I Missed My High School Class Reunion

Last month, I missed my thirty-fifth year high school class reunion.

I had good reasons. You see, I live in the Seattle area, and the reunion was held in my Wisconsin home town. I’d already flown from the west coast to the Midwest for two family weddings—one in August and another in September. A third trip soon after wasn’t feasible.

I also didn’t attend our twenty-fifth year class reunion because of a similar situation. I needed to be home the weekend prior for an event. After not seeing the majority of my classmates in over twenty years, I wondered what it would be like to be in the same room together again. After all this time, what would we have in common?

Hearing about the reunion has caused me to think a lot these past weeks about my classmates. Most of us were in school together from kindergarten through graduation.

Attending a small high school meant more opportunities for everyone to be involved in extra-curricular activities. I was a cheerleader for four years, but I remember few cheers. What I do remember? The cool air, the bright lights, the ref’s whistle, the band marching on the football field, and parents yelling encouragement to the players. I remember the sound of basketballs bouncing on the court, players' shoes squealing on the floor, and the scoreboard buzzer going off.

I remember sitting in Mrs. Peter's English class discussing The Scarlet Letter and The Last of the Mohicans. Decorating the gym for prom and homecoming dances. Lockers slamming in-between classes, standing in line for lunch, and attempting to keep my short skirt from slipping up too high.

I remember giving the graduation speech, but I don’t recall what I said. I’m sure it wasn’t memorable for anyone else, either. It was a time when I was anxious to “get out” and “get on” with my life.

Thirty-five years ago, when I accepted my diploma, I had no clue what lay before me.

Coming from a Caucasian, conservative, rural town . . .

I never imagined that I would experience divorce, remarry, and then grieve over losing a stepdaughter.

I never dreamed one day my dentist would be Chinese, my doctor—Japanese, and my manicurist—Vietnamese.

I didn’t know my circle of friends would include Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics—as well as gays and lesbians.

If I had known then what I know now, there is one thing I would have changed. I would have spent less time worrying about getting straight As, and the guy I had a crush on at any particular moment. I would have tried harder to know the people I spent so much time with in class day after day, year after year.

I heard the reunion was a blast. I wish I had been there. It would have been great to hear about their lives these past thirty-five years.

How many college degrees people have acquired, or how much their 401K has earned isn’t important to me. I’d want to know more about them. Their dreams. Their regrets. Their struggles. Their children and grandchildren. And what gives them joy.

Some of our classmates have chosen to stay close to the home town, and others have scattered. Sadly, we've lost some along the way. But the classmates of ’75 will always have something in common. Our lives affected each other and who we are today, whether we realize it or not.

Everyone has a life story.
I’m glad the class of '75 was a part of mine.



  1. Melody6:15 PM

    Thank-you Dawn. You said it very well.

  2. I always love what you write, though I don't often comment.
    I, too, was raised in a very homogenious environment (suburbs of Seattle, same era as you) and now work in Oakland, CA. I love the diversity, though on days like today, unfortunately, I see there are still racial tensions.
    I've lost track of most but not all my high school buddies. So much life has elapsed since then.
    Everyone does indeed have a life story. I'm glad the class of '77 was a part of mine. :)

  3. Hi Diane,

    Nice to see you here again! I always love to read your comments.

    So much life has passed. But I think that's why we can better appreciate people. We've had more life experiences. At our age we're not quite so hindered by expectations, judgements, and egos. At least I hope not! LOL



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