. I think it's because guys tend to grow and mature physically more after high school than girls do. It was so odd to see the guys, who I remember a certain way, look like...adults. :)

Nancy, I have to admit that it startled me when it was revealed that one of my classmates had a grandchild. She was wee tiny and the cutest little thing, but still..a grandchild! We didn't do a DJ, but we had the '80s tunes playing on the iPod.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

catslady, ours was put together partly by one of the gals (Kristy) who was a class officer and a couple of people who still live in my hometown. It was easier for them to do things on site. Unfortunately, our class president wasn't able to attend because he works for the university where many of us went, and it was homecoming weekend there so he had to work.

Joan said...

Joanie and Cassondra, I can't believe these guys brought "escorts" to the the reunions. That's just wild.

It didn't take me as long to decide for sure Cassondra.....

The poles kind of gave it away :0

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

JT you crack me up.

It sounds like such a crapshoot, these reuninon things. :>

Susan, I just can't imagine you NOT being sunny. Then again, I'm sure most of you couldn't imagine me with waist-length hair, playing the oboe either. Snork.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Trish,

I've attended every one of our
reunions: 7 years, 10 years, then every five years since. I became
a member of the Reunion Committee
prior to the 2oth and remained on
board through the 50th, which I chaired. This past September 19th,
I attended the 55th and yes, we
have changed! (The changes have been mainly physical) We're a bunch of fun-loving, creaky-jointed, white-haired 73/74 y/o Jeff Davis HS "Panthers" from Houston!

Pat Cochran

Christine Wells said...

Hi Trish, sounds like you had a lovely time at your reunion. As usual, you looked so chic and gorgeous in those photos!

I haven't had my 20 year yet but I remember the 10 year and a friend commented to me that the girls either hadn't changed or had turned into their mothers. Which was sort of true, if not exactly tactfully expressed! While I did get to chat with a lot of girls I hadn't seen for years, it was all still pretty cliquey at that stage. Maybe by 20 years it will have changed.

Congrats on the rooster, Virginia!

Michelle Butler said...

I'm glad you had a good time at your high school reunion. I don't think my high school class has had any reunions. Our senior class president was a "rebel candidate" and would never organize one. I did go to my ten year college reunion. I'm glad I went, but it was a little strange at first.

limecello said...

Trish ... *whispers* yes. *hides*
lol well I'm not that young - but I seem to be younger than... people expect? O_o

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Pat, that's so fun that you all have had so many reunions. 55 years -- that's so impressive.

Thanks, Christine. You're making me blush. I think perhaps that at 5 and 10 years, not enough time has passed. Maybe we need that extra 10 years to go by for memories to fade. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Michelle, cool that you had a college reunion. I wonder if perhaps in four years we can have a college reunion. If it doesn't seem like it's been 20 years since high school, it REALLY doesn't seem like I've been out of college for 16 years.

Caren Crane said...

Virginia! I hope you and the GR had an awesome day together. Such a flighty bird, that one!

I went to the 10th reunion of the high school I graduated from, but only to see my best friend from there. Okay, my only real friend from there. I went to the school a grand total of 6 months. *sigh* I recognized people I had been in class with and that's all.

For the 20th, I went to the reunion for the high school I attended until the middle of my junior year. THOSE people were ones I had mostly known since kindergarten. *g* It's amazing how some people look just the same, others look the same after you figure out who they are and some look completely different! There was one guy I had known since 7th grade and he did not look anything like himself in junior high or high school. I was startled by that!

We did the tour through the school too, Trish. They had this swanky auditorium that was ONLY an auditorium. It didn't double as a gym or lunchroom or anything! *g* Also the mongo computer lab. We were grousing about "kids today" and how good they have it. Ha!

Caren Crane said...

Tawny, I wasn't even thinking about your heroine and her reunion. You must have been traumatized in high school! *g*

Kirsten, any chance you'll get to dress like a walrus for the reunion? Ha! That's my favorite high school picture ever!

Caren Crane said...

Beth, the guys had DEFINITELY changed the most at my 20! One of the guys who I went to school with literally since kindergarten (we both had the gorgeous Miss Vaughn for kindergarten!) was always the cute, funny guy.

He's still funny and great to hang with, but he kind of grew a beer belly and lost all his hair. That was shocking!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Caren, it was odd how I could have literally walked past some of the people on the street and not known them. Most of them I could recognize, if perhaps after someone jogging my memory, but some others not so much.