Lessons from a Class Reunion

We attended our 40th high school reunion in Fort Stockton last weekend, and while it was a very enjoyable time, it was also confirmation that in some ways, you really can't go home again. A couple of lessons were learned.

Lesson #1: Boys will be boys. I'll never understand the attraction of breaking out a bottle of tequila - regardless of how exotic the brand - and posing with a raised glass (actually, a plastic cup) for a group photo. But that ritual was reenacted Saturday evening by the same group of guys who did it in high school (albeit without the premium brand, or digital recording).

Lesson #2: Survival is not a basis for close friendship.
If you weren't good friends in high school, you won't be good friends forty years later just because you show up for the reunion. We thoroughly enjoyed getting caught up with our classmates, and we were all cordial and genuinely glad to share the company. But after you've heard about kids, grandkids, parents, pets, and jobs, there's not a lot left to discuss. At that point, you revert to shared past experiences, and the old cliques become operative once more. The cool kids gravitate toward one another, just as they did four decades ago, and that inevitably means a few people land on the fringes. It's nobody's fault; it's just human nature.

The practical implication is that while we enjoyed visiting with people we hadn't seen since the last reunion, there's no great attraction to the suggestions that we all go on a cruise or have a get-together to celebrate a certain upcoming collective milestone birthday. True friendship is hard work, requiring a mutual investment of time and energy, and graduating from the same high school at the same time is, in and of itself, insufficient as a foundation for such a relationship.

I don't think any of our classmates read the Gazette, but in case any of them come across this, I want to stress that this is in no way meant to be a judgmental assessment of them. I think of all of them with fondness, and that fact that we never formed any deep, long-lasting bonds is more my fault than theirs.

Life takes us in different directions, and while the rare occasions when it brings our paths together are special, I feel no great desire to prolong them when other, more meaningful relationships await.

7 Comments

See...this is why I did not go to my 15 nor am I likely to go to my 20...the whole "if we weren't friends then, why would we be now" part, especially.

One of the joys of growing up and being finished with high school is having the ability to simply say no to being an outcast all over again. :)

I prefer to indulge in our football reunions (Rebel Football 1972) we hold in Midland every 5 years. I am sure it is because of the relationships that were forged under the most challenging times as young boys that continues to draw us close together. Having a successful season and losing to the eventual State Champions Odessa Permian in a hotly contested/close contest doesn't hurt to solidify those bonds. ( Oh by the way , We were Robbed!! ) ;) We are definitely Legends in our own minds.

I did attend our 30 year Class reunion back in '03 at the Green Tree and I found it very entertaining, but lacked the closeness and familiarity that I am accustomed to with football.

What I have found satisfying is establishing a Rebel Facebook Alumni site which has attracted several of our classmates as a sort of nexus for folks to re-establsh old relationship or discover new ones if that is what they desire. In some ways the site has become a virtual reunion that occurs on a daily basis. Though most of the relationships will never be extremely close, it is a life affirming excercise to read other classmates remarks and exchange thoughts about our common experiences when we attended Lee.

Anyone ready to circle around Love's Drive In?

Me? Jaded? Noooo! ;)

Though honestly, the friends I had in high school, I still actually keep in touch with fairly regularly. So I wasn't a total outcast. I've got 2 more years to decide on the 20th, so it could still happen. There is that curiosity factor to contend with.

Eric, I no longer drink flaming shots of tequila, as we did in college. I'd like to say it's because I've matured, grown wiser ... but actually, the addition of a moustache and beard has A LOT more to do with it.

:-)>

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on October 11, 2010 8:53 AM.

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