A Reunion with High School Angst
The 40th reunion of the Crescenta Valley High School Class of 1973, my class, was held last month at the Chevy Chase Country Club. I didn’t go.
It’s not that I was out of town. I didn’t forget to put it on my calendar. I wasn’t in bed with a horrible cold or otherwise incapacitated. And the cost of the tickets to attend wasn’t overly ridiculous (although $140 at the door was just a bit spendy). None of those reasons kept me away. I just didn’t go.
Why? That’s a question that I’ve been asking myself ever since the morning after.
For at least a year leading up to the big event, I had been getting (to the point of annoying) regular reminder emails and snail mail from the company that organized the reunion. The date was highlighted on all of my calendars, and I had every intention of attending. Then, as tickets went on sale, I hesitated.
Again, I can’t say exactly why but I never did buy a ticket. Which is too bad. Because from the photos that were posted on various Facebook pages I’ve seen since that night, the early-October shindig was a big success.
Speaking of big, in many of the photos I’ve seen online, I’m pleasantly surprised that more than a few of my former classmates are also battling the bulge of middle age. I was a little relieved to see pictures online of many of the guys who (in my memory at least) were the studly, babe-magnet types in high school but now – well – look just like any old average Joe. Like me, in other words.
Also much in evidence in the posted photos are plenty of receding hairlines and bald spots. And those were just the women. (Rim shot!) But seriously, apparently I’m not the only male from my graduating class who has lost hair and gained weight.
On the other hand, seeing photos of various groups of classmates who reconnected at the reunion – the very same groups who hung out together on the CV quad or the lower field or Tobacco Road – brought back many the feelings of being in or out of “the cool kids” club. I could probably go through my dusty CVHS yearbooks and find almost identical photos (but with much younger faces staring back) of the same old cliques.
In the months leading up to the reunion, I often logged on to the organizing company’s website page that listed who was coming, who wasn’t coming, who had left comments, etc. One of the more interesting lists was who had yet to be located. I would think in this age of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and NSA surveillance of every move we make, it would be virtually impossible to be un-findable. And yet, surprisingly enough, there were quite a few members of my Class of ’73 who simply could not be located. I think that’s more than a little sad.
Even worse, though, was the online list with the names of my CVHS classmates who had already passed away. A quick scroll showed something like 25 of my Class of ’73 classmates have already died. How could that be? I mean, we’re not that old yet. Are we? It was a painfully sobering reminder of just how fast and how much life changes once you leave high school.
Not to get all melancholy, but maybe the reason I didn’t attend the reunion was because I didn’t want to see those changes played out in person, in real time. Only my therapist knows for sure. And who knows? Maybe in another 10 years, I’ll attend my 50th. As long as I can grow back my hair and lose another 30 pounds, that is.
To my fellow classmates who attended the reunion, my deepest apologies and regrets for not joining you.
Until 2023, hopefully, I’ll see you ’round town.