A few people feel conflicted about attending a 50th high school reunion, not just our Burbank High Class of 1968. I have to confess that without having the Ceralbus handy, I really don’t remember very many people in our large 600+ person class. And after all, it’s been 50 years! Egad!
For others, high school was a painful experience, a time of rejection and loneliness. Teri Hill Clark wrote on Facebook, “Feel like I’d be sitting on the sidelines like at a dance at John Muir!”
Carla Robinson Pollard said she sat with a bunch of women at the 40th reunion who considered themselves “unpopular,” and they all agreed that forgetting the time in high school was not a bad thing.
If you search the internet you can even find a blog post called “Snow Crash: Don’t Go to Your 50th High School Reunion,” where the author writes: My high school experience was not so great. It was a period in my life of great uncertainty, social isolation, and near-calamitous life choices. Somehow I pulled out of it in time, and I now think high school was something I survived, not something I enjoyed. The reunion did what I guess it should have— it reminded me that now is the most important time of my life, not the past.
What was more interesting were the comments to that blog post:
The biggest learning for me, overall, was that I was not the only student who felt alone back then, and that my isolation had much more to do with my circumstances than with myself or any malicious intentions on anyone else’s part.
This gave me the opportunity to take a good look at my life as it was, how far I have come and how thankful I am for how I live today. I have taken care of myself. My friend told me I was the best looking woman there. Nevertheless, a former jock who is now a sloppy, fat, bald man with a flowing beard said he couldn’t remember me when I tried to make conversation with him. A former cheer leader who is now barely moving and unrecognizable would not look at me or return a smile. I guess sometimes old habits never die. But guess what? I will be at next year’s reunion — as a reminder to them that people change, that exclusion gets you nowhere, that compared to them, I am now both jock and queen.
I had a huge graduating class of 800 students and assumed when I attended my 40th reunion that almost no one would remember me. To my utter astonishment, as I walked into the hall and up to the reception desk, several people called out my name and exclaimed they thought I hadn’t changed a bit! Since I had very few close friends in school, I asked them how they recognized me after all these years. I was quite moved to hear that many people thought I was very friendly and dressed fashionably in school. I won the prize that night for having the most marriages (3) and can’t wait to go to my 50th reunion after losing 30 lbs at Weight Watchers and reaching my high school weight and also now having been married 4 times!
I guess when I think about it, my own 50th was partly a matter of realizing my life over the intervening years had been pretty good relative to a number of others in my class…..
I’m in the mulling stage right now. Sorta want to go; sorta don’t really want to go. And sorta don’t want to spend the $1,000 to $1,500 it’s going to cost me, between airfare, hotel, rental car, event tickets, etc. On the plus side, I can’t help but think it’s got to be one of the more interesting experiences we can possibly have, i.e., seeing people we knew in kindergarten but fifty years later. I figure they’ll all look like they’re wearing stage make-up to appear older for a class play… if I do decide to go, it will mainly be to see just a handful of people I still care about — maybe five or six of them— and share that experience together.
It turned out to be an eye opener. It was like group therapy with the entire group feeling like they were not popular and basically having awful memories with the good. I couldn’t believe that these people I thought of as the popular group were as insecure as I was. I loved it! You know, misery in your teen years is just part of growing into an adult. I know high school was just a mixed bag, and I regret not being more sensitive to others, however I never thought a tone would think my approval mattered. I know I’m a better person, a more caring mom and citizen from my Twiggy moments. Ha! My girls think it’s hysterical I would be embarrassed by being too thin! I hope we get a really good attendance for our fiftieth, as I want to greet and congratulate all the classmates I grew up with, for just coming together. I admire especially the classmates that were gay, so hard to be different back then, and so stupid of us not to get it. There are always plenty of people that made me laugh, that I’d forgotten about. Just heard about a classmate that recently had a heart transplant.
Never sure in life what may happen in the future, but I love being in the present, and that means embracing the past, and looking forward to the future, and maybe finding a few old friendships along the way.
Reserve YOUR place at the Burbank High Class of 1968 / 50 Year Reunion today!
Check out the Class Website: www.burbankhigh1968.net
Thank you, Kathy, for the post. I wrote a post for my blog, http://www.lizzysalon.blogspot.com dated July 26, 2017 titled “A Tale of Two Cities” about growing up in Burbank. Although my BHS experience was good (I wish that I had applied myself more academically!), I’m keenly aware that not only did the attitudes of the time period affect one’s high school experience, but teen pressures are unfortunately timeless. We should all be glad that we went to high school before social media. Although I won’t be attending the reunion, I hope that there’s a good turn-out and that everyone will have a better, grown-up experience.