20 Years Later

I have often referred to my high school as having been very similar to the movie Heathers. See, I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, where the money flowed. Not to my house, of course, but to lots of houses around me. Not that I was jealous, really, and I was lucky that many of my friends were pretty much right about where my family was, so I didn’t have Keeping Up With Jonesitis as much as some kids. But, the pressure was still there. To fit in. To be beautiful. To be smart. To be whatever. But in many ways, I was also lucky that, along with my mom’s middle class income, I had middle class popularity. Not picked on, not pressured to be “it.” If you asked me then, I would probably have felt differently about my middle class stature, but I have had a lot of time to reflect.

This weekend is my 20th high school reunion.

I am not attending.

At first, it was based on my previous leftover feelings. I mean, there were a handful of people I kept in touch with, and if the rest had not sustained over the years, why bother? And I have lived in Denver so long, it’s not like any of them would remember me anyway, right? Hell, they barely remembered me then.

Then, as the time approached, and as our tireless reunion planner worked her little ass off to get every person she could back to Maryland, I started to wonder. Everyone else I knew who attended their reunion had a blast, said the “Heathers” had mellowed into normal, nice people – and even if they didn’t – who really cares? I mean, we are approaching 40, right? If you haven’t put this crap behind you by now, well, you have bigger problems.

In the end, work made the decision for me, by sending me to DC a mere 2 weeks before the reunion. Of course, there was no way I was going to fly back again so soon after.

But I was thinking about it.

Which shows how much I have changed as well.

I don’t remember high school as the glory days like some do, but I don’t remember it as achingly as I used to. So, I almost wish I was getting on a plane today to see old faces, laugh about old times and probably cringe more than once.

The crazy thing is, given the magic of the internet, Facebook has been a mini-reunion over the past month in itself. Almost every single day I have connected with people from high school and have become immersed in their lives, their photos and their history. Some I barely knew, some I knew incredibly well. Some I know better now than I did then. Technology is amazing.

So, friends from high school, I *do* wish I could be there tomorrow, have a great time, and if any of you know where the hell Toni is, you better email me.

As for my blog friends who could give a crap about this drivel, here is my parting gift for you. Senior Prom 1988.

Prom 1988
My best friends from high school, Wendy and Toni, and our dates for the evening. I am the one with the startling display of white blonde hair.

This article has 35 comments

  1. Mr Lady

    I think you look LOVELY. Also, I went to my 1oth reunion, and I will NEVER make that mistake again. I have never been so annoyed in my whole life.

  2. zipper

    Awesome pic.

  3. palinode

    It’s true: Facebook is doing a number on the notion of the high school reunion. And really, who wants to go and stand around in a gym that smells exactly like it did twenty years ago, only to make small talk with the sort of people you’d never normally associate with – that is, the sort of people who attend high school reunions (they scare me just a little)?

  4. Jody Reale

    You all look totally awesome! I, too, decided not to attend my own 20 year reunion, but wished I could have hired someone to go posing as me. Hmmm, reunion stand-ins: a business model waiting to happen?

  5. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Jody, you are BRILLIANT!!!

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for mentioning my hard ASS work as the tireless “cheerleader” trying to put this damn reunion together. Let it be known-I’m done for now…no 25th plans!
    But anyway as one of the potential “Heathers” (please tell me I wasn’t, was I?) anyway, high school years were not always golden nor were memories entirely happy…but that’s what surviving your teenage years are all about!
    Thanks for posting! You always say it so well! 🙂
    P.S. You look beautiful in that picture! I wish Wendy had sent that to me before freaking today and it would have went into the slideshow!!!

  7. Ms. Maxwell

    Oh! The GLOVES! Classic.

    Haven’t been to a single reunion of mine (20th was in 2005). Small school in NE Wisconsin, 207 in my graduating class. Not missing it. You probably won’t either.

  8. Megan

    What a hoot! I won’t go to mine either, but as it approaches, i will probably be wistful too.

  9. Chanin

    Hi Aimee,
    Wish you were coming. It would have been good to see you and talk to you.

    ahhh…isn’t it funny how years and some life experience give you perspective? I think we all had it pretty good, but just didn’t realize it. See what growing older/wiser does?? 🙂

    I remember talking photography with you and having soem laughs about HS stuff in general. Glad to see you are still creative!

  10. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    And MsMaxwell, Yes, THE GLOVES!!!!!!!!!!

  11. TxGambit

    Love you! You look so cute!

    I have no intention to go (in like 2 yrs, I think?). I hated HS, went to my 10 and vowed I would not go back. I didn’t hang out with anyone in HS so what is would be the point. It would be standing alone looking pathetic (good, but pathetic)….

    Sorry you missed it though.

  12. Sarah K

    First, love the white dress.
    Second, I just had to comment b/c I am in the minority. I planned my entire summer vacation around my 20th reunion and I had a ball. You talk to who you want to talk to. I laughed my ass off and I got to see so many such old and dear friends. I loved it. But I am also a major sucker for any party and I didn’t have any bad highschool memories, even tho I was more of a drinker/stoner than a “Heather”.

  13. chloebear

    What a great post and picture. I never attended any of my reunions (one I ditched in favor of a Hawaii vacation!). I was like you, growing up in a middle class family surrounded by extremely wealthy girls. I was accepted into their crowd because of my cousin who had lots of cash and was VERY popular and I also grew up with one of the Heathers next door, who was my friend before who you hung out with mattered. These two things kept me in the “popularity” group even though I never really joined in.
    No regrets.

  14. Carla

    My 20-year reunion will be in 2010, and I still don’t know if I wanna go. I used to say that I could count on one hand the number of people from high school whom I wanted to see again. Not that I hated high school or anything… just that I can’t say that their absence left a big whole in my life.

    Then I started finding many friends from high school on Facebook and before long, some of us started talking about getting together. It’s so surreal.

    College reunions are another story. I went to a small women’s college, and we have reunions every 5 years. I haven’t missed one yet. 🙂

  15. Gudrun from Kitchen Gadget Girl

    when you commented on my FB status, I thought about commenting back with something clever, but then decided that my heart was not in it. I, too, am conflicted about attending my 20th reunion. I have fallen out of touch with any of the friends I had (which was not many) and I am not sure I actually want to rekindle relationships with people I was not friendly with in the first place.

    I guess I am going because I am curious, and because it is only about 10 minutes from where I live now. If I had to fly across the US to get there, I probably would have bagged the whole idea.

  16. monstergirlee

    I probably told you this already. The only reason I went to mine was that I found out that my best friend from high school was going. Turns out, the only reason she went, was because I was going. It was awesome to reconnect after like 10 years or so, and now we’re in touch at least once a month. You met her – Bridget. Anyway, the reunion itself was mediocre. Fun enough I guess. But really it was all about Bridget.

  17. Anonymous

    awesome photo, lol!

  18. Kelly

    Funny how reunions stir up all those feelings, and memories. I tell you from MY experience…
    The 10 year still had all this competition. ‘What school did you go to? where do you work? What do you drive? Are you married?’
    The 20 year? Oh yeah, all the guys are bald and fat, and all the women are much more cool, cause they have kids, and they are just happy to be out of the house! We all had so much more fun at the 20th. Being 40 just made it seem like we were all in the same boat. At a good place in our lives, and now high school was something we only wish we could go back and do IF we could know what we know NOW.
    I HOPE you can go to your 30th. I’m gonna go to mine! 🙂

  19. carrie

    I loved the 80’s!!!

    And I kind of feel ambivalent about my 20 year – it’s three years away but I’m already thinking about it! I live in the same town I grew up and graduated high school from, although I did spend close to 5 years away at college before moving back and starting my own family here, ANYWAY . . . if I see people at the grocery store and they look familiar, I know there’s a reason. And of course there are those who I’ve stayed really close to, but I just don’t know if I want to go there, yet. Maybe a few more years will give me better perspective and I dare not even stick my toe in the facebook pond, I’d drown!!!

    Although I must admit, I AM tempted, every day. 😉

    ps – you rocked that interview btw!

  20. Anonymous

    Wish you were coming, great post!

  21. Jozet at Halushki

    I am so impressed that you are wearing sensible shoes with that gown.

  22. Jeanette

    don’t remind me, mine is next year. I quite understand your feelings, I never exactly enjoyed the whole school scene.

  23. Sarah O.

    1. LOVE your prom picture. You’re so cute!

    2. I went to exactly one reunion. Seriously, most people who came were single or divorced and looking for a little action or even matrimony. The worst part is that some of them had literally come thousands of miles looking for love. Yipe.

    3. Oh wow, I just remembered that one woman came 1,500 miles just because she wanted to hook up with ME. I had no idea that she like me so much, she wanted date me. Wow, that was so awkward, I’d completly shut it out of my mind until just now.

  24. Lindy

    Ha! My reunion is this year too! I’m not going for many of the same reasons you mentioned. The main reason I’m not going is that I now live in the UK and well I just don’t want to see those people bad enough to fly to the US. Love the blond hair and if you added a couple of inches to the dress I could have been me. Well that and the blond hair, I didn’t have blond hair in HS. Hmmm OK this doesn’t make sense but am too tired to edit it.

  25. MamaMaven

    I went last summer and was amazed at the really good time I had. People had mellowed considerably and there was much apologizing especially amongst the men for the stupid things they did to each other. Next weekend I am going to my college Homecoming, I haven’t been back there in quite some time, I hope it is as much fun. It is definitely interesting how the internet has changed the whole reunion thing.

  26. Builder Mama

    I’m not even sure if either of my high schools will have a 20th (which would be this year). I moved the summer after my junior year to a different state…only kept in touch with a few people from my original school, and really only two people from the school I graduated from.

    I did go to the 10th reunion for the school I graduated from and it was a fiasco. My HS boyfriend, who apparently was still kind of bitter about our breakup – and happens to be a professional musician – brought a CD to the reunion for them to play and dedicated the song to me. And basically I got to listen to three minutes of how I ruined his life while the rest of the class stared at me. And you can imagine what my husband’s reaction was – a mix between deer-in-the-headlights and murderous rage. Gah.

    Yeah, in consideration of that, I won’t be going.

  27. Adventures In Babywearing

    I love it! I did go to my ten year reunion and was shocked to find out I was one of very few stay at home moms (and I was preggers at the time, so that didn’t help either.) It was disappointing to see so many people I had looked up to or envied turn out so, well, disappointing! I will not be going to the 20 year.

    I posted my prom pic here a while back.


  28. Andy

    Hilarious photo!!!

  29. Amber

    I think the gloves are lovely! 🙂

    I really didn’t have any inclination to go to my 20-year reunion (still a couple of years away) until the last two weeks when I have reconnected with tons of classmates on Facebook. Finally, all the stupid cliques are gone and we’re acting normally again. So, maybe just maybe.

  30. Giyen

    I would have to be rip roaring drunk to go to my 20th reunion. Plus, I might not fit in anymore since I no longer have a perm and tall bangs. Wait a minute, I never fit in. LOL. 🙂

  31. The Fi in Photografi

    hah, my dress was exactly like yours except in a lovely shade of electric blue – and I had the elbow length black lace gloves just to add that classy touch.

    I had a class reunion of sorts about five years ago (as close as you can get to one here in NZ, it’s not a common thing to have them). It was awkward and funny and nerve wracking all at once. And the “Heathers? They never change.

  32. painted maypole

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who wore flats to my prom

  33. nutmeg

    You are so damn cute! So was your date!

    I’m in full support of not going – having gone to mine!

  34. leila

    I’m in a pretty similar boat here. 20th HS reunion was this summer and I didn’t attend — I now live in LA and I grew up in Albany, NY, so getting back is, well, work and the planners didn’t get the date out before I had planned my summer trips (including a trip on the weekend after the reunion and traveling two weeks in a row is never that fun). Also like you I ended up reconnecting with a lot of old HS people on facebook this year, so I feel pretty caught up despite missing the reunion. Still I’m sure it would have been interesting and, dare I say it, fun.

    Now I’m wondering about my senior prom pictures. If you can believe it, I went in a dress MADE BY MY MOM.

  35. soccer mom in denial

    I blew off my 20th. Until recently I wasn’t in touch with anyone from high school. Then I reconnected with a few folks on Facebook. Maybe I’ll give my 25th a try.

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