There are so very few opportunities presented in life that allows one to stare at another human being unabashedly. There are always the lookie loos that need to look at the accident that happened in the opposite lane of traffic, and that just pisses off those who don’t care to participate. Another is children, they are good at staring as they are curious creatures and might even venture a question about the curvature of your head or if you eat your scabs too. But again there is only one social event that will allow both staring for extended lengths of time and glancing at the chest area, on purpose (think name tag). That event is a high school reunion. I attended my 30th reunion last night. I know!!! I don’t look old enough to be out of school for that long. The short story…I had a blast! All the usual suspects were there, the cheer leaders, the jocks, the nerds were away on their yachts and the pot heads were out on the deck smoking, if you can imagine that.
I don’t live in the area of the country where I attended high school so I don’t stay in contact with anyone from my class. I only travel there maybe once a year and that time is divided amongst the family. But it did occurred to me that the only two people that I remain in contact with, is my sister Gale, who was in the class ahead of me and my friend Lorissa who is the mother of a boy from my class. I think the fact I’ve lived in Seattle longer than I ever did in Idaho might have a little to do with the no connection thing. When I was in high school I was a fuzzy haired dork with glasses and absolutely no sense, fashion or otherwise. I am the consummate late bloomer. It’s not like I’m still waiting to get my first period, but I am always lagging behind. The only thing that I’ve managed to get ahead of the game on, is gray hair and I have ways of taking care of that.
I came from a small town in Southwest Idaho. If everyone was home the population might have blossomed to 3000. It was once the home of a very busy and productive sawmill. My dad never worked there but alot of other dads did. It was a generational thing, get a job at the sawmill immediately upon graduation, if you got that far. But things change and sawmills close and people need to find other forms of employment. So they open furniture stores or flower shops, run the family farm, teach or go into the other valley to find work. Alot of times they move away and move to large cities like Boise. I think I knew the second my head crowned that I would be moving away as soon as I could, it took just a few months past 18 years of age.
But you know what, I like that little town and those kids I went to high school with, they have good bones. Because it was a small town, most of us went all 12 years of school together, now that’s longevity. Many of my classmates stayed in the area and remain friends. Some have never been out of Idaho, which stuns me. There were three women in my class that had 6 children each and multiple grandchildren. I think the winning number was 10 grandchildren. We have two things at work here, they are amazingly fertile and this is Mormon country. There were lots of marriages in the 20’s, 30’s and even one at 34 years. This happy winner got married our freshman year, and it wasn’t even a scandal. We had some deaths from our class and when those names were read I was sad and thoughtful, hoping that I wouldn’t be added to the list anytime soon. We had trivia from our class and that was fun and it evoked a lot of memories. There was lots of laughter and hugs of welcome once the realization from the ‘stare’ was complete. But I guess the best thing for me was I went with no expectations and came away with a happy memory and more than one promise of a visit from a renewed friendship to come and visit Seattle. I guess I know my way around by now, I’ve been here 20 years.