The appearance of my old pal Trent in the comments below reminds me: I’m fast approaching an altogether alarming milestone — the 20-year high school reunion.
Which means that I’ve lived (in my case, substantively, due to having been a year ahead in school) longer since graduating from high school than I had up to that day. Somehow that doesn’t seem possible; despite having all-too-readily kicked the dust of high school from my feet, with nary a glance backward, those four years seem in some sense too psychically present to be so far into the past.
I do a quick check of the intervening years: 4 years college, 3 years MFA program, 2 years in over-hyped “real world,” 5 years grad school, 6 years here at the College Just South of the Hill. The math works. It really has been 20 years. Impossible, and yet empirically so.
I’m planning on going home for the reunion, assuming I find out when it is. I missed the 10-year gathering, in part because I’d just re-started grad school, just moved to New York, and was excruciatingly broke. And in part because the list of the weekend’s events included a family picnic (“bring the kids!”), and I just wasn’t ready to see the folks who’d tormented and encouraged me, those kids, as breeders.
But immediately after the reunion passed, I started thinking about people who hadn’t crossed my mind in years, people who weren’t within my closest circle of friends and enemies, but who’d been in nearly every class I took for those four years, and who’d been the kind of acquaintance you expect always to see, whose absence can go unremarked for ages until suddenly you think — good grief — what ever happened to Amy Wise? Or Margot Engelmann? Or Tim Randolph?
It was an odd time to graduate from high school — Orwell’s year, Reagan’s year — not the ideal moment to feel yourself coming into adulthood, perhaps. But the years since have been really good to me, and I hope to much of the rest of the class of 1984, too. I’m finally ready to go back and find out where everyone is, offspring and all.
See you there, Trent.