Those truly linked don't need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever.
- Deng Ming-Dao
Lately, friendship has been on my mind a lot. I mistakenly believed an initial reunion date - in late July - to be when my 40th high school reunion was to take place. Unaware that the committee had changed the date to August, and having not fully read the invitation when it arrived in the mail, I already had made up my mind that I would skip this one.
So, now that I know that the reunion in Reno is on August 14 and 15, and now that I've had an email from a good friend (who is on the reunion committee for the last time because she plans on leaving Reno when she retires and, well, you can guess...) telling me "tick, tick, tick . . ." to which I replied with a question as to how much time I have to let them know, and to which she then answered that I can pay at the door that Friday night - or if I want to attend the picnic only then I can pay for that on Saturday.
I can't decide. Not fully. Mike can't take time from work so he wants me to fly up to Reno. I would prefer to drive, but it's a long drive of 500 miles each way. Either option is stressful and tiring for various reasons. And what awaits at the other end, more specifically, who?
I did not like high school. I hated it. But I loved my friends, and I already know that some of them will be attending. Of course, most of the Reno crowd - those who stayed in the home town to make their lives there - will go. My friend on the committee said that they are expecting a smaller group than attended the 30th reunion because of the economy, which means the people who moved away from Reno would be those considering if it's worth the expense to travel there for these events. I'm considering that too.....is it worth buying a new outfit (I rarely shop), hotel room in Reno, meals, possible flight costs if Mike were to prevail on the transportation issue, gas and additional motel stay on the road if I prevail, and $60 for the reunion costs? All that would be worth it if my heart leads me there. And right now my heart feels torn, kinda flip-floppy, sentimental on the sad end of the scale, just not sure it wants to beat for this emotional feast.
Didn't go to the tenth reunion. I was married to the ex, miserably so, and was drinking regularly. It was clear to me that I'd embarrass myself even if I could have taken time from work and I've always been glad I had the sensitivity (pride?) to protect myself from being that girl at the tenth reunion, the one who had done the unthinkable: become a wild child who was hell-bent on self-destruction. Instead I wrote a poem based on facts about my high school experience and semi-based on events that happened that graduation year in other schools, to other 1969 graduates. It became one of my only two published poems, finding its way in the mid-1980s into the Sunday arts supplement that The Oregonian offered at the time. I'll post it here sometime before the reunion.
Went to the 20th reunion alone; I was single and four years sober. It was a wonderful party and an enriching evening. The picnic the following day was special, with many classmates bringing their children. By the time the 30th came round Mike and I were married and, aside from a terrible sunburn he got poolside at our hotel while I was having a massage, we enjoyed the evening get-together but bailed on the picnic the next day and went to Virginia City instead, where we walked around the cemetery and strolled the wooden sidewalks, stopping at The Bucket of Blood saloon for a soda. A living ghost town ....... a high school reunion can feel like that too.