high school reunions

Sunday afternoon I decided to check out the new Milwaukee Whole Foods. As I walked in and grabbed a shopping basket, I heard someone behind me say, “Did you go to Brookfield East?” I immediately recognized him as Sid Bedi, a brilliant guy I had a lot of classes with in middle and high school. It was so bizarre, had he not come up and said something about Brookfield East, I might have seen him and not been able to place him. It’s been almost 14 years since I started high school. Cliche alert: man, how the time has flown. Next spring I assume, I will attend my 10-year high school reunion.

We chatted for a few awkward moments, neither of us expecting a full-blown catch-up in the middle of a crowded grocery store, but I left the conversation wondering what was the etiquette is in such situations. I was genuinely interested in what he has been doing the last, oh my god, 9.5 years since our high school graduation. I mentioned I was married because he asked what my last name had been and then he pointed out the friend he was with, a girl who if I remember correctly he had dated seriously back then and I think had a child with. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized the 10-year-old boy with them, his skin tone a perfect mean of Sid’s brown and Angie’s pale coloring, was almost definitely their son.

In the past week or so I have spent a little time making a rudimentary myspace page. I find myspace a little sickening and an extremely stupid means of communication among close friends, but with people I meet through Immigrate2US.net it seems perfectly appropriate. I decided to post a few pictures and check out the profiles of some of the other women I have met on that site during the occasional bout of rainy night boredom. Before long, I realized there was a way to search for people that were say, 26 to 28 years old and graduated from Brookfield East. I found probably five people that were listed as graduating in 1997 who I could not recognize for the life of me, and a few old friends.

One is Jessie Franklin, who my dad might remember. We go way back to Tonawanda Elementary School and an infamous sleepover party I had when she inadvertantly opened my underwear drawer and pulled out some of my unmentionables. My behavior seems insane now, but I remember being very upset, crying and wailing “Dad, Jessie opened my underwear drawer, Jessie went in my underwear drawer!” until my dad came into calm me down. Until I saw her picture last night on myspace, I hadn’t thought of her or the underwear incident in years and years. I sent Jessie a message referencing the underwear and saying hi, she responded this morning laughing in memory as well as letting me know that indeed, plans for our 10-year high school reunion are now in full swing. She said there is actually an excel spreadsheet circulating that lists everyone’s name, address and what they are doing. I can’t wait to see it!

Another person I found was former soccer colleage Theresa Brucks. Back when my dad was a very new soccer coach we played on the Elm Grove community leagues together. She was very good, I was very average. I dropped out of soccer when I was a sophomore at East to pursue things I was better at and I think she went on to play varsity all four years. It seems she is married now, has a son and is going to college. It’s so funny to see a photo of someone you knew as a kid and have to look at it a few minutes to figure out who they are.

Besides a few close friends, I don’t really keep in touch with many people I graduated with. I have found out through the grapevine that a girl I knew named Heather is also married to a Mexican named Fermin (which is a fairly unusual name) and I have heard a few obnoxious stories of bar encounters between the formerly “popular” people and some friends I loosely keep in touch with. For me, high school seems faraway and a bit strange. I’m not sure who I was then, but I know it’s quite distinct from who I am now.

I just can’t believe I’ll be attending a 10-year high school reunion next spring. I’m excited actually. I think I’m a much more well-rounded, interesting person than I was in high school and there’s really nothing I regret nor anyone I wouldn’t want to see. Jessie mentioned there are people who are die-hard against having a reunion, which I really don’t understand. I suppose if you hated everyone in high school or did a lot of things you wish you could take back it might be different, but I look forward to hearing what everyone is doing, who they are with and where they are at. I see it as a chance to reconnect with people among whom there exists a vague solidarity induced by enduring Mr. Cavender’s speech class, or Mr. Hagman’s advanced biology bug-collecting, or reciting Canterbury Tales for British literature. I would hope most of us are above cliques and petty high school fights and can interact and catch up like reasonable people. Perhaps that’s too much to ask, but one can always hope.

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4 Responses to high school reunions

  1. Jack says:

    I do remember Jessie Franklin Laura, although I don’t remember the incident you mention with the underwear. I remember that her mother brought her over one day or picked her up, and I asked her out, and we went out once or maybe twice. That was shortly after my divorce. I also remember Theresa very well. I coached her the first year or 2 that I was a coach, and she was very good. I think she was good enough to play on a boys team, but that wasn’t allowed back then at that age.

    I trust your 10 yr reunion will be better than mine was. It was over at some steak house on Bluemound, and I went alone, and I remember everyone looked so unfamiliar. It was very awkward for me, and I left before dinner. (I was rather introverted in those days).

  2. laurafern says:

    That’s funny.. I kind of remember that you went on a date and I told Jessie we could be sisters. Ha! Anyway, I think the reunion will be fun, I just can’t believe it’s already been 10 years!

  3. Adrianne says:

    I’m looking forward to the reunion, too, which is a little strange considering how much I hated high school when I was there. I think that I’ve changed quite a bit and am looking forward just to seeing what people are up to. I may have to run through my yearbook before then because I don’t remember many people besides the ones I spent a lot of time with. It took me a good day to figure out who Jessie Franklin is (long, dark hair…right?).

  4. laurafern says:

    I am going to have to study the yearbook a bit too – I think there’s a good chance I might call someone by the wrong name or just inappropriately forget someone’s name that I should know. Anyway, I’m glad you’ll be making the trip here – btw – when are you due again?? Oh yes, Jessie Franklin has/had long dark hair.

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