I’ve wanted to write an essay with this title for a long time. Since my 20th high school reunion, in fact.
I wasn’t going to go, but I impulsively turned in my registration in a wave of nostalgia and curiosity.
I was fortunate to have a group of girlfriends who made high school bearable, and even fun a good deal of the time. They folded me into a warm embrace of belonging, unknowingly keeping me standing when my home life knocked me down. Being in the group insulated me from bullies most of the time and helped me avoid the many pitfalls of teenage life, from skipping school (okay, so Lisa and I snuck out one afternoon…) to drugs and alcohol. We got good grades, played sports, led a variety of clubs, and played in band. The extent of our hooliganism consisted of scamming our teachers for hall passes, pulling sodas out of the soda machine with a yardstick, and tricking our band teacher into letting us out early so we could be first in the lunch line. We had sleepovers, went roller skating, cruised around the square of the nearest big town hoping for something nameless but wonderful to happen. As we took photos on graduation day, arms around each other, I knew for certain that we never would be together again like that. And we never were. Read more