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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reunions. The Good, The Bad and the UGLY...

Well here it is, July 2011. 

Summer time and it's reunion season.  Last September, I celebrated my 20th year out of high school and managed to get together with friends from both elementary and Jr. High too.  We had all spread out in and around Santa Ana and Orange so many of us hadn't seen each other since our 8th grade year.

Now some of my younger high school friends are gearing up for their 20th.  The anticipation of who will come, who has changed the most and where we are in our lives is both exciting and daunting.

The rest of us (from the Willard/Santiago crew) are gearing up for another reunion and with the addition of Facebook, the event has taken on a life of its own.  Perhaps after the photos surfaced from last year's gathering, those that missed out realized that it was just too much fun to pass up! 

It's so strange how reconnecting with the people we grew up with can render us defenseless against age old insecurities and self-doubt.  At the same time, it can reassure us that we are still rooted in the people we have become and we can recognize how much we've changed and grown since those days...

The memories come flooding back like relentless tides, teasing our minds with both laughter and tears from the angst of our teenage lives.  I am happy to say that most of us can look back on those days fondly and chalk up our outlandish behavior to the raging hormones that were rushing through our awkward prepubescent bodies and that eventually we would become "normal." 

Now, most of us are parents and I, for one, can use this knowledge to remain one step ahead of my own "tween" on the verge of his official teen years.  Yikes!

As we see ourselves in our adult lives, it's important to remember where we came from.  Reunions have a way of giving us a fresh start.  Perhaps you were not the "nicest" person or maybe you were a bit wacky or weird.  Meeting up with old friends and acquaintances gives us the opportunity to own our behavior, apologize (if necessary) and show that we did, in fact, grow up.  

I may only be speaking for myself, but I am thinking that I am not the only one who feels this way.  I mean there are about five significant movies from one amazing director that would support my theory.   Who can argue with John Hughes and his brilliant connection to the voices of our generation, right?

To quote one of the best:  The Breakfast Club (1984)

"Saturday, March 24,1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062.
Dear Mr. Vernon, We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed."

Indeed, weren't we all brainwashed?  Until we meet again...

This blog is dedicated to all my old pals.

Looking forward to seeing all of you in October 2011!