The Way We Were

Thea Devine here, basking in the glow from having attended my 50th high school reunion. Honestly, I never thought I’d want to go to any reunion. Had second thoughts about that for my 25th, but I was a week too late. So I made certain people knew where to find me for this momentous year.

50 years since high school. FIFTY YEARS!!! OMG!! That’s surreal. Can’t possibly be true. It feels like I just graduated. I’m still seventeen — aren’t I? In my heart, soul, and day-to-day life I am. High school is just that close to the grain of who I was, who I became

But thinking about attending the reunion was kind of scary. How would it all break out? Would there still be the same cliques, the same alliances, the same feelings, even? Would I still feel like I was at the prom without a date?

In the end, none of that happened. It turned out to be a lovely event. One classmate (male) called it “endearing.” It seemed as if my classmates picked up the conversation as if it were yesterday. There wasn’t a missed beat, once everyone identified themselves. And husbands and wives who’d attended were folded in like they were old friends. The conversation never ended; it just shifted from group to group as we performed a “let’s catch up” do-si-do.

You probably know how this all goes. Football game, cocktail party, talk talk talk; tour of the high school (greatly expanded since our day to the point where, given all the arts and music studios and shop choices, we all felt we wanted to go back ); lunch in the cafeteria (not greatly changed); a visit with two former teachers, now in their eighties; a disorienting tour of the town, wholly changed from when we lived there; cocktail party #2 and a banquet, and more talk talk talk.

We received a Then and Now memory book with contact info and self-written biographies, and a mug commemorating the reunion packed with a bar of goats’ milk soap made by a classmate. Pretty neat.

I wanted everyone to come home with me. I loved seeing them all, I connected with several old friends and I hope we keep in touch. A weekend seemed like too little time to bridge 50 years. I wished it had been a week. There was such a nice sense of cohesion and a recognition that we do have a shared history, and that neither time nor distance can take that away, whenever or wherever we might meet again.

You might wonder if I was even thinking novelistically about childhood, secrets, mean girl alliances, hot and heavy romances, vicious hates, undying teen loves, and long simmering vengeance.

I told people I was. I mean, really, why else was I there?

What do you think?

Have you gone to a class reunion? What did you think? Was it “endearing” or was it “enduring”? Did you connect with or disconnect from former classmates? Would you go to another (I would)?

Thea Devine is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance. She’s the author of 25 historical and contemporary erotic romances, including THE DARKEST HEART and the upcoming BEYOND THE NIGHT. The reissue of her erotic contemporary romance, HIS LITTLE BLACK BOOK, is available now.

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6 thoughts on “The Way We Were”

  1. I’m going to number 30 this year, Thea and it also feels surreal. I went to my fifth and my twentieth, I think. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends and catching up. It’s such a wonderful way to celebrate the years and reconnect with our youth. Of course, that’s why I write YA fiction–so I can get away with living the life of a seventeen-year-old in my head:-)

  2. Thea, marvelous descriptions. It was like I was there with you. It will have to be my pretend reunion. I am not in touch with any of my classmates, so no reunions for me. But, in 2011 did visit my high school on the Narrows in the Fort Hamilton area in Brooklyn. It was and still is a gorgeous campus overlooking the bay beneath the Verrazano Bridge. I went up the long, long, long concrete staircase and looked back at the Narrows, watched the sailboats pass-by, and continued up to the tall iron doors. Taller than I remembered. I pulled one, it was locked, I pulled another, it was locked, I tried one more and it opened . . . to a shiny, clean, void of any students hallways. It was Saturday, its hard to find students on a Saturday, but I took pictures to pant over remembering. That is as close I came to a reunion with Fort Hamilton High. Thank you for the memories opportunity.

    1. Gail, it must have been ghostly and nostalgic to walk the halls without anyone there. How much did you remember, I wonder? I remembered nothing (probably a good thing). I’m a Brooklyn girl too — but parents moved when I was 14 and I got roundly teased for my Brooklyn accent.

      thea.

  3. Hi Thea, Last October I attended my 40th high school class reunion. I really didn’t want to go but got pressured into it by a friend. They had a good turnout with people flying in from California to attend. I found that most of the mean girls from the “click” didn’t come nor did the hot shot guys who thought so much of themselves in high school. For one night we all reconnected and it was like old times sitting around talking about the glory days and everyone felt warmed by the nostalgia. Since that time the reunion committee has tried to get class members to meet at a local restaurant once a month, but I don’t think they have had much success in it. In fact, it’s funny you should write about this topic as I just got an email invitation about a class Christmas party.

    1. Gerry, I think we all have good intentions to keep in touch or gear for another momentous reunion, but the fact is, we all have other lives, ammaind reunions, like conferences, are kind of like a visit to Oz — time out of mind — and then back to Kansas. However, I do intend to keep my promise to call at least one class mate, who lives in West Orange, and e-mail another who lives in Maine.

      thea

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