I always tell myself “Go to the reunions!” but then this strange reticence overtakes me. Maybe it’s common to us all, the worrying that no one will talk to us but the classic what-do-I-wear dilemma weighs, I think more heavily on the females.
Take my case. I’m pretty sure I’m no longer in danger of going in a tangle of long Country-Western-style curls and a fringed leather miniskirt, but what if I end up walking into a room full of evening gowns, only to look down and find myself dressed like Pinocchio? Because, you know, this has happened.
But then I remember what my 11-year-old said to me back in the late 90s when I was I fretting about what wear to wear to a certain wedding. “It’s fine,” he said not unkindly. ”Nobody’s going to be looking at you, Mum.” True enough!
And so it was that on a recent Saturday night I started getting ready. I climbed into this caramel pantsuit I had bought in the spring of 2012 only to realize I looked like the last cruller in the bin. A mist of cold sweat bloomed down my back.
Then I spotted the black dress I had just for $69 in a catalog. I threw it on and headed for the car with my husband.
That’s when the great realization finally came on me: This wasn’t my reunion! This was HIS reunion! I wouldn’t have to do a single thing but smile and listen as people spoke to him.
I figured he would have an easy time too, because as the Class President and Football Captain, he’s be remembered.
He was remembered him. But if people remembered him, they also remembered one another, after the quick peer-down at the nametag for the rapid calculation that aligned this older face with the face they had known at 18.
All night, people literally called out to one another in joy.
“THIS guy!” a burly ex-football player said to me, his arm tight around David’s neck. “THIS guy went in head-first every single time!”
“You know what it was like being in class with Dave here?” another guy said to me ten minutes later. “He’d walk in to class seconds before the bell and find the rest of us frantically studying. ‘Is there a test today?’ he’d go. He hadn’t prepared! Then, what do you think? I’d get a 95 on the darn thing and HE’D get a 98!”
In general, the expert remembers like these two carried the evening aloft, bringing people’s thoughts vividly back to the past.
It took the woman who spearheaded this whole reunion effort to carry their thoughts back to the present, by arranging class gift of backpacks and bus passes for those current students at the school who could really use them.
People danced plenty, though not as much as they had done at earlier reunions. They drank plenty too, but again not as much which one could plainly see when the swarms huddled at the bar slowly morphed into clusters gathered around the coffee and tea.
Anyway, I myself had a super time at this reunion that wasn’t my reunion, and by evening’s end I saw how silly it is for any of us to ever worry about who will come talk to us, when it is entirely in our power, as members of the great old Class of 2015, to go up to anyone at all and get the conversation started our own selves.