Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On High School Reunions...



This past weekend was my 30th high school reunion. I know. I can't believe it either! Seriously time goes by faster than they say. I truly had in my head it was 20 for a time, not 30. It was one of those really memorable nights and I can't stop thinking about it. Of course I had to share some of it on here!

I was nervous and excited as anyone would be to see all those kids who shaped my world at a profound time of life. High school, no matter how we view it now, made us some of what we are. Those are formative years for our personalities and so much else. My high school years are embedded deep in my psyche, though my 20s and 30s seem like a blur now.



 Even if I no longer see most of my classmates, I wanted to reclaim that part of me by going to this reunion. I didn't want to forget about how and who I used to be- that high school girl with the terrible posture and big dreams. The years of  working, raising kids and age had made me forget a lot of that.

I also wanted to see my friends from those years and from junior high and grammar school. I am lucky to have classmates who went through all those schools along with me.

With pals Rick and Lance in their cowboy hats.

Three wonderful girls from our class, Tami, Rosie and Kim, and many others created a beautiful, and fun evening! It couldn't have been nicer.


Junior high friends Juaquina and Doug.

 Catching up with people I hadn't seen for more than a few decades was a total blast. In some cases it was if we just hung out yesterday. Really. People for the most part were the same people. It made me think that at the core, we don't really change who we are fundamentally. We may develop as we grow, but in our hearts, we remain our younger selves.

Showing off our lovely senior shots.  NOT!


Oh to time travel back if we only could. I'd take back the missed opportunities, speak to people I was too timid to, and try things I was too clueless to know were smart to do. That's high school isn't it though? We were basically naive young things and our world was filled with the slight anxiety of missing a, "All My Children," episode or worrying if the total babe who was clueless about girls, might say yes to the next Sadie's dance. :D

My adorable friend, and often date, Christopher with me at a 1981 homecoming dance. Don't you love our hair and polyester?

Our school, Gunderson was just a few years old, newly built and very modern when we started in 1980. The school was surrounded by farms and 1970's suburban home tracts. Many of us walked to school through orchards. The spots for the current highways 87 and 85 were sitting untouched for the one day  there was public money and the light rail would be built . The location felt open and actually really rural. So much has changed sadly. This area is now one of the busiest in San Jose. It also costs a fortune to live here now. So many people have moved away.


Our high school weekends were spent babysitting for a dollar an hour, to earn money to spend at Contempo Casuals for pink or blue angora sweaters and flared mini skirts. If we saved enough money, the goal was a pair of Vuarnet sunglasses complete with leash, so we could emulate the surfer guys. If we were really lucky someone's older sister might take us to Santa Cruz in her Mustang or an Adam Ant concert or Day on the Green. Say what you will about the 80s, but it was a simpler time.  Looking back to the dreamy music, exaggerated clothes it was also a romantic time to be a teen.

My best pal Monica and I got those Vuarnets!

We did not worry too much about college. That was a senior thing and if we took the classes we were supposed to, got some As and Bs, we were in! Cal State and UC colleges were something most could get into and if not, junior college was there as our backup. Somehow, we all found our way, all in our own good time. We may be all over the world, but being together again, it's like we never left.





If only I could give my kids some of that. Now high school is fraught with anxiety. From freshman year and beyond, it is all about doing the right thing to get into the right college so you can get the highest paying job. Don't put the wrong foot down and God forbid if you have some downtime in those 4 years...You could be pegged as a slacker!

In hindsight now, I see the beauty in the time and the middle class I was raised in. I also see it in my classmates. What lovely humans they are. The other night, people didn't talk about their jobs or what they are doing. They asked about each other and our families. We exchanged funny stories that stuck in our minds from school days. There was no directory where people flaunted what they have been, "up to." It was, in this very competitive area, an anomaly!

This evening was just about a group of kids who parted ways, grew up, came together and if anything got closer. While the world had gotten bigger, our small group that we hold tentatively together has gotten even more precious to us.

Our grammar school group from Terrell Elementary School. These are friends since 1973! 

I encourage everyone who has a reunion to go. Rediscovering this part of your life can be cathartic and actually a really good time.

The unassuming teens we were grew up to be some pretty terrific and kind people.  I wish every generation the innocence and the free time to dream that we had. It will do more for you than all the AP classes you can fill your schedule with.

I love you the Gunderson High class of 1983!


xo
Kim




26 comments :

  1. What a fabulous time it seems you had and a love reminiscing post...I love my school but sadly as I went to an international school - reunions are pretty difficult to organize. But I know what you mean - things really were more relaxed back then! You took me back to the 80's with that contempo casual reference - I had a whtie lace petticoat dress like Madonna from there that I cherished...But you were as cute as a button in your tennis outfit and haven't changed!! x

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    1. Naomi, You are so nice. I don't know if I was so cute, but I laugh now at the photos! I can imagine being at an international school would be different to gather everyone...You remember Contempo too? I die to shop there! The Madonna thing would have been so that store!

      xx

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  2. Kim,
    Great writeup on the reunion. I wish I could have made it. I live in Colorado and just could not make it this time. :(
    Rod Clift. Class of 83. Gunderson

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    1. Rod, Thanks so much for the note! I totally remember you and didn't we all hang out at another reunion? Colorado must be beautiful. I hope you can get to the next one. Take care!

      Kim

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  3. What a lovely post, I was not able to make it out to this year from Austin, however I have truly enjoyed all the pictures and reading the little stories on the fb page. You really touched home with your post on growing up in SJ and going to Gunderson. I remember all of those things (ha Contempo and of course every day on the green) Thanks for putting it all in perspective. Krissy Nichols Class of 83

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    1. Thanks Krissy for the note! Growing up in San Jose in the 70s and 80s was great!
      So glad to you got to kind of catch up with us all a bit even if you couldn't make it out! Hopefully next time!

      Take care!
      Kim

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  4. Great pictures Kim and it looks like you all had a wonderful reunion:) I never went to my HS reunions .. I know.. party pooper:):) So fun to look back at all the style and BIG hair (mine was scary!)

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    1. Leslie,
      Love to see your HS photos! I have some horrendous hair ones!

      xx

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  5. What a fun and rewarding time you had at the reunion. Great photos and how nice that your friends didn't just talk about their jobs but they were genuinely curious about everyone's family. I regularly meet four of my schoolfriends and there is a special bond. At our school reunion last year, people came from all corners of the world - a fascinating event and it's so good to reminisce - surprising the funny things we all remember!

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    1. Miss b, I love that the most about our school. Really nice and unpretentious people. As I get older I notice the really genuine people in my life! How nice you still get together with your friends! It is so nice when classmates come from all over the world... So special!

      xo

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  6. Your HS Reunion is so nice and fun. Your first picture is amazing. You must be a tennis pro! I will also have my HS Reunion this year in October. It will be 25 yrs. I hope it will be fun! I'm kinda excited and nervous at the same time.

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    1. Pam, I was a tennis wannabe and was always a doubles player, but it was still fun! That was some of the best times I think in school. I can't wait to hear about you reunion! 25 is great. We didn't have one.

      xx

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  7. Love all these pics - had forgotten about Vianets!! You were - and still are! - the All American girl. I love that evening gown on you, still is current and great shape for you. I would love to go back to my old high school reunion.

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    1. Jody, Do they so reunions in NZ? Wondering how the school system is different.. I wish I could still wear such a dress! xoxo

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    2. I don't think they're as organised there! I know i would really like to go back to my one for the US school I went to in Ct for a year. (I was an exchange student) Although having said that I got together with my host sister recently and I couldn't remember anyone's names!

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  8. Kim, what nice pics! It was fun to recognize some kids from John Muir Junior High in the photos. Yes, I said kids as I still feel 17 years old in my head lol. I also had the exact same dress that you were wearing in the dance photo but it was in pink and worn to the Pioneer homecoming dance senior year. Funny! Kelley

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    1. Kelley, Would love to see you in that pink dress! See if you can find it. Do you remember a spot called the Clothes Stable at Oakridge? I remember all the girls getting their dresses there! I think that's where I got mine..

      Wish you were there. We need a reunion with Muir peeps!
      Have a good weekend Kelley!
      xx

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  9. A beautifully written post Kim, I think we all do get somewhat lost and forget about the kind of people we were growing up and it really is good to remember those wonderfully naïve, emerging free spirits before modern life and adulthood took hold. I found it very touching.

    Anyway forget about all that for a moment and lets talk about your incredible hair girl.

    OK, done that now lets talk about Christopher and his hair, toot-toot, beep beep! Do we have a picture of Christopher today?

    Kim & Christopher sitting in a tree!

    :)

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    1. Paul,
      Thank you for the sweet note. Gosh you are too kind about the hair! Wish I still had that amount!!
      Sadly, Chris and I are no longer in touch and he never made it to the reunion. Wasn't he the ultimate California kid? All we did was laugh together all the time. Think he is in San Diego now, teaser!! :p

      xxoo

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  10. A fantastic post, especially for a French person like me. We don't have that kind of reunions in France and actually we don't have any of the high-school culture : prom balls, big matches where everybody comes to cheer their teams, etc .. More's the pity !x

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    1. Dear SB, I had no idea that reunions were strictly American. Proms and all that are really a rite of passage here and sometimes angst. However, I do think these dances help kids with social skills- something a lot of kids who are on computers, etc nonstop need more of.

      I'd love to hear more about the French school experience. Is it really all academic? I do think school is for making the well-rounded person, but many see it as purely for book learning!

      Have a great weekend! Thanks for the note!!
      xx

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  11. I am so glad you had a wonderful time. Love that first photo of you in your tennis outfit.

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  12. Kim, You and Christopher look classic 1981. How HOT did he get dancing wearing a turtleneck?

    Our last reunion was the 20th. I think the planning committee is still recovering, as they took care of every detail and 2-3 days of gatherings. Sherwood HS, Sherwood Oregon 1979 was also very rural and small town.

    We rode horses for fun and picked berries for spending money. heaven.

    Thanks for the memories!

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    1. Linda,
      I think he must have sweated to death! Wow, we were close in class years! ...I just love the thoughts of riding horses and picking berries to sell. Sounds ideal..Beam me back to the 1970s!

      xxKim

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  13. Kim dear,
    You captured this moment in time just perfectly. What a memorable night to share those amazing memories together.
    Articulate and beautifully said. Yes, such a simple time ( I was class of 1979).
    Lovely post!
    xx, Heather

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