So I had this great idea, right? I emailed one of the people organizing the reunion (the one I'm not attending) to ask if anyone had thought of a contact guide, of sorts. You know... the people that attended (or this could be emailed or snail-mailed out later to everyone they'd been able to reach) could fill out this little form listening address, email address, quick facts. Then you email a compilation to everyone to cut down on mailing costs. Voila! You get the bare bones facts without getting drunk and throwing up on someone's shoes, or getting all maudlin and crying in the parking lot because HIGH SCHOOL WAS HELL and everyone knows it.
Somehow I got on his email group list of everyone that is attending and you know what? So far 35 people will be there. 35 classmates. Out of, like, 220 or something like that.
Then I remembered when I had lunch with our valedictorian last winter. I reminded him of one of my worst high school memories, of which he played a central part (but not in a bad way -- more like a "damn I hate that you're seeing the seedy underside of my existence" kind of way) and you know what? He barely remembered it.
So now I have this theory.
This theory of mine is that everyone who got that envelope from Tom felt the same thing -- a pit in their stomach. They also remembered having someone make fun of their jeans or something like it. They remembered the hurts, the angst, the genuine difficulty of surviving high school.
And I can't help but wonder... would the reunion have better attendance if someone had managed to speak up about it? What if one person -- just ONE PERSON -- could own up to it? What if there was someone who said, "You know what? Those four years of my life (six, if you count junior high, and let's, shall we?) were among the worst of my life. I felt like an outcast the entire time. I can recall the good memories on one hand." What if they then followed that with, "I'm not coming back here to be validated. I don't need your validation anymore. I never really did. But I want to heal some of those old wounds, so I'm showing up."
What if everyone who attended made a pledge that they weren't going to try to glamorize their lives -- that they'd be honest about how many times they'd been divorced, how long it took them to finish their college degrees (HOLLA!), how things were good sometimes and really hard sometimes and it's so nice to know we're not alone anymore. What if we could just come together as grown-ups to let our kids play together and look people in the eye and take back all the power we gave the popular clique, or the cheerleaders, or the football players?
What if we could just be honest? What would happen then?