High School Reunion
Went to my 35th high school reunion last night. I have no words for how wonderful it was to see those people, many of whom I had not seen since cap and gown day. Most of them seemed happy and healthy—but then, people don’t tend to go to reunions unless they can hold their heads up. In a few cases, you could see the effects of stress on their lives. I have no interest in bringing up names, but there were instances in which old friends or classmates had had hard, challenging lives. And we let each other know that small kindnesses along the way had made a huge difference. There were women I’d had terrible crushes on: Sonja Douglas, Donna Bostic, a few others. Wonderful to see them looking so well. Hell, it would have been good to see them under any circumstances. A lady named Denise Brown who had been kind to me in junior high school. She and her friend Brenda Merriweather I had considered Golden Goddesses, back in my geekiest days. I had no real sense of self then. And they were kind to me. They thought I was smart and cute and funny, and their smiles and hugs gave me hope that one day women of such class might actually be attracted to me. Maybe. It gave me hope. It was such an incredible, empowering experience. We were all survivors. And some of us had thrived. And there were pictures of some of those who hadn’t made it, and I’m telling you, I got a lump in my throat. I saw my old friend Howard Kokubun’s picture. Howard was smart and good and athletic, my best friend for years, although we grew apart. He was simply a good human being. But not lucky. He died in a motorcycle accident not eight years out of high school. Damn.
Treasure the people you meet along the way. They all have things to teach, they all have a story to tell. Each has walked a long way, and some are tired and need a hand, or even a smile from someone who remembers them from better days. Give all the love you can—there is never enough of that in the world. And believe me: small kindnesses are remembered, even thirty-five years later.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
High School Reunion
Posted by Steven Barnes at 11:07 AM