Sunday, June 7, 2020

Time Grabs You By the Wrist and Leads You Where to Go

My friend Kevin and I after high school graduation.

Oh my goodness, Friends, I realized something that kind of threw a hitch in the ol' getalong today as far as the blog goes.  It's that twenty-four years ago tonight, my friends and I in the Class of 1996 graduated from high school.  And it isn't really the fact that it's been twenty-four years that's got me.  

It's more that I've realized that there are a whole bunch of people I haven't seen in twenty-four years, who used to be a big part of my life.  Some, I've seen a little over the last two-dozen years.  But not like it was when we were all attending compulsory education together.  


And I realize that this is probably all on me, because I was the last class secretary, and I never lifted any finger to get a class reunion in the works over the years.  I thought about it and marked it down as something I should get crackalackin' on, and then I never did.  There was a little stretch of time right after our walk across the stage, when it seemed like we'd all had ENOUGH of each other for a while. But I'd dare to bet that most of us have gotten over that.

Here's the thing when I look at this picture of me and my friend Kevin, right after we graduated from high school. On June 7, 1996, I didn't really have any idea of what June 7, 2020 would look like for me or for any of us, recent events aside, even.  I really thought, when I was seventeen, that at Age 41, I'd feel older, wiser... adultier.  Like I'd have more of a clue.

1996 Me really envisioned 2020 Me as someone who's gotten where she's going, instead of a 41-year-old hot mess with maps and atlases and GPS units strewn about me, wondering which road I'm supposed to start down now.  I haven't arrived Anywhere.  I'm not even sure which mode of conveyance I should be taking to get There.  In other words, I'm still on the same journey I was on as 1996 Me.  I just have more information and more experience.  Kind of like when Han Solo and Chewie popped up in The Force Awakens.  Same fellas, a few more lines on Solo's face, and a sense that he's been through this all before.  That's 2020 Me.

1996 Me really expected it to take a lot longer to get to 24 years out of school than it actually did.  24 years slipped by in about three blinks of an eye and one good fall down a flight of stairs, didn't they?

And then I come looping back around to my Friends.  The ones I sat under those hot stage-lights with on this night twenty-four years ago.  The ones I went on field trips with.  The ones I complained about POD with (and of all our classes, isn't that the one it turns out we should have soaked up every bit of learning like dirty little sponges in?)  The ones I laughed with and cried with and got mad at and made up with from 1983 until 1996.  

I mean it with my soul that I miss you guys.  All of you.  All of us.  Even if we weren't close in school.  Even if we probably didn't care much for each other back then.  Hell, we've all grown up in the intervening decades.  I hear about you.  We're all good people.  We share this common thread, and I miss you.  We were a small class, a big family.  I feel so homesick for the luxury of getting to see you all enough that we'd ever get sick of each other (the way classmates and siblings do) that my heart aches.  Especially on days like today that serve as mile-markers for just how quickly Time passes.  

Anyway.  Next year, we will have been out of school for a quarter of a century.  (Oh my GAWD!)  I don't think any of us will feel half as old or adulty as we thought we would at this point in our lives.  I think somehow, we should get together and mark this.  And then we should keep getting together and marking this, every year, whether it's a Big Milestone Year or not.  We're flung to the four winds and scattered across the continent, if not the world.  I don't want to let another 24 years go by without an opportunity for us to be together.  And I always thought it was kind of sad if we DID plan something during the 5, 10, 15, or 20-year marks, and a bunch of us would have to miss the boat until the next 5-year celebration.  It's a lot of pressure on a planner as well as on an attendee.

So here's what I propose- maybe we can plan every year on a Class of 1996 Gathering somewhere around here.  Low-key.  Maybe a dish-to-pass kind of deal-e-oh. Just getting together and saying hey.  I don't know.  I've never liked the bigass Events.  I don't know that I'm a hundred percent alone on that, either.  Maybe we all are over bigass events.  I just think that we've come to the point in our lives where we should celebrate even the little milestones, the little years, and often.  And I miss you all so much.

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