Plenty of hugs to go around

The reunion was a huge success. Not only did I make it through the night without flashing my spanx or falling down, but had great fun, too.

As I mentioned before, I have reconnected with many people through Facebook but I haven’t seen them in person. Saturday was the night we finally got together, like we have been talking about doing since reconnecting, and just focused on having fun.

We danced and danced and danced and laughed our silly butts off. My legs, feet and abs hurt the next morning from all the dancing and laughing.

The one thing I was concerned about was not recognizing people or not remembering names. For most of them, had I run into them on the street somewhere I probably wouldn’t have recognized their faces, let alone remembered names. But because I saw the faces in context of the reunion, I immediately placed most everyone, as easily as I would have had I just left high school a year ago. I remembered who was friends with whom, who was stuck-up, who was funny and who was a nerd. But even the people who I was not close to in high school greeted me like we were long lost friends.

There was one girl though….oh my! The girl had half her teeth missing, showed up in blue jean shorts, a hot pink t-shirt and flip-flops. She handed hugs out to everyone she laid eyes on, proudly introduced her fiancé who works for the sewer department of Hammond, and had plenty of stories to share with whomever would listen. The problem was no one, and I mean NOT ONE PERSON, knew who the heck she was. When I saw her hugging someone else and greeting them by name, I said to Tonya, “Oh, well so and so must know her, they are hugging her.” Tonya turned and said, “Yeah, well she looked at my name tag, said TONYA!! Then she gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me how great it was to see me and I still don’t know who the hell she is.” I laughed, then handed her an anti-bacterial wipe for her face. J/k 🙂

But, she had fun, too. Whoever the hell she was.

The reunion crasher

The day after, as I thought about how meaningful the whole night really was, I couldn’t help but remember that there was a time I couldn’t wait to leave town and move away. I guess I knew the friends who I would stay in touch with and who would be a part of my life forever — Tonya and Lisa. I knew I’d miss them but that we’d always stay in touch. But I didn’t give much thought to the others. Not that I didn’t care about them, I just didn’t grasp the fact that after that day we wore our gaps and gowns and said goodbye, it would be 20 years before I would see them again. Sure I come back to town to visit, but it’s usually to visit family or for a specific event. And many of the others left town too, so it took a reunion to get us all together in one room again. But once we were there, in the poorly lit banquet room, eating our grilled chicken and green beans, I looked around at the familiar faces, remembering how many in the room had impacted my life in some way, big or small.

After spending a night just having fun and acting silly with the people I grew up with, it made me understand what it really means to come home. There’s something about being with the people who know where you come from that humbles you. It doesn’t matter to them where you are today, what you do for a living or what mistakes and bad decisions you have made over the years. We were all home, and that’s what mattered. I truly hope it’s not another 20 years before I see some of them again. I decided I am going to make an effort to keep in touch and schedule an occasional night out together.

At the start of the night, our class president, Amy, said that her dad, who was a teacher at our high school, had asked why, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, ect., we still need reunions.

“There’s no substitute for a hug,” Amy told her dad. I couldn’t agree more.




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About travelerontherun

I am a chronic adventurer who loves to see and experience new places. What I really love most is experiencing those places after parking my RV and lacing up my running shoes.
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