Monday, September 01, 2014

BROWN: No need, desire to reunite

By LINDA BROWN, Hold Me up a Little Longer, Lord | 8/7/2013

The Big Guy went to his 50th high school reunion this past weekend.

No, I didn’t go along.

The Big Guy went to his 50th high school reunion this past weekend.

No, I didn’t go along.

The truth is, I’m still stinging from the catty slap I took at the last reunion where I accompanied him. I was eight months pregnant with Princess Summer — who will turn 30 in a few weeks. In fact, I was so pregnant we had to drive to Michigan instead of fly. It was a long trip that involved driving through Chicago. I don’t even like to fly over Chicago, let alone drive it during rush hour.

To make a long story short, I was nearly at my wits’ end by the time we got to the opening event, a reception — OK, a happy hour at a local hotel where I couldn’t drink.

Within 10 minutes of our arrival, the class president had gotten hold of a microphone and announced the class had just voted Vern most likely to “rob the cradle.”

The Big Guy was proud as a peacock. I felt like the kid sister along on a date.

I spent the rest of the weekend trying to avoid the clicking tongues of the grown women on the back side of 30 who kept muttering things like “Oh, you poor little thing” and “You do know what caused that, right?”

During the required drive around town to see how things had changed in 20 years I was amazed to discover these Michigan classmates actually lived in regular houses. At first blush, I would have guessed they all lived under rocks.

And so, when the 30th and 40th reunions came up, and I refused to go along, the Big Guy didn’t go either. There must be something magical about the 50th because after a courtesy inquiry to see if I wanted to tag along, The Big Guy had an airline ticket, rental car and hotel room booked before I could plan which movies I wanted to watch while he was gone.

I’ve never been to any of my high school reunions. I was just one of the more than 600 awkward, insecure, freckle-faced kids that graduated from Washington High School in 1969.

I had a handful of friends and two handfuls of acquaintances I said “Hi” to when we passed in the hall.

I never dated a football or basketball player. My only real boyfriend was a kid who attended my church and played drums in a garage band.

Physical education class wasn’t an elective. It was mandatory and included one semester of swimming. For three years, I started my school day in an overly chlorinated, freezing cold swimming pool that left me with wet hair until lunch time.

So, I’ve seen little value in pretending at this late date that I have anything in common with any of those people or care anything about them. Those I cared about back then I still care about today and remain in contact with. In some cases, I know way more than I need to about what’s happened to them throughout the years. In other cases, I know just enough. In either case, I still like them and measure value in having them in my life.

My friend Susan has gone to a couple of the reunions and I’ve seen some pictures on the Class of 1969 website. Susan and the photos tell me what I already knew without going: Everyone is fat and old. It’s like being dead and waking up in senior citizen hell.

The Big Guy, on the other hand, was a star football player and track star. He didn’t have one girlfriend, he had a whole high school of charmed young women who couldn’t wait to get their hands on one of the Brown boys. He had “groupies” who followed him everywhere.

I guess maybe that’s the difference between us — oh, and his school didn’t have a swimming pool.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com

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