Archive for July, 2010

40th high school reunion

July 9, 2010

Just writing those words makes me kind of turn up my nose and flinch.

Went to my hubby’s 40th HS reunion. From a class of something like 500, there were very few there, I think about 100. Maybe that’s a lot for a 40th. High school reunions don’t appeal to me. For one, in my own life, we moved out East when I was 13, leaving all the friends I had behind, I made new friends, then my father died when I absolutely adored him at the age of 16, and my mother had the brilliant idea to move me back to Indiana at the END of my junior year, meaning APRIL. I had one month of chaos and then it was my senior year. It pretty much blows to return to the land of your childhood when everyone is a senior. I knew people, but then there was this gap of years between us that made it impossible to relate to one another. I didn’t know who had become friends with who and I never found the place I fit in. I had one or 2 friends, met my husband and got engaged. He was my friend. Has been ever since. I tried out for the choir & ended up placing in the top one. So I had some group to feel a part of & I was in the chorus for the school play. Other than that, my whole senior year is somewhat of a blur.

So a high school reunion would be a similar-type experience. I’d fit in but not really.

Going to my husband’s is another whole experience. Being a year ahead of me, that means I really don’t know anybody. So I can just observe. That’s what sociologists do best. Here are some of my main random observations.

People at a 40th HS reunion are at a different stage than their 30th reunion. My first reaction was, “And just how OLD ARE these people??” At the 30th, there was a man excited to be dancing with the cheerleader and hoping to go home w/ her. People at the 30th were interested in looking good and dancing as if they were in a “show”. They stood around the bar a lot, looking for that special someone to possibly hook up with. Or they just wanted to be noticed for how good they still look.

People at the 40th didn’t really care how they looked anymore. There was a different attitude in the room. The men were all balding and had big bellies. Their women partners dressed nice, but were not overly dressed and most had cut their hair short by this time. They were just happy to be there. There was a more relaxed atmosphere of life satisfaction, or acceptance. They carried stories and pictures of grandkids.

The word that comes to mind is FRIENDSHIP. People were interested in friendship,  both in their romantic relationships and those with others around them. A group of women dancing did it just for the fun of it, to move to the music as friends. Some of them were huge and could hardly shake it. But who cares? They had given up being “looked at” long ago. The one woman still skinny and dancing was very proud of herself.

We sat at a table with 2 other couples. One had trouble standing to get up from the table, not from drinking but just due to physical ailments. Joints creaking, legs not moving when their brain tells them to. The other couple were recently married, each on their 2nd marriage. They talked as if no one else was in the room and she was perturbed that he wouldn’t get up to fast dance. I remember having that discussion about 25 yrs. ago. I saw in pictures that they later slow danced: the famous compromise.

They gave away prizes. We should have won the one for youngest grandchild, but my husband was talking to someone at the time, and didn’t speak up. Ours was 1 mo. old. Those who got the prize had a 6-mo. old. There was also a prize for longest married. You would think we would win that, right? 38 years? But it came down to one other couple being married 2 weeks longer than we were.

The lady who gave out prizes and was the organizer never graduated from high school. She has just always been involved. She told me she was banned from attending the 10-yr reunion. I did not ask her reasons. She may have quit for many reasons. But I can tell you that in our day, if you got pregnant in high school, you had to quit school.

I never knew this, but turns out, those cliquish-stuck up-people from high school usually plan reunions, and they only invite THEIR FRIENDS! Hilarious. No wonder I never even hear about mine! By the time of this 40th, there had been some kind of revolt, & someone had insisted EVERYONE get invited.

The DJ they hired was young and didn’t do his research. His sound system sucked. He kept playing songs that were either TOO OLD or TOO RECENT. He played “the twist” and Elvis. Then he played some disco. Yes, we did the twist  but it was 10 years before our time. The Beatles appeared when I was 11 years old. Disco? NO WAY. We were the FLOWER children, the hippie generation, struggling with Vietnam or tearing up our draft cards. How about some Peter Paul & Mary, Pete Seeger or Arlo Guthrie? Crosby Stills Nash & Young, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or Janis Ian?  Early Elton John (This song’s for you, Rocket man), Chicago (Does anybody really know what time it is?)… Then there was the bubblegum music trend, “Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy, and I feel like lovin’ you….” Stupid songs. Love Shack works anytime! But we heard none of these.

Aretha Franklin and Motown would also have been fun to hear. But that’s another observation. All-white audiences never seem to GET DOWN and play the soul and funk that was part of OUR generation! Would that be acting too  black?? They just act like we never did the boogaloo, listened to the Supremes, or swooned to Smokey Robinson. Smokey was the standard slow dance at my high school dances. I remember finding out his race and thinking, “He’s black? Wow, I didn’t know that!” It seems they consciously avoid black music, so it is a purposeful leaving-it-out. If we were a more black school, it would be an act of self hatred not to do the Electric Slide a couple times that night, both men and women getting into the moves.

–but maybe that’s my thing. I lived in Philadelphia from the age of 13-16. From Indiana to Germantown, PA was a big shocker, suddenly 1/2 my school was black. Some of my girlfriends got together on weekends to straighten their hair. I learned Philly line dances to the Supremes at my high school.

And I noticed the few black kids from their 40-years-ago-high-school class didn’t make it to the reunion. I can’t imagine how fun that was to be the 6 black kids in a large high school class, 40 years ago. I’d love to hear their story.


poetry downtown Columbia

July 9, 2010

So, I’m not writing in here much because it’s a grandkids summer and the 2 oldest are here now. Last night we took them to a “Street Poetry” reading in downtown Columbia, supposed to start at 6pm, finally got rolling around 8pm & went on for 2 hours. The heat was INDESCRIBABLE with highs over 100 during the day, heat index who knows where? This was an outside poetry reading on a public downtown street. Very interesting. VERY HOT. The sweat was rolling down my neck & back, & my hair literally looked like I just came out of the pool. Raven about melted. He asked me if he could return to air conditioning. The bagel shop was open & giving out free water.

Our 9-yr-old grandson Caspian totally got into it and went to the mic and recited his poem, “Don’t yell at me!” which he did at school. The crowd totally loved it.

We stopped by the hotel where our son works as a valet & then went home and got in the pool after 10pm. It was heaven. Having a neighborhood pool that is cared for by the Neighborhood Assoc. & we have access to 24/7 is pretty much as close to heaven as you can get.