Needing a name tag to know classmates
It is hard to know if it is an is an insult, compliment or a lie when someone tells you you haven’t changed. I kept hearing it tonight.
It’s Saturday, well technically it is early Sunday morning. I am writing this at my parents. It used to be that I would come home and have to turn off the lights in my parents’ bedroom and mom would say something to me to acknowledge my presence. Now the light is turned off and there is the presumption I got home OK.
I just got back from my 20-year high school reunion. I almost didn’t show up. I was wondering what the purpose was. I’m still not entirely certain, but I think a lot has to do with vanity.
It was better than I anticipated, but then as my friend Craig said, “If you arrive with low expectations, it can only be good.” Or something like that. He and I were on the school paper, so I don’t want to misquote him.
We had a class of nearly 500 and 200 or so of us returned to take a look at each other. I exchanged a few business cards — not really sure why.
Conversation was superficial. I really didn’t care about what they were doing or that many had only moved a few miles from our alma mater in Concord — Clayton Valley High School.
I had no interest in revisiting the past. And this despite that I liked high school for the most part. I think I found it more interesting that Shawn, who was co-captain of the tennis team with me in our senior year, no longer graces the court. Maybe I could finally beat her. Her mom, who was one of the good tennis moms, is still wielding a racket every day. I guess I’ll never beat Joyce. She is one of those rare adults who has a first name. Most it’s either Mr. or Mrs.
I was curious about a few people and they unfortunately were not there — friends from before high school. I got Doris’ address, so I’ll drop her line. I didn’t hear about Barbie.
I moved to California just as I was starting third grade, so some of this people I have known since then.
I swear I hugged more people in four hours than I have in the last year. And in that time I was called KK more times than I have been in the last 20 years. You see, when I was just beginning to talk I started to call myself KK because I could not pronounce Kathryn. Dad had wanted to call me Katie. That never happened.
I put KK on all my papers all through high school. Double K, no periods. When it came time to go to college I wanted something a little less juvenile and came up with Kae. I had to do something with the spelling to be difficult. Now I respond to just about anything.
I’m staring at my name tag from tonight. It has my senior photo on it. In it I have a perm and it’s a tad longer than I wear it now. I don’t think anyone was really thinking I still look 17, but I sure as heck look a lot younger than some of my classmates. My gawd, there was a huge percentage who looked at least 10 years older than we are.
I walked by one guy thinking he was a teacher only to find out he graduated with the rest of us. Many of the men have little or no hair. Some of the woman look matronly, others had boob jobs.
I’ll admit I sweated over what to wear to the event. I even consulted my mom — after all she is well versed in this reunion business. She and dad were high school sweet hearts and will be going to their 50-year next month. I told you it’s all about vanity — even 20 years later. Maybe at 30 years we will have grown up a bit more.
No one in my class has a household name; though one woman was married to Rob Lowe and is now doing some singing. I have a story about her from elementary school ….
There’s a guy still in Hollywood. He was a rail in high school, but now has filled out and has funky long hair. Rumor has it his hands were used in the movie starring Tom Cruise in the race car movie. Which scene I don’t know.
There are a few doctors — male and female. Countless moms and dads. A few others are rumored to have scored in the dot-com craze.
I must admit many people were jealous to know I am living in Tahoe. Our class has a Web site and I had not updated it since my move up to the mountains. I worked up a little sweat grooving to the beat of the ’80s. Yep, I still think that is real music.
Will I go to another reunion? Probably. As one guy put it, there is a bond, a trust that you form with people during those critical years in high school that you just don’t have later in life. It was nice to have the pettiness gone that was so prevalent at the five-year reunion. I skipped the 10-year.
I remember earlier this summer hearing so many good things about the South Tahoe High School 50-year extravaganza. It makes me wonder what it would be like to have a multi-class reunion. So many people said it was just good to see people. I guess that is the root of reunions. To reconnect. And for that, it was worth it.
— Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 541-3880, ext. 251.
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