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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Surviving the Ten Year Reunion

Okay, okay. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Yeah, it was cliquey. The turn out was around 70-100 people. But everyone was friendly enough–we are, after all, 28 now. Here are a few moments from my ten year high school reunion.

“Leah! How are you? This is my wife. Leah and I went to middle school and high school together, how are you?” I start to panic–familiar face, no name recall. Shit, this guy remembers me from Wilson and I have no idea who he is. Shit. Shit. Shit. Then his wife saves me by saying she should just put Mrs. Chris Phillips on her nametag. Whew, it was Christian. After I knew that, I remembered him. Eeek.

Tap, tap, tap. “Hey Leah! Remember me?” Shit! “You played flute?” Ding. Ding. Ding. You have a winner. She told me her name and introduced me to her husband–who, it turns out, found out about the renion through my blog.

At the picnic, I was standing next to Jeff in a circle with my sister, Steve, and Huter. He leaned up against me and said, “Hey.” It was one of the nicest moments of the whole reunion. He lives in Colorado and has moved cross country a few times. He was the only person I told that I’m converting. He had asked the inevitable married question, “No, I’m just dating in Chicago. Now that I’m jewish, it limits the field.” “When did that happen?” “Dating or becoming a jew?”

“Wow, we were all just saying how much more you two look alike than you did in High School.” My twin sister went with me, she couldn’t imagine that I was braving the reunion on my own.

At the cocktail & appetizers thing, someone had strung crepe paper in the doorway. How you are supposed to make an entrance when you are fighting crepe paper? I got all tangled up in the black and red streamers, but watched other people walk through effortlessly.

“I was just telling my husband about that fantastic haircut you had in high school! With half of your head shaved! Remember that?”

“Hey, do you still have the hearse?”

No, the hearse died years ago when I was living in Colorado.

The funniest moment was a conversation with someone I don’t remember. He looked at me, I looked at him. I said, “Did we go to school together?” “Apparently.” Then he slipped into the voice that I had in my head all night, a Billy Crystal mocking tone, “So whereyoulivin? Areyoumarriedyet? Whatdoyoudo? Canyoubeleiveithasbeen five years?” Just these rapid fire questions we’d been answering all night. I answered, “Well, you know, I’m like, living in Chicago. And, you know, working in PR.” He said, “Totally cool. I work for NASA. I think I might get in trouble for that piece of foam. I tried to, you know, fix it with some bubble gum, but I had to get to the reunion. You know?” I was laughing so hard, because it was that same damn conversation with every single person–but with no sense of “THIS IS FUCKING INSANE.”

At the picnic I also ran into Shawn. Shawn and I had one class together senior year, history or government. He had a bad accident, but wasn’t popular so nobody really visited him or asked about him. I did go to visit him one day after school. He was in Regional Hospital. I don’t remember much of the conversation, other than it was awkward. Who at 17 knows how to have a conversation with another 17 year old in a hospital room? I’m not sure I stayed 10 minutes, but I went. We made eye contact pretty early at the picnic and talked for less than five minutes. He pointed out all of his kids–two daughters, two sons, and his wife.

There was one person I really wanted to talk to, but he never approached me and I never approached him. He and I had English together senior year. Together with Aaron Morris, we spent a lot of time writing research papers together. I forgot that academic kinships did not continue after the bell rang, so we were never social together. We were insanely geeky together at a table in the library, but never social. He was hanging out with the popular boys, so I didn’t bother approaching. What would I have said? Same thing I said to everyone, “I live in Chicago now, working at a PR firm. No, I’m not married. No, I don’t have kids.”

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