I’m glad that I went. It was a long night-early morning of reconnecting, reminiscing, laughter, and gratitude mixed in with a few moments of absolute amazement, horror, awkwardness and high school.
Things I had forgotten:
- Going to homecoming with D. Apparently we sat on opposite ends of the table at dinner, and after all these years he wanted to know why. Honestly, I had forgotten about homecoming and dinner, but thankfully someone remembered and remembered why I was incredibly annoyed at my sincere but rather energetic date. D, thank you for the rose in my locker and for being both endearing and annoying by calling me Kate and Kathryn all those years.
- The party at P’s house where someone ran outside and onto the roof of my parent’s Honda. D says that I blamed him but that it was really B who did it. I honestly don’t remember D or B being at P’s house, but I do remember the dent on the roof of that maroon Accord that I could parallel park like nobody’s business.
- All through school my last name was mispronounced simply because I had grown tired of trying to correct people. It was very strange hearing people scream my name out in recognition, “Kathy Kang” (as in rhymes with hang, Tang, rang, etc.). I made a promise that once I hit the college campus that I would go by the proper pronunciation of my last name.
- How weird it was to be a Lancette (a pom-pom girl). One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong…
- How difficult and confusing it was to be what my parents wanted me to be against the pressures of majority culture high school life.
Awkward and funny moments:
- Trying to remember the name of a classmate before said classmate made it over to me and T.
- D telling me in all sincerity that I was the reason he had to carry a big eraser around in school our senior year because he would try to erase the nasty things people would write on my “Kathy for Senior Class Council President” signs. (That election had to be one of the worst memories of high school for me, and it taught me how easily people could be manipulated, how mean people could be, and what courage in high school looked like.)
- A classmate appearing to have a wardrobe malfunction. I just cringed.
- How so many of us recognized a certain classmate, but then had nothing to say. I think I finally said what we were all thinking. I’d like to think that I’m a better person after 20 years, but some memories were clearly seared into our minds.
- Realizing that T (one of my best friends from jr high/high school) and I had been crossing paths for years. The craziest thing? She is related to someone in my small group. Phyllis, are you reading this?
- The dance floor with 80s music playing and a 4-hour open bar.
This morning my sister was doing her best impression of a supportive sister by telling me that I was a dorky looking geek in high school, which was why so many classmates were surprised by my ugly duckling transformation. I know my perm was bad, and my glasses were really big and round, but was it really that bad? Really?
All in all a great night of catching up. Life has not been 20 years of coasting and fun for anyone, but it was great to hear how people were enjoying their careers and families. And as I drove home I thanked God for not leaving me as that 17-year-old in Roselle, for the tough lessons learned during and after high school, for my family and for my full, rich life.