I went to my high school reunion this weekend. It wasn’t your typical reunion because my old high school was closing its doors for good and all of the alumni from 1971 to 2017 attended. It was fascinating to go back and to walk the halls of my old school, to run into my old classmates and still call my teachers sir and ma automatically, even though I didn’t have to.
I didn’t hate high school, but I didn’t feel I ever fit in that well. I had a few group of friends throughout my years that I would regularly hang out with, but I also would bounce around amongst a few groups of friends I had made. I never formed that core group of high school friends who you still meet up with regularly to reminisce about the trouble you go into that some people I know have. University was the place I really flourished, formed life-long friendships and got into trouble.
Yet, when I got to my old high school and started to walk around I had flash backs of all of the memories I had made there. How I would try to sneak into the stairway to avoid being caught by a teacher for being late. The old lunch table I would sit at with my friends. The classroom I had Science in with a teacher who would constantly tell me to tuck in my shirt before I go into class. How we spent a whole winter outside most days because people wouldn’t stop pulling the fire alarm. I didn’t expect to have that flow of memories and feelings from walking through the halls of my high school, yet I did.
Seeing my old classmates was an interesting experience, some people hadn’t aged a day, others I didn’t recognize and there were some surprising revelations about the grown up versions of the classmates I remembered.
The signs of a place being packed up and closed where everywhere. Some classrooms where being used days before, but others had been emptied out weeks ago. Yet so many things were the same, the desks, the science labs and the library hadn’t changed at all.
We all had that little dream of showing up at our high school reunion as better, successful adults versions and making the ones who made us feel small in high school, feel awe or envy. I understand why some people don’t go to theirs. I might have felt that same way 6 months ago, yet, all I saw as happy reunions and new connections made all around me. And sometimes you have to go back to a place to put lingering feelings to bed.