This past weekend was my 30th high school reunion. I know. I can’t believe it either! Seriously time goes by faster than they say. I truly had in my head it was 20 for a time, not 30. It was one of those really memorable nights and I can’t stop thinking about it. Of course I had to share some of it on here!
I was nervous and excited as anyone would be to see all those kids who shaped my world at a profound time of life. High school, no matter how we view it now, made us some of what we are. Those are formative years for our personalities and so much else. My high school years are embedded deep in my psyche, though my 20s and 30s seem like a blur now.
Even if I no longer see most of my classmates, I wanted to reclaim that part of me by going to this reunion. I didn’t want to forget about how and who I used to be- that high school girl with the terrible posture and big dreams. The years of working, raising kids and age had made me forget a lot of that.
I also wanted to see my friends from those years and from junior high and grammar school. I am lucky to have classmates who went through all those schools along with me.
|With pals Rick and Lance in their cowboy hats.|
Three wonderful girls from our class, Tami, Rosie and Kim, and many others created a beautiful, and fun evening! It couldn’t have been nicer.
|Junior high friends Juaquina and Doug.|
Catching up with people I hadn’t seen for more than a few decades was a total blast. In some cases it was if we just hung out yesterday. Really. People for the most part were the same people. It made me think that at the core, we don’t really change who we are fundamentally. We may develop as we grow, but in our hearts, we remain our younger selves.
|Showing off our lovely senior shots. NOT!|
Oh to time travel back if we only could. I’d take back the missed opportunities, speak to people I was too timid to, and try things I was too clueless to know were smart to do. That’s high school isn’t it though? We were basically naive young things and our world was filled with the slight anxiety of missing a, “All My Children,” episode or worrying if the total babe who was clueless about girls, might say yes to the next Sadie’s dance. 😀
|My adorable friend, and often date, Christopher with me at a 1981 homecoming dance. Don’t you love our hair and polyester?|
Our school, Gunderson was just a few years old, newly built and very modern when we started in 1980. The school was surrounded by farms and 1970’s suburban home tracts. Many of us walked to school through orchards. The spots for the current highways 87 and 85 were sitting untouched for the one day there was public money and the light rail would be built . The location felt open and actually really rural. So much has changed sadly. This area is now one of the busiest in San Jose. It also costs a fortune to live here now. So many people have moved away.
Our high school weekends were spent babysitting for a dollar an hour, to earn money to spend at Contempo Casuals for pink or blue angora sweaters and flared mini skirts. If we saved enough money, the goal was a pair of Vuarnet sunglasses complete with leash, so we could emulate the surfer guys. If we were really lucky someone’s older sister might take us to Santa Cruz in her Mustang or an Adam Ant concert or Day on the Green. Say what you will about the 80s, but it was a simpler time. Looking back to the dreamy music, exaggerated clothes it was also a romantic time to be a teen.
|My best pal Monica and I got those Vuarnets!|
We did not worry too much about college. That was a senior thing and if we took the classes we were supposed to, got some As and Bs, we were in! Cal State and UC colleges were something most could get into and if not, junior college was there as our backup. Somehow, we all found our way, all in our own good time. We may be all over the world, but being together again, it’s like we never left.
If only I could give my kids some of that. Now high school is fraught with anxiety. From freshman year and beyond, it is all about doing the right thing to get into the right college so you can get the highest paying job. Don’t put the wrong foot down and God forbid if you have some downtime in those 4 years…You could be pegged as a slacker!
In hindsight now, I see the beauty in the time and the middle class I was raised in. I also see it in my classmates. What lovely humans they are. The other night, people didn’t talk about their jobs or what they are doing. They asked about each other and our families. We exchanged funny stories that stuck in our minds from school days. There was no directory where people flaunted what they have been, “up to.” It was, in this very competitive area, an anomaly!
This evening was just about a group of kids who parted ways, grew up, came together and if anything got closer. While the world had gotten bigger, our small group that we hold tentatively together has gotten even more precious to us.
|Our grammar school group from Terrell Elementary School. These are friends since 1973!|
I encourage everyone who has a reunion to go. Rediscovering this part of your life can be cathartic and actually a really good time.
The unassuming teens we were grew up to be some pretty terrific and kind people. I wish every generation the innocence and the free time to dream that we had. It will do more for you than all the AP classes you can fill your schedule with.
I love you the Gunderson High class of 1983!