Monday, April 20, 2009

35 Years Seems Wrong

This June 7, it will be 35 years since I graduated from high school! In so many ways that time seems to have flown by. In other ways, it seems so like a really long time since getting up and going to school every day.

My high school reunion is scheduled for sometime later in June. I've already sent back my questionnaire and let them (whoever they are) know that I will not be attending.

I didn't have a really great time in high school. It was okay and I was relieved to graduate and move onto working full time. I still stay in touch with the people who I want to stay in touch with. Jerry and I met in 11th grade cooking class, where we were assigned to the same table. He and Faith, who I met in 12th grade, got married a couple of years after graduation and I see them pretty regularly. I am godmother to their daughter and look forward to spending time with all of them. Tom, who married Janice about 3 years after graduation, graduated with me and Faith. Jerry had gone to Tollgate and Janice to Pilgrim, yet we have all remained best friends all these many years later.

So I did (very grudgingly) go to the 20th reunion. It was okay. Not great and not bad, just okay. It was strange to see people who looked familiar, yet different. There were no great surprises, just a bunch of people who used to know each other a long time ago. Now, 15 years past that, it seems pretty silly to go. I suppose it would be interesting to see who ended up where, but we did all that at the 20th and I don't remember who ended up where. I think I forgot because I didn't really care.

Faith/Jerry and Tom/Janice have gone to every reunion. Each time I would tell Faith to let me know if one particular classmate was there. If so, I would get dressed and meet up with them. But he never showed. About 6 years ago, I ran into his brother who gave my numbers to him. I got a call and we reconnected. He was living in DC and after talking for a couple of months he planned a trip to RI. I picked him up at his downtown hotel and we went for dinner and then to a PawSox game. During our dinner conversation I realized two things; the first being that he was a total and complete drunk and, secondly, he had no recollection of me at all. After all those years of wondering what happened to him, now all of a sudden, I couldn't get rid of him. It took some time and many late night calls where he was pretty loaded to finally get him to stop calling. I also moved and changed my phone number which may have helped as well.

So, mostly, I don't want to know the details of the lives of a bunch of people I don't recall all that well and didn't really care about to begin with.

However, at 52 years old, I am finding that life is pretty tenuous. Just a couple of days ago I ran into an old school friend. She is having some health problems and has lost most of her eyesight. She also mentioned that a guy from our class, who was at that kitchen table with Jerry and I back in 11th grade, had come to a mini-reunion that was held in March. A couple of weeks later, he was dead after suffering a massive heart attack.

A few years ago, I ran into the mother of another classmate who I was pretty close to in 9th and 10th grade. They were a pretty wealthy family and when I would go to their house, I was surprised that they had a live-in housekeeper and an elevator in their house. The big surprise, however, was the master bedroom and bathroom which was one big room. The bed was huge and round and the bathtub was a double and there was a beer tap right into the tub! We'd hang out in that bedroom, not that we drank the beer, but it was funny to sit on the round bed and look at the double tub and the two toilets, one of which had a phone next to it. Anyway, when I ran into Mrs. Casey, I asked how Mary was and found out that she had passed away a few years earlier from cancer. I couldn't believe that I hadn't known.

Just in the past couple of months there have been two other classmated who's obituaries were in the newspaper. One guy I didn't recognize at all, but I did remember the girl (hard to say woman.)

So my thinking is that why should I spend time filling my brain with information that I don't need to store, when there is so much I work hard to remember, mostly regarding my nieces and nephews.

The only thing is that 52 is much too young to die.

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