high school reunions

September 6, 1980

 

 

September 6, 1980 It’s too bad my 10-year high school reunion fell before John’s. If I’d been forced to attend his first, I would have had more empathy for him when we went to mine. Let’s just say, it’s not easy to attend a significant other’s high school reunion when you didn’t go to high school anywhere close to the same zip code.

John and me at my sister Joyce's wedding around this time.
John and me at my sister Joyce’s wedding around this time.

For a narcissist such as myself, it’s excruciating not to recognize anybody or be recognized; I was a ghost. Seemingly everybody in the place wanted to talk to John.  I had no idea who they were and they had no interest in me. On the bright side, it was excellent training for future office and legal dinners when everybody wants to talk cases with J and I can’t contribute as much as a crumb to the conversation.

John and I at someone else's wedding around this time.
John and me at someone else’s wedding around this time.

A spouse reconnecting with an old high school flame is a typical reunion challenge. For me, it would’ve been a mistake to panic – it brings out the worst. Besides, I could understand why J liked Jill. She was smart, pretty, classy. He wouldn’t meet me for five long years after graduating from high school – of course he fell for other girls.  As friends, they no doubt had a lot in common and genuinely liked each other. It would’ve been stupid and arbitrary to go nuclear crazy and possessive – “Don’t you dare talk to her!” Which isn’t to say I don’t get jealous. I do. But a little jealousy never killed anyone. There is, of course, more to this tale, but I’ll save it for another time.

John and I at my high school reunion, a year earlier. Apparently the photographer missed us at his reunion.
John and me at my high school reunion, a year earlier. Apparently the photographer missed us at his reunion.

February 14, 1981

February 14, 1981

 Prom Party Invitation

John and I in Mexico-themed photo booth with Co-hostess Anne Kurrasch
John and I in Mexico-themed photo booth with Co-hostess Anne Kurrasch

The invitation for this party (reproduced above) explains it all.  I wore the dress I actually wore to real proms in the sixties when I thought it was the most beautiful gown I’d ever seen. The style failed to age as well as I hoped – the dresses worn by most of the other female guests fared better (but I still got to be Prom Queen, an opportunity denied me in real life)

Kirk Hulstrom and Arthur Everett in character.
Kirk Hulstrom and Arthur Everett in character.

In this case, the photos are worth a thousand words so here are some of my favorites.

Ceiling stars and disco ball were more effective live than they appear in photos - I guess you had to be there.
Ceiling stars and disco ball were more effective live than they appear in photos – I guess you had to be there.
Joyce and John Salter (one of few people who look young enough to actually be in high school)
Joyce and John Salter (one of few people who look young enough to actually be in high school)
Bennett Traub with JJ Johnson - Danny and JoAnn Hill
Bennett Traub with JJ Johnson – JoAnn Hill and Danny
Kim Mistretta and Karen Hermann, the future Mrs. Art Everett (this was the night they met) & Ken Millikian and Steffani Graham
Kim Mistretta and Karen Hermann, the future Mrs. Art Everett (this was the night they met) & Ken Millikian and Steffani Graham
Some girls campaigned shamelessly to be elected Prom Queen (Anne Kurrasch and Bill Connell)
Some girls campaigned shamelessly to be elected Prom Queen (Anne Kurrasch and Bill Connell)
Don't judge Mr. Hulstrom too harshly. You'd be drinking too if you had to chaperone this thing. The photographer gets frisky with Joyce Salter and Denise Gail Williams.
Don’t judge Mr. Hulstrom too harshly. You’d be drinking too if you had to chaperone this thing. The photographer gets frisky with Joyce Salter and Denise Gail Williams.
You didn't hear it from me, but something's fishy with the Queen of the Prom ballots! (Diane Larson, Joyce Salter, Steffani Graham)
You didn’t hear it from me, but something’s fishy with the Queen of the Prom ballots! (Diane Larson, Joyce Salter, Steffani Graham)
Somebody dropped something! (Kathy Williamson, Kirk Hulstrom, Sharon and Russ Carpenter )
Somebody dropped something! (Kathy Williamson, Kirk Hulstrom, Sharon and Russ Carpenter )
Karen Hermann, Russ Carpenter, ??, Vicki Hill - Waiting to learn who will be crowned Prom Queen (me, Michael Wasserman, Melanie Sayler, Diane Larson plus people I can't identify)
Karen Hermann, Russ Carpenter, ??, Vicki Hill – Waiting to learn who will be crowned Prom Queen (me, Michael Wasserman, Melanie Sayler, Diane Larson plus people I can’t identify)
I was as surprised as everyone else when Mr. Hulstrom announced I was Prom Queen.
I was as surprised as everyone else when Mr. Hulstrom announced I was Prom Queen.
When you're a winner, you have to deal with the envy of others. (Sharon Grish, Father Dan) - Denise Trette, Gail Williams - a good time was had by all Joyce Salter, Michael Wasserman
When you’re a winner, you have to deal with the envy of others. (Sharon Grish, Father Dan) – Denise Trette, Gail Williams – a good time was had by all Joyce Salter, Michael Wasserman
Goodnight, John. Goodnight, Kathleen.
Goodnight, John. Goodnight, Kathleen.

September 8, 1979

September 8, 1979

With John at 10 year high school reunion
With John at 10 year high school reunion

Maybe some people go to their high school reunion with no motive other than to share a good time with old friends. Not me. I RSVP’d to show my former classmates I wasn’t the loser they remembered.  Just to be on the safe side, I brought an entourage – my sister Joyce, husband John, and two friends. Sure, it practically screamed insecure, but at least I wouldn’t wind up sitting at a table by myself. I wore my favorite outfit – an ill-advised Evan Picon vested skirt suit that failed to stand the test of time.

I wanted people to think I transcended high school but in truth I was obsessed with it – so much so that at age 29 I posed as a high school student and returned to Wilcox as a student for a brief spell – but that’s another story.

 

Disguised as high school student for my return enrollment at Wilcox in 1981. I hoped the huge hair would draw attention away from my face.
Disguised as high school student for my return enrollment at Wilcox in 1981. I hoped the huge hair would draw attention away from my face.

Suffice to say, it’s no coincidence that well over half of my scripts and teleplays concern high school kids. It became my specialty. It was easy to channel adolescent minds, because my own mind was mired in adolescence.  While I might be excessive, I’m not unique.

In Ralph Keyes’ excellent book Is There Life After High School, he distills his experience, research and interviews to three major points.

  • These memories focus on comparison of status and
  • High school is the source of indelible memories
  • Status comparisons continue long after graduation, in a society shaped fundamentally by high school
Big hair to compliment my chic ensemble

On the outside, I’d travelled far since high school but on the inside the neurotic outsider I used to be ran the show. I drank too much, talked too much, got too giddy and too grandiose.  The harder I tried to be one of the cool kids, the more I proved I was not.

These photos are, I think, cheats from later reunions.
These photos are, I think, cheats from later reunions.
Carolyn Sakuaye, Ruth Anderson and.....
Carolyn Sakuaye, Ruth Anderson and…..
Sandra Hegwood, Ray Prevost, Fred Hegwood
Sandra Hegwood, Ray Prevost, Steve Hoffman

 

September 4, 1967

 

September 4, 1967

16 and COOL!

 

Old friends

 

In 1967 I was 16; I thought they sang, “How terribly strange to be seventeen” Yeah, I felt ancient, like the best years of my life were already behind me.  When I turned 17, I’d officially be in my grave.

Thank God I was mistaken about that.  As time and life would prove, I was also wrong in  my belief that I’d become a lonely old lady, wandering closed shopping malls because I had nothing better to do. I didn’t have to be Eleanor Rigby.

Statue of Eleanor Rigby in Stanley Street, Liverpool. A plaque to the right describes it as "Dedicated to All the Lonely People"
Statue of Eleanor Rigby in Stanley Street, Liverpool. A plaque to the right describes it as “Dedicated to All the Lonely People”

It’s strange to revisit this entry almost fifty years after I wrote it.  The world changed in ways I couldn’t envision and yet much remains the same. I got one prediction right.  30 years, 40 years, now 50 years into the future, Sandy and I are still friends. As proof, I offer four photos of us sharing various times and places in our lives.

 

Sandy and Kathy

 

Note - Kathy is tan and Sandra is not, proof positive this photo was captured in an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE where everything is upside down.
NOTE – KATHY IS TAN, SANDRA IS NOT, PROOF POSITIVE THIS PHOTO WAS CAPTURED IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE  WHERE EVERYTHING IS UPSIDE DOWN.

 

NOTE - another hideous hair day for Kathy, proof positive photo was taken in real life on the planet Earth
NOTE – ANOTHER HIDEOUS HAIR DAY FOR KATHY, PROOF POSITIVE PHOTO WAS TAKEN IN REAL LIFE ON PLANET EARTH

 

Sandra was smart enough to just say NO to shoulder pads. Kathy, not so much.
SANDRA WAS SMART ENOUGH TO JUST SAY “NO” TO SHOULDER PADS. KATHY, NOT SO MUCH.

If Sandra and I lived in the same zip code, eventually we’d share geriatric adventures in our motorized wheelchairs.  We don’t, though. We haven’t lived within easy driving distance of each other since 1969, forcing each of us – individually – to find new ways to entertain ourselves. Another way to put it – we evolved into the people we were meant to be.  I wouldn’t have predicted she’d evolve into a Christian but it’s a perfect plot twist. Good film and TV writing always serves the audience something that wasn’t even on the menu, the last thing they expected.

Another Paul Simon lyric sums up my sentiments about time’s passage perfectly.

 

Bookends

 

 


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