Tuesday, July 8, 2008

of green plaid jumpers and high school yearbooks

It's a strange swirly series of events that have brought me here tonight, thinking about this girl.

Chip has been a little nostalgic about his high school classmates, ever since we started watching this guy on tv. They went to school together, and it naturally started Chip down the road of wondering where people are - what they've been doing - and more specifically how they're doing. He's incredibly proud of the folks he's heard from, and those that he's watching from afar. Our friend Emily (also an old schoolmate of Chip's) started a blog just for their graduating class, to help them all connect with one another.

I'm a little sad to say that I can't begin to relate to this desire to track down old pals, to see old friends, to know what they've been doing, to revel in their successes and offer support for their challenges. On the whole, my high school experience was decent enough. I had friends. I did stuff. I drove my parents CRAZY. But once I walked through those gates and left the lockers and the weird smelling gym behind, I seriously LEFT IT ALL BEHIND. With only a couple of rare exceptions, I haven't talked to a single person I knew back then. I didn't follow anyone's exploits through college. I didn't receive any wedding announcements. I don't get any baby pictures from high school friends. I haven't joined any of those classmate sites. I haven't even CHECKED. I haven't ever googled anyone. I haven't searched Facebook or MySpace. I just... have no desire to do it. I don't know what I'd say. I don't think I have the equipment to start a conversation that ended sixteen years ago.

... Okay, I just deleted a few longish paragraphs that went into WAY too much detail about boring stuff that basically amounted to this: I'm a weird bird, yo. And for some reason, I've never been curious about people I knew when I was 17. I think I thought it would be too painful or something. But time passes. And things change. And we get married. And we have babies. And a whole other bunch of stuff happens that doesn't define us, but it molds us - changes us - turns us into the people we are today.

I look back at This Girl up at the top of the page. I think about her, about her dreams for her future, about her imaginings for career and family and life in general. I know that she didn't quite imagine the me I've become. I know that she never imagined the hard stuff, just like she never imagined the AMAZING stuff either. But I love that little girl. She had spunk and optimism and a fierce love for the world and everything in it. The kids from high school, I am beginning to think of them in the same way, knowing that the people they were then is a rippling echo into this our present.

Suddenly, there isn't anything wrong with a little curiosity.


Fiona Picklebottom said...

I'm kind of like you - haven't stayed in touch with anyone from high school or college. Once in a while I get an email and I'll reply, but that's as far as it goes. My 20-year high school reunion is coming up next year and I can't decide whether to go. I mean, I'm interested in what everyone has done since then, but I'm not sure I have the energy to go through the motions of hi, how are you, you look great, what have you been up to, blah blah blah ad nauseum. Can't everyone just send me an update email and be done with it?

I actually toyed with the idea of starting a blog for the graduating year of my high school, where everyone could do just that - send an update along with contact info if they wanted to - and I would post it. I even went so far as to get the blogs. Then I realized that I don't care enough to bother and even if I DID care enough, I'm too lazy for the required follow-through. :) Sad, I know, but there it is.

The Wife said...



Is it lack of growth on my part that I still have NO wish whatsoever to talk to those people again? But then, I hated (and I mean HATED) my high school experience from the painful, awkward beginning to the mutinous end. It was nothing but a breeding ground for misery for me. I had 2 maybe 3 real friends who were genuine, kind, thinking people; but the rest? Not so much.

I've never gone looking for them and thankfully, they have never come looking for me.

I was not the best version of myself and I don't care to be reminded of the choices I made then...but that could very well just be me. I'm kind of odd that way.

Pickles & Dimes said...

This is interesting. I'm like you; I have no desire to catch up with classmates. I signed up for classmates.com about 8 or 9 years ago at my ex's insistence, but whenever I get email updates, I never go check to see who's looked at my bio.

And since I don't have kids and 99% of my classmates DO, I just don't even know what we'd have in common anymore. I don't enjoy relishing the "good old days" because I find it tedious and boring and somewhat desperate. (And I was a "popular" kid; a good student, winner of all kinds of awards, and a 3-sport athlete.)

It's 16 years later. We're different; we've changed. And for those who haven't, well, that's sad to me and I don't want to know about it.

Chip said...

Can you imagine a world full of cabbage patch families driving around in Barbie's Corvette, living magically in backyard patios, making their food all day in an Easy Bake... (I love my whimsy)

ok maybe that wouldn't be so bad, but I am glad our perspectives have changed. And really I am proud of anyone who has achieved, failed, got back up, achieved, failed, got back up, etc. School is just awkward, because its hard for a person to know who they are, and what they really want. All you would hear from school is to say no to peer pressure, and yet I would have found it more valuable to learn how to deal with identity. I probably wouldn't have played football, and would have spent more time in the math dept. (one of my friends took the "Career Interest" test in the 11th grade, which slated him to be a garbage man - No Kiddin - last I heard from his dad, he is a CPA...)

Paraphrasing Rob from the movie Swingers, "All the stuff that didn't kill us has brought us to this point". No one has walked our path, but we are alive with the power to choose our next move according to our own responsibilities.

I'm really proud of Jason. He was a great guy and friend when I knew him growing up. The guy is divorced with a son. And America loves him because he is a good father who loves his son.

Whimsy said...

I've been thinking about this post since I put it up last night, and I know that I'm not quite done with these thoughts. They aren't yet solidified into something that would resemble a Change of Heart - so let me add that even though my high school experience was "decent", on the inside - the places around my heart - it was AWFUL. In retrospect, I know that I hated it. But if I actually take my head back there, to that time - if I asked that girl if she hated her life, she would have said no. She would have said that it was decent, that she had a few friends and that they made her laugh. She would tell you that she gets by.

Come to think of it, we might have to interview that girl sometime soon. Because I want to talk to her again.

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one with an aversion to high school. In the end, I guess we have to decide if curiosity is really worth the price of admission.

stacie d said...

I thought I wanted to get in touch with old classmates...until my 10 year reunion. Then I realized I have nothing to say to these people!! I just want to know what they're doing, see what they look like & call it a day. That's the beauty of Facebook!! You can be nosey and not have to talk. Perfect!

By the way, Chip...you owe me Jason! Remember our deal??!

wandering nana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wandering nana said...

That is the cutest picture. Hey, my 40th reunion was suppose to be this year. We actually had a guy that was suppose to be in charge of our reunions. Well needless to say, there have only been 2. I haven't heard a word about the 40th but like you I have lost touch with friends (about 10 yrs ago) and since I no longer live in Utah I am sure if there is a LOST list, I am on it. I loved high school and was totally involved in things. I had friends and really a good time, but after attending my 10th I decided those that showed up were not people I really cared to know "what are you doing now." I do wish I had kept in touch with some of my friends and we did until the children got older and life became too busy. It's nice to move on so we can meet wonderful new friends like you.

emily said...

i'm interested by this post ... i find it hard to understand the aversion to HS ... it was honestly some of the most fun i had up to that point in my life! i look back with fond memories and think of all the great fun i had, all the friends that i knew, all the boyfriends i DIDN'T have and the shaping my life did. i love to reminise - mostly because i can't really remember the bad stuff ... i don't really recall all the terrible rumors that went around and the hurt feelings i know i had - i can't remember why i didn't get along with some of the people i see in my yearbook - i just remember the FUN! and i think that's one of the things that has shaped my life to this point: being able to forget the bad and only remember the good. it's funny too - getting back in touch with old pals - they can't remember a lot either and i get the feeling that just having that HS connection is enough to have a decent 'how are you and what are you up to these days' kind of conversation. i ran into joe hughes at the park with his 2 adorable little girls tonight and we chatted for a good 20 minutes and i hope i run into him again. we weren't the best of friends back then and i think i can count on one finger the amount of times that we sat down (back then) and talked to each other ... we mostly just knew OF each other. but all that doesn't matter now!
having Jason on TV has taken me down memory lane too and I love to hang out there and remember - i get butterflies and tears still just thinking about some of those experiences ... but i love it all!!
i think i need to post about this too ... thanks for the inspiration!

artemisia said...

Oh, this is lovely. I wouldn't have been so thoughtful about it.

I haven't kept in touch with anyone except the woman I've known since I was two, and then I sporadically keep in touch with another girlfriend.

I didn't consider going to my 10-year reunion. I wasn't making a point not to go - I just had NO DESIRE WHATSOEVER. And my time in HS was fine; I had friends, I was involved in activities and art and blah blah blah.

It is just that was 14 years ago and this is now, you know?

artemisia said...

P.S. Adorable photo, by the way.

tearese said...

Its weird when you find people on line. Like...a few people I knew from highschool recently started commenting on my blog, and I just havent even thought about them in ten or eleven years. But I do google people sometimes to find out where they are.