I actually began this blog post a few months ago.
I was feeling a bit sentimental and frustrated that my class wouldn’t be getting together for the typical 20-year high school reunion. Granted, there’s never been anything typical about the BCHS Class of 1997, but I honestly thought if there was any group of students who could pull off getting together to mark such a momentous occasion, it’d be us.
But, no reunion plans have been made and life has a funny way of propelling 37, now 36, people off into different directions, making it next to impossible to wrangle together an official function. And make no mistake – in my head, it’d be a “THING”; no casual get-together would suffice in my book. I’ve always felt like, if people are going to travel from far and wide and go through such an effort to make time in their lives, they at least deserve to get dressed up and have a nice dinner.
To help cope and feel like I got to experience some sort of Reunion Occasion, I started making up a fake recreation of how I could see the event going in my head. If you’re a fellow BCHS alum, maybe you can read this and feel a similar experience. If you’re a normal blog reader and think I’m crazy for even WANTING to experience a 20-year reunion, well, yeah. You’re probably right.
Jenny’s 20 Year Class Reunion Checklist
6 months out:
Zero tasks. Let’s face it, you probably won’t get six months advance notice before the event.
3 months out:
- Buy at least five different outfits for yourself, your boyfriend and your children and plan on staying awake at night as you imagine which ones you’ll actually get a chance to wear
- Start thinking about exercising and/or clever ways to disguise the reality that you are indeed, 20 years older, inhabit a body that’s given birth to two children, and still hate to eat vegetables
- Research the healing time required for a nose job and that new “Freeze the Fat Away” treatment
- Curse the limitations of modern plastic surgery and body modifications
- Make all your travel arrangements and get a little reminiscent when you realize that this will be the first time heading to Lancaster when you can’t just stay at your parents’ house. A hotel-stay in Lancaster? Weird.
- Start going through your dog-eared yearbook from senior year and realize just how inflexible you’ve become in your old age
- Sign up for yoga or Pilates or something that will make you feel like you could attempt a cheerleading jump without pulling a muscle or throwing out your back
1 month out:
- Sort through photos requested for a digital photo collage that will be running during the cocktail reception and be sure to choose ones where you don’t have that weird neck-thing or look like you’re trying too hard to be cute
- Start a new hobby during those sleepless nights where you’re lying awake and wondering just how amazing and/or awful this event will end up being. What if everyone else remembers high school from a totally different perspective as you and you were actually a huge jerk that no one liked? What if people starts reminiscing about that one time when a large group of baseball players used to just refer to you in the locker room as “whore” and your friends who knew better were too scared to step up and say anything and risk high-school-popularity-banishment?
- Maybe crocheting would be a good choice. Or air plants. Can air plants be a hobby?
Night of the Dinner Event:
- Stare at yourself in the mirror and remember that every time you think you can duplicate those YouTube updo hair tutorials, it usually ends in tears
- Remind your children to be cool and not drive their sitter crazy and no, they may not have soda with caffeine tonight. They have to get good rest and not be all sugar-sick so they can function as perfect, clear-eyed little humans during the family-event the next day
- Remind the kids: DON’T GET ANY WEIRD BRUISES TONIGHT–ESPECIALLY ON YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACES! We don’t want any of the hundreds of photos taken tomorrow to show that you’re an actual human-child that excels in running, playing, getting dirty, and wriggling. #JustBeCool
- Arrive at the dinner event on time, but not too on time which would cause you to appear overly excited and eager. You are not Patty Simcox from Grease. Let’s be honest you’re probably not “Sandra Dee” anymore either, but “Rizzo” or “Marty”? Sure, why not?
- Find the bar
- During your first drink of the evening, realize that drinking may be offensive to some of your old classmates and teachers and wonder if you’ve just labeled yourself to that section of the room as a “Backslider”
- Remember that you’re divorced, really enjoy saying bad words out loud and that you are a highly functioning adult who’s not a teenager who can get in trouble anymore. High-five your boyfriend
- Finish drink number one
- Eat salad and grilled chicken while avoiding the mushroom demi glaze. Skip the rolls too, as they’re always cold, even when wrapped up in a napkin-lined basket. Plus, reaching for the bread will probably make your upper arm do that jiggly thing you’re hoping to avoid tonight
- Start your second drink
- Give a look to your boyfriend that says: You are the best boyfriend ever to agree to come to this reunion with me and I’m sorry that girl’s husband won’t stop talking about politics. You are being super classy about it. I can’t wait to get back to our hotel room later and rehash everything with you, including that weird hug that one guy gave me and that strange neon outfit that other guy’s wife ended up wearing
- Get swept up in all the crazy life-stories that these people could manage to have in the past 20 years. Be sad when they talk about the loss and tragedies. Be happy when you see how much joy can fill the room as people talk about their families and the people they’re in love with. Breathe. But not too much where you slouch and let the mom-figure show. Keep that crap on lockdown
- Get a little teary-eyed when the photos of Joe come on the slideshow and raise your glass when everyone offers a toast to his memory
- Make awkward eye contact with Becky during the dance floor time that says: Did you practice the dance routine from “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” too? You did? ME TOO! Should we do it? Yes! Ready? Five…six…seven…and EIGHT!
- Ignore the fact that your heels are pinching your toes and you have a new blister on your heel. You are not a “Dance barefoot because it’s more comfortable and realistic” person; You are a “Suck it up and keep those shoes on because they look amazing” person.
- Take your shoes off as soon as your boyfriend gets you into the car and sigh like you’re the happiest Cinderella-After-the-Ball girl in the world
Day of the Family Tailgate Event / Homecoming Football Game:
- Wake up to texts from your old classmates about how much fun they had the night before. Lots of you exchanged numbers last night and there’s been an ongoing text thread that’s been blowing your phone up since 3am.
- Find bobby pins in the huge rat’s nest of an updo that you could have sworn you took out the night before
- Drink water. They’re not kidding about this whole “High Desert” thing. Damn. Still dry here, even after 20 years – go figure
- Delight in the fact that your kids are super-excited about the family tailgate event this afternoon and managed to stay bruise-free the night before. Get ready to iron the clothes you brought for them, even though you know Violet will end up spilling something on the front of her white dress within three minutes of arrival and Jackson will manage to fall in that one weird mud puddle by the gym that has never fully dried up in 20 years.
- Pack their back up outfits as well
- Point out what a Joshua tree is to your kids on the way to the school. Laugh as your boyfriend immediately starts singing U2.
- Pull in to the school and get confused by how they’ve decided to direct the flow of traffic now.
- Bore your children with tales of the playground of your youth and that weird “Fifth Bar” that no one was allowed to climb on.
- Explain, in detail, how to do a Cherry Drop
- Start worrying about how your children will probably attempt to do a Cherry Drop when you aren’t looking and and worry they won’t be able to pull one off without fracturing something. Feel ashamed for never enrolling them in gymnastics lessons.
- Get out of the car after one more quick reminder to the kids to “Be kind. Be chill. Don’t bicker in front of everyone. Violet, stop biting your nails. Jackson, what do you mean ‘You forgot to brush your teeth’? Gross. Here’s some gum, jeez.”
- Take a quick detour to the bathroom in the gym and laugh as Violet gets totally distracted by the eternal mirror reflections. Still choose the same stall on the right, second from the last. Remember that one time you dropped your brand new Koosh ball in that same toilet when you were little and how bummed you were.
- Join the family event outside with everyone and be amazed at how many adorable children there are and how similar they are to your old classmates!
- Eat delicious BBQ in the old school parking lot and put your blanket down on the bleachers where everyone will be watching the game later
- Totally overwhelm the rickety old bleachers while everyone piles on and around them to watch the Homecoming game. Notice the cheerleaders may have new uniforms, but that they’re still doing some of the same cheers you used to do
- Sit there, holding your breath as you watch them attempt pyramids and lifts in the end zone after a touchdown. Being a parent makes you way more nervous as you watch their shaky little arms and legs attempt to hold someone else in the air, precariously close to a huge group of teenage boys in football gear who are running full-speed, blindly, in their direction. What the heck were we thinking back then?
- Agree to let your children go romp around on the playground with some of the other Class of ‘97’s kids
- Regret, again, mentioning anything about a Cherry Drop playground trick and start thinking about how much the “Out of Network” urgent care bills will be
- Lots of hugs, smiles and maybe even some tears come at the end (and not just from my over-tired children) – Let’s be sure to do this again for year-30, OK?