This last weekend I went to my High School reunion.
When I first planned on attending, I stopped at some point, I could not tell you when, and asked myself why I was going. The question itself sort of surprised me, as occasionally happens when I challenge my own thought process. So I delved into the reason by not looking at the reunion, but looking back… At High School.
I went to South High School in Bakersfield California. I started in 1982 and finished that sentence off in 1986. I was not a great student; frankly I was a very poor student, but not because I was dumb, High School bored me to tears, and except for a very few people, I got along with no one.
In fact, I would be willing to lay odds on the possibility that it is as a result of South High that I developed, and later overcame, a fear of confrontation. High school was all about confrontation, every day. I was not a popular person, nor was I very outgoing or part of one of the many cliques that form in high school.
I was part of the Computer Nerd clique… This was neither the favored nor popular clique and immediately opened any member up to potential assault by others. I can even recall a couple occasions that a person or two that I new, and had gotten along with before high school, would come over and talk to me, usually in the library or class, but would immediately end the conversation as soon as their friends came by or showed up. This duality taught me much more than some of my classes did about people, and I still carry that lesson with me to this day.
I cannot say that I entirely disliked high school, though. My favorite parts of school were my science classes and most of the teachers I had throughout school. Teachers that made the biggest impression on my life were people like Mrs. Prior, Mr. Peck, Mr. Stricker, Mr. Wright, Mr. Gates, Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Sullivan. Some of these teachers are no longer with us, but this is a result of the passage of time. Their legacy lives on, and will continue to do so, through their students. We will carry a part of them with us no matter what we do in life, and that will, in turn, affect others.
I also cannot say that I did not have friends in high school. I had several friends, and this includes the ones that would not admit they were my friends in front of their friends. My true friends, are the ones that are still with me today. The ones that, even though I have done some stupid things in life, and a few things that really tested the strength of the friendship, are still my friends today, and I would even go so far as to say that they are family.
So… Why did I want to go to my reunion? I am not sure. Maybe it was for revenge, to show everyone that I was not the screw up that they expected… Maybe it was in the hopes to see a lost object of my desires, or maybe to quell some hidden demons that needed to be exercised so that my life would be fuller.
No… I think it was none of these. What I think it was, was the effort to reach back and make contact with people that I knew from my childhood and adolescence in the hopes that I would recapture the parts of my childhood that I had forgotten about. To see people that I grew up with, both friend and foe, and see that in the end, we were all really running the same race, and no one of us was better than the other. To see that, when all was said and done, we were all just kids learning how to be, and what to be.
I went to my reunion feeling nervous, worried that I would still be the outcast that I was in high school, I left feeling that I was no different that anyone else in there. Yes, there were people that had traveled more, seen more and made more money than I had, but is that really the point? No… We all still had the same concerns and worries… fears and desires. We had all lost things and gained things… We have all grown up.