Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Friends Forever

I’ve done it.

I’ve grown old.

I came to this realization the other night when I caught up with some of the coolest, most fun people I’ve known in my life.

And even though I hadn’t seen most of them in about 25 years, we were instantly comfortable with each other.

Yes, I went to a school reunion.

It was a first for me.

Now, of course I would have loved the chance to drop a few kilos, undergo some cosmetic surgery, and perhaps get a Trinny and Susannah-style makeover.

Of course, I didn’t have the time or the money for said makeover, but in the end it didn’t matter.

Because these were people who knew me way back when, at a time when we were works unfinished. There was no need to impress, the only requirement was to be there. And, just as I was in school days, to be accepted for being who I am.

These were people who knew me in simpler times. Times when we were all full of life, and hope, and dreams. We knew who we were, weren’t shy about expressing our feelings, and our friends were like family.

Oh, and don’t forget, we thought we knew it all!

We were the class of 1985 at Kingaroy State High School, and quite frankly, we rocked.

To my great delight, I’m pretty sure we still do.

Yes, the years have added or taken away, hair, kilos, and innocence.

Some of us have lost loved ones, and added them, in the form of partners, parents, and kids.

We’ve all been on amazing journeys: Good, bad, beautiful, and at times ugly.

In 2010, there was something really lovely and comforting about catching up on old times with people with whom I once shared so much.

Due to the magic of Facebook, and the enthusiasm and organisation of former-KSHS student Ros Westman (nee Dahms), a bunch of us gathered at the Kingaroy Hotel Motel for the occasion.

The pub, like Kingaroy, has had a makeover since we attended school there. (Erm, in Kingaroy, not at the pub. 'Cos it would be weird to go to school at a pub!)

Anyway. There was food, drinks, good company, and, thanks to Ros, loads of 80s music to enjoy. And who could ever have imagined that one could eat sushi at Kingaroy?

At one stage, a few of us realized we couldn’t hear each other over the music. We loved it, but we also wanted to chat without straining our vocal cords. And so, to my great embarrassment and shame, I went to the bar and asked for the unthinkeable: For the music to be turned DOWN.

“Oh my God, we’re old,” a couple of people shouted.

And so we are. Well, kind of.

Who knew, as we parted in 1985, with signed and torn school shirts, drenched in water from our very last water fight, that life would suck quite so much? Or that it would, at other times, be too wonderful for words?

That we would experience great joy and great losses, make dreams come true, and at times, experience nightmares?

In the interests of protecting the privacy of those involved, I won’t go into details.

Suffice it to say that among us, at least one of us would die, sadly, violently and at the hands of another human being. Saddened, we remembered that person with great affection, knowing how much she would have enjoyed being a part of the reunion, since her lovely mother sent a message expressing just that and wishing us well. RIP my friend.

As the years passed, some of us would marry and divorce, and either go in for a second round or swear off romance for life.

A few would escape violent and/or dysfunctional relationships; others would fall in love with wonderful partners - some sooner than others, some later.

Some peeps would stay resolutely single, others would change orientation completely.

Since graduating, a few of us have lost parents or are involved in caring for them. Others have endured terrible accidents or illnesses.

Some of us have kids of our own, while others have furry babies as well as or instead of human ones. At least one of us will soon be a groovy grandparent!

I’m proud to say, most of us have achieved and even excelled in our chosen professions.

Best of all, despite our rollercoaster-rides since high school, we are still basically the same people. Perhaps older, wiser, greyer, thinner, balder, fitter and/or wider.

That night, we giggled and gossiped about fab teachers, and crap ones; about crushes and first loves; and how we probably learned more about sex from the pages of Cosmo and Cleo than biology class.

And for one night, we remembered a side of ourselves that perhaps we’d forgotten.

In December 1985, a few of us promised we would be friends forever. I’m so glad to have reconnected with those friends, and for what it’s worth, I keep my promises.
Classmates from 1985 in 2010
And the way we were ... on stage in Man Of Steel
I'm the chick with red hair!
So readers, have you stayed in touch with school friends, and/or would you ever go to a school reunion?


Unknown said...

Awesome post :) I missed my last reunion, I'd just had a baby a week before, and I was a bit sad about it :(

Is it OK if I feature this post on AMB in the next couple of weeks...?

Unknown said...

Of course, thank you, I would be honoured!

Fleur McDonald said...

Oh a school reunion! I've never been to one! The joys of Facebook and so on, has seen me catch up with many of my old class mates and you know, I'd just be happy to catch up with my old 'group', not the whole class.

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Strange I commented before but never showed up so here I go again.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, I hope for many more wonderful times for you.

(((( Hugs ))))

Thea said...

1985 was a good year! I was in Yr12 too.

Diminishing Lucy said...

Ahhhh. This makes me nostalgic. I missed the ten, the twenty and just recently the 25 year reunion of my leaving year at school. I am envious that you had such a great time at yours....

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone. If it had been a few years ago I may have been too caught up in myself to go. But it's as you get older that you really value the relationships that matter. It really was awesome to catch up. It could only have been better if more people could have joined us ... maybe next time though!

Melissa {Suger} said...

Awww awesome! It sounds like a great experience. I am debating my 10 year reunion and this may have just tipped me to the yes side. Maybe.

Lovely. Thanks for sharing.

katepickle said...

what a great read!

I didn't go to my recent 20 year reunion as I had a 6 day old I really wasn't brave enough. High School wasn't heaps of fun for me when it came to peers and I'm sadly not on contact with any of my friends from back then.. but I wish I was!

ClaireyHewitt said...

I will have mine in 2012, already wondering if I will go, so much has changed since then...I got old.

But there is something fun in just going to a 'Hotel Motel' reunion or not!

Being Me said...

What a gorgeous group you sound! That was very touching, your friend's mother sending a message in lieu of her daughter's much-missed presence at your night out.

I'm debating whether I would go or not to a reunion. I was bullied at school (by girls)... I think curiosity would get the better of me and I'd want to go but chicken out ;)

Anonymous said...

that's sounds like soo much fun, i envy you for finding back these people, and discovering their stories, good and bad.
my highschool sucked. all my friends were from another area, i wasn't bullied but i hated the posers and tarts of my year. i was so punk, lol, too cool for them.(?)
i was always glad i lived too far for school reunions, now it's basically around the world.
but secretly, I sometimes wonder what some of them have become and I'd like to be a mouse at their posh reunions. maybe.

Unknown said...

I'd love to go to a school reunion but unfortunately my school is on the other side of the world and my classmates are scattered around the world! This is what happens when you grow up in a expat-heavy city and attend an international school. It's good enough that I'm still in touch with some of my school friends! :-)

Great story about your reunion!


Melbourne Mumma said...

What a great post! Yes I'd definitely go to one of mine. Though, I did miss my 10 year one...but time's flown and my 20 year one isn't too far off. Should be a blast!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Good on you! I did go to my last one and it was ok. It was amazing how some had aged and how some had stayed the same! It was good to catch up but it was also good to go home :lol:

Anonymous said...

Lovely post!

I have one close friend from high school, and she still pretty much lives where were grew up. I do at times see other old classmates when I visit, but that's it.

Maybe some day I'll do a class reunion. I left town for a reason, and I don't know that I want to re-entangle myself in any leftover high school drama. I have enough of my own!

Liz said...

I'm looking forward to a school reunion. Oh what fun it will be.

1985 certainly did rock! That was the year I was born lol

London City (mum) said...

Great times, school reunions.
Had my 20 year one 5 years ago and it was as if we had all still just left the building the day before.

Except the blokes were a tad balder and stockier!


Susan Whelan said...

My 20 year reunion was last year - the first reunion we have had. There were 475 in my HSC class.

I almost didn't attend the reunion. I'm still in touch with a few people and wasn't sure that I wanted to go and potentially be there with only people I didn't even know well at school let alone 20 years later.

I'm really glad that I did go. I had a fantastic night, reconnected with a few old friends and finally felt liberated from the insecurities of my teens.

Anonymous said...

I feel very feeble in not having seen this post yet, given I was at this wonderful function. Such beautiful words and so carefully and lovingly put. You are our muse, verb lady.

Also, those old bald blokes are abundantly cool.
Darren (very 80s given name, yes?)

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone - it was a fun time. Funny how you meet up with old friends and you are exactly the same underneath, despite all the changes and challenges of life. And yes Darren, the bald blokes are also cool!