High School Reunions: Don’t Say No

name tagsTime travel is exhausting. So I learned this weekend, revisiting high school classmates at our (gulp!) 45th reunion.

Aided by Google and Facebook, the organizers managed to track down and entice more than 60 of the first graduating class of Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio, to return for the latest of our now-and-again gatherings.

With yearbook photos and the women’s maiden names on the nametags, we squinted, then feigned instant recognition of brunettes who had long ago gone gray or blond. And over two days, we traded stories.

Some, healthy and accompanied by their original mates and sheafs of grandchild pictures, seemed to have led fairytale lives. Others recounted couplings and un-couplings worthy of a soap opera, chronic illnesses, and deaths even of children. Wisdom seemed to flow from these stories in direct proportion to the losses that drove them.

High school can be a painful time, and many resist revisiting it when the reunion notice arrives. But reconnecting with real people and their stories can be a broadening and perspective-altering experience. Never mind that you weren’t a cheerleader or the captain of the football team. It really doesn’t matter anymore.

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