I've read Peter Canning's books, both of them. In one he describes his school reunion. I'm not going to get into detail, if you want that go read his books. Recently I went to my own high school reunion.
I don't think that I had as hard of a time as Mr. Canning, but it wasn't easy. We didn't have a lot of money and I wasn't a great sports star. Needless to say, I wasn't popular and got picked on quite often. I stood up for myself when I'd had enough, but that never solved anything. My grades weren't the best and I hung around with the wrong crowd. Sounds like a lot of high school kids huh?
Anyway, I get this invitation for the reunion and am immediately indecisive on whether or not to go. My wife is supportive and says that either way is fine with her. No help there.
In the end I went, with Wife in tow. We had an OK time. I saw a few of my old friends and we had some laughs. By far the biggest topic of the night was how many times who had been divorced and how many kids did everyone have. The gossip of high school rears its ugly head.
It was interesting to see all of the old popular people migrate to one another. And to see how they had fared. Most had gained much weight and topped the divorce list if they had even married at all. Call me a grudge holding bastard, but I found it extremely funny to see them in their drunken revelry. Just like old times....
The next biggest question was "What are you doing now?" Closely followed by "Where are you living?"
The look in people's eyes was one of fascination when I told them I was a Paramedic and that I had moved away from the place of my upbringing. I'd had feelings of inadequacy going in. The feelings that most others would be doctors and lawyers and successful businessmen. That I would pale in comparison. Boy was I wrong.
The president of our class is installing security systems, door to door. Another popular guy is literally digging ditches. The prom queen is an assistant manager at a drug store. Not that these aren't honorable jobs. Trust me, I know that in these times, whatever will put food on the table is good enough. But I would have expected more from these once-prominent people of my school. Those that had went on to the big and expensive universities, while I went straight to work and then finally to a community college on my own dime.
It's funny how things go. The "nerdy" ones of the past are the successful ones of today, with the best looking spouses and lovely families. While the rich and popular of yesterday are the average joes of the present.
We left early, with promises to keep in touch. Scribbling phone numbers and email addresses on napkins. I doubt if I'll ever hear from most of them again, at least not until the next reunion.