20 YEARS ago.
George Bush was President. (That’s George H. W. Bush)
A stamp was .25 cents. (gas was less than a dollar in most places)
Anita Hill accused Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
The Persian Gulf War ended.
Dances with Wolves was Best Picture.
Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch were on regular rotation on the radio. (So was Around the Way Girl by LL Cool J and Everything I Do by Bryan Adams)
And for some reason, I thought that teal dress and those white gloves were a good idea. Yes, that is me right there in the center.
It was 1991. The year I graduated from High School. And those girls in that picture? I will see them this weekend for the first time since then. I *think* they are all going to be there – or at least most of them.
I’m not sure when it happened. But sometime in the past week, I suddenly became old enough to qualify for a 20 year high school reunion. Before this week? I was 32. Max.
I’m irrationally excited. Facebook has eliminated the element of surprise in many cases…. I won’t have to surreptitiously move my eyes from smile to name tag and back again (in most cases) since I’ve seen so many online, but I really can’t wait to see FACES. I can’t wait to hear voices. To hug. To really see people for the first time in so long.
It may sound silly, I know…. but I feel inexorably tied to these people – despite having little to no contact with many of them over the course of the last two decades. And even though I’m nothing like the girl I was in High School, these are the people who helped to lay the foundation for who I am now. Some loved, some supported, some teased, but all of them have a hand in my character.
Over the last year, especially, I’ve felt a certain hollowness when it comes to my past. Living so far away from home (I’m in St. Louis instead of California) there is nothing to remind me of the way things used to be. I never pass my old schools, run into former teachers or see people I ‘used to know’. I have found myself missing the familiar…. longing for the people who knew me when I had bad bangs and chipmunk cheeks, when I was just the insecure girl who cried when she lost at Mock Trial.
I have had very little contact with people who knew me ‘way back when’… but lately, I’ve been changing that, and it feels good… it is nice to know I have a past, that I come from somewhere…. The inside jokes have made me smile in a way I can feel as though it lights me from within. The laughter is the genuine kind – you know… the stuff that starts in your belly?
There is just something about being seen… especially when the people who are ‘seeing’ you – know what you looked like with braces, can remember trying to get New Kids on the Block tickets with you, can still recite your phone number and? They used to rock sunglasses just like yours.
This weekend…. I will ‘see’ and ‘be seen’. And it will be beautiful. And next Monday? I will go back to being 32.