Last weekend I went to my 20th high school reunion. It was an event that I’d built up to be A THING in my head, one I was both nervous about and looking forward to. It turned out to be less “A THING” and more a pleasant evening spent with a handful of people I have much affection for and haven’t seen in several years.
I grew up in a small town and graduated with just under 100 people, the majority of whom I’d known since preschool or kindergarten. We certainly didn’t spend those formative years always holding hands and singing Kumbaya, but overall we were a pretty tight-knit group of kids for most of our young lives. Facebook provides a surface-level knowledge of what everyone is up to (or at least what their kids look like), but there’s something to be said about putting your arms around an old friend and hugging her neck.
It was a fun night that included some reminiscing, some revelations, and lots of hugs and laughter. I’m glad I went (and may have volunteered to help plan a bigger, better event when we do it again in five years).
However. One moment did surprise me — and not in a good way.
A classmate’s wife walked up to me pretty early in the evening. I’d said hello when they arrived but hadn’t had a chance to chat yet. She stopped in front of me and said, “So, my husband tells me you were the class valedictorian.” A little taken aback by her tone and not sure where this conversation was going, I said, “Yes, I was.” She then said the very words that I ask myself in my lowest moments. She said, with a big laugh as if we were all in on the joke, “Well, what have you done with that since graduation?”