First, I should probably explain the lovely photo. I took a picture of a picture in my high school annual. The quality is very poor that way, but considering everything, that is probably okay. They were looking for candid photos of the seniors to put in the annual and you won’t get any more candid than this. I believe I was probably suggesting that photographer not take my photo unless he wanted me to insert my shorthand notebook in a very inconvenient place. Obviously, they were so scared of me that they not only took the picture, but splashed it on the senior candid page of the yearbook!
I suppose you might be wondering why I dug out this high school relic (the picture, not me) and chose to share it with you. Well, it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about those years when, instead of being the teacher, I was the student in high school. Those were not my finest hours and I don’t frequently get out my annuals to look back.
A recent encounter, however, with a former classmate, has got me to thinking about those glorious days. I have never attended a class reunion and I’m reminded with every photo in the album of why not. It boils down to vanity.
Let’s start with our physical appearance. Usually in high school we are still hoping to attract that potential mate of our future. If that is the case, we are striving to look good, stay slim, wear our hair attractively and for heaven’s sake, pile on the soap and water. When I look at this picture and then look in the mirror, I know that my body has not improved at all…although, I can still rock that expression when I’m annoyed!
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with my present body, but there’s something nightmarish about going to a reunion and having all those people who remember you as 17 and all those people you remember as 17, wandering around, looking for something recognizable in a crowd of old people! I kind of prefer to remember them as they were then and I think they might be a little surprised at my appearance as well. I don’t have all my own teeth anymore, but the upside is that I still have my hair!
Second, there is the “what have I done with my life” competition at a reunion. I feel satisfied with my accomplishments, but there are people out there who might look at me askance if I tell them that my finest hours have been spent wrestling the right grammar answers out of a bunch of teenagers. The only one I would really want to see at a high school reunion would be my old English teacher–so I could apologize!
I left high school vowing that I would not be attending reunions. I passed all my classes, annoyed all my teachers sufficiently, and I’m fairly sure that there was a collective sigh of relief as they handed me the diploma. This is sufficient!
Reunions are for nostalgic memories and I have to confess that there aren’t that many in my high school years. So when the reunions take place, I’m likely to keep my somewhat overweight, straggly, years-worn body away from there so I don’t have to register the shock on a former classmate’s face as they realize who I am, while my face is lit up with shock as I figure out who they are—if I can.
This summer, those high school reunions will take place and I doubt they will miss my short-tempered, life-jaded presence, but there is one thing I would like to say: Whoever took that photo that I have shared should be fortunate that my faulty memory doesn’t have it registered. Because, if I knew who it was…I still have that shorthand notebook!