Over the weekend, I went to my high school reunion. 20 years since the El Toro High School class of 1992 parted ways. Man, two decades seems like a long time. I remember at my 10-year reunion I saw a 20-year reunion at the same hotel and thought those guys looked old. When I was in high school, they had a family day for my mom’s 20-year reunion and I thought her and her classmates were all a bunch of old grownups.
Well, now I guess I’m that old grownup. I had a great time, though. I was just another fish in the sea in high school, and I’m still just another fish in the sea now. I was pretty quiet and shy and didn’t do anything — good or bad. Didn’t make grades, only played sports for one semester (was a terrible football player freshman year and was academically ineligible the rest of the way), didn’t date much, didn’t drink or do drugs. When I say I didn’t do anything, I didn’t do anything.
I also didn’t make any enemies. I got along with everybody and knew just about everybody, but I didn’t know many people all that well. Still, these were the people I grew up with, so I figured why not go back for the reunion? I figured the risk of not enjoying it was worse than seeing after the fact that everybody had a great time and I missed it. So I went. And man am I glad I did. I could tell in the week or so leading up to the event that it was going to be a great time. We have a Facebook group and it really started buzzing with activity. I knew everybody was starting to get excited and anxious. Guys were asking where to drink before the event. I couldn’t help with that, because I quit drinking. Girls were asking what to wear. I was able to help with that because I’m a guy.
I wrote, Yeah, well, since this is a high school reunion page and it’s a bunch of women asking what they should wear, the 17-year-old boy in me was going to make some recommendations as a joke. But in my two-dimensional keyboard voice, that might come off creepy. So, I won’t say that the safe thing to wear is something super crazy hot.
We were all clowning around and ready to have fun. As corny as this sounds, if I had to describe the experience in one word, I say it was comforting. At the 10-year reunion, it seemed pretty competitive. Everybody was just getting rolling with their careers and wanted everybody to think that everything was great. This time, though, it was a lot more real.
There were people like me who have kids with disabilities. There were people with kids who are older than mine. People just getting going with their families. People dealing with divorce. People with struggling marriages. People struggling with finances. People doing well with finances. People looking good. We’ve all been around the block and nobody seemed to care a whole lot about what happened in high school.
It was fun reminiscing and catching up with people I hadn’t talked to since before Bill Clinton was elected to his first term. Heck, it was fun talking to people I really didn’t even talk to in junior high or high school. It was also fun looking at people and trying to place the name with face without looking at the name tag! I’d say I was about 80% successful in that department. But in a way, it was like high school never happened and everybody just wanted to know how everybody was doing. It’s like we’re all in a fraternity that nobody else can ever join. We all grew up together in Lake Forest, Calif., and we all graduated together on June 18, 1992.
The activity on Facebook this week reminds me of the buzz after the Boston Marathon every year. Everybody is still on a high and looking forward to the next one. We went 10 years between reunions, but it’s only going to be five this time around. We all caught up with old friends and made new friends with people we never were friends with before. And we can’t wait to do it again.
So I think that’s pretty much it. We had a blast. And I’d highly recommend you go to your 20-year when it rolls around if you’re younger than me!
Have you been to any high school reunions? Will you go to any? Am I old?