First of all, why would anyone have an 8th grade reunion? asked my 30-something daughter with more than a little incredulity.
Who does that? she muttered to me on the phone a few months ago.
I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective. Even though I initially had mixed feelings about going, I hadn’t questioned the idea. Someone is planning a 50th reunion this year and my best friend Wendy (also a member of the 8th grade class in question) wants me to go with her. She is going, as she lives close to the location. So I should go with her. Like we did back in the day…
Hey I’ll meet you in the girl’s room.
Come to my/your house after school.
Let’s go to Valley Fair and buy…
- a new pocketbook,
- trashy nightgowns,
- the new Beatles 45
However, not this time. Except for Wendy, I have no connections with anyone from those days. I went to that school from 6th through 8th grade and afterwards we all dispersed to a consolidated high school with 2 other towns. It wasn’t so incestuous in a class of 360.
Junior high: well, it was awkward. For everyone. As it will be until the end of time. The mean girls and the bullies. And the rest of us walking the halls trying to fit in…or disappear. Eating hot lunch and pacing the blacktopped playground sizing up the daily dramas. The ever present worries: did I study enough? will I ever be popular? who is my friend today? I did have some adventures in acting out; which was kind of exciting in a going-outside-my-comfort-zone kind of way.
Mean girls – who certainly were in the minority, but unfortunately often set the tone – can direct a life of misery for those not in the “in group.” No matter how many different ways I set my hair with Dippity Do and pink plastic curlers, it didn’t matter. I never made it into the in-group. I was tall (uh oh), wore glasses (double uh-oh) and liked sports (fuggedaboutit). I often raised my hand in class and asked questions – that may have worked against me too. I do know that notes were passed and, when they got passed to me, the list of “who we don’t like” often had my name on it. The 1960’s version of text messaging.
So, again….why would I travel long distance, deal with a bad back for hours, pay money to sit (bad back again) and reminisce…
About the “good old days?”