…and it feels so weird.
i missed my high school reunions. i missed old work reunions. in short, i have missed pretty much any opportunity to reunite with people i’ve known throughout the years. you should know this is not because i am an anti-social person; the dates or times simply didn’t work for me. (well, most of them didn’t. i didn’t attend my five year high school reunion because i didn’t feel ready to face most of the people who’d be there. i needed more time and space between us.) besides: most of the people i truly enjoyed, i probably already kept in touch with, i thought (erroneously, as it would turn out.)
about six months ago, my old friend phil started up a facebook page for people who were alums of our new jersey USY region. it was like a compulsive disease for me: i’d check back every day to see whether new old friends were signing on. and every time i’d find one, i’d friend the person and we’d have a mini-reunion. apparently, i wasn’t alone; for pretty soon, phil was helping to organize a real live reunion of folks.
which brings me to last saturday. i was nervous about attending a reunion. after all, after two babies and some pretty heavy duty illnesses and medications, i am no longer looking as i did when i was 17.
wreke at hagalil encampment, 1982?
wise old middlebro, veteran of many reunions (remember the old part? the dude has three years on me.), pretty much quelled my fears. wreke, he said, everyone at reunions is older, fatter, and balder. don’t stress.
so i attempted to chill.
of course, then my old buddy wah began to stress, which meant i began to stress. we figured we’d drive up together; then we wondered whether we ought to go at all. after i volunteered to provide the evening’s soundtrack, i really knew i couldn’t back out. and wah probably knew she didn’t want to back out, either (right, wah?) besides, it would be my first weekend away from my husband and my kids. EVER. so it wasn’t sitting by a pool in some exotic location; i needed a break.
so wreke and wah had our excellent adventure. in nj.
after the most peaceful ride to NJ ever (no one needing a bathroom break, no one fighting over mp3 players, no one having to throw up — is traveling without kids always this calm?), a ride including some great music on XM thanks to old DJs i haven’t heard since i was young (pat st. john playing deep tracks! wheeeee!), wah dropped me at my folks’ house and then went up to her parents’ house. i had a wonderful friday and saturday with my parents, shopping, going to lunch as an early birthday present, and just being my parents’ child for a day instead of being someone’s mom.
my friend A picked me up for the reunion. (A is smart. she knew my parents would love to talk to her — they always love talking to my friends — and so she built in an extra 15 minutes so that she could chat. all my old USY friends like to talk to my parents. i always had to drag people AWAY from my parents. hello? you’re here to see ME!) anyway, we went to our friend D’s house, where we had some yummy things to eat and drink and just had a great time. another dear friend, leifer, came over. (those of you still traumatized by my blatantly bad 70s music month may remember my friend leifer. perhaps not fondly.) i probably would have been pretty damn content to stay in D’s kitchen and just laugh and laugh and laugh. i realized then how wrong i had been about thinking that i was in touch with everyone i needed to be in touch with. how i’ve missed D! (yes, leifer, i always miss you, too. i just haven’t lost touch with you, have i?)
anyway, i knew i had music to deliver. so off i went.
many of you out in wreke-land know i am a little particular about music. i like what i like. i’m open-minded, but i am also a bit, er, what’s the word — snobby? trying to capture evocative music for a crowd that was in high school anywhere from roughly 1977 through 1994 was a little challenging, especially since i was limited to about four hours, and extra especially because there were only a few of my friends in USY (or high school, for that matter) who were listening to the music i listened to at the time. (it wasn’t until college at rutgers where i discovered others like me.) i’m sure there were those in the crowd who would clamor for michael jackson, for madonna, for debbie gibson.
for those of you, i’m sorry.
lucky for me, everyone was so busy yapping, i don’t think anyone noticed any of the songs except when paradise by the dashboard light came on. (gah, i hate that song.) suddenly, people started singing. (and yet no one sang to the smiths. go figure.) ah well. the music must have been somewhat successful; no one complained about it.
about the interpersonal aspect of the evening: i fell back into high school mode, flitting around people but never, ever having the chance to have much of a conversation with anyone. in some cases, that was okay — we will still have facebook. but in other cases, i was truly bummed. it was simply so hard to focus on any one person because i was just so overwhelmed by everything. i never thought in my wildest dreams that i would see some of these people again. and in most cases, i am so blessed that i had the chance.
and even though there were a few people i really, really wish i could talk to more (and may never get the chance), i’m delighted that there are people, like my friend Boog, who i’ve now found again — and i’ll never let her go. again.
so all in all, this reunion stuff is a mixed bag. yes, i literally saw people i haven’t seen in years. yes, middlebro was right – a lot of us are fatter or balding, and sometimes, you’d rather remember people as they were rather than as they are now. but reunions seem to me to be just the tip of the iceberg. now i want to corral a smaller subset of friends and actually converse.
i just have to make it happen.
boog, wah, and wreke. together at last!