Well, it’s over now. Bruce and I went to the 25th Anniversary celebration yesterday. As I mentioned before, I was really quite nervous. I had been somewhat shy and quiet (except when I got to drill my class-then I was able to echo a parking lot). I was no one of real note until my senior year when I started to participate more. Surely, not even my favorite teachers would remember me.
I was pleasantly surprised. First, I ran into my favorite Brit (at least my favorite that I know in person), my old geometry teacher. She had no freakin’ clue who I was. I wondered if that was going to be the tone. Then, a very excited young teacher saw me and recognized me. She had been my English teacher senior year. It was her first year teaching, and some of my classmates were dating guys older than her. I wasn’t a favorite student nor did I know her very well. She somehow remembered me, though. It seemed as if the tide was turning.
Then, I ran into an old classmate. He and I were on different tracks and really never had an occasion to know each other well, but in a class of 55 everyone knows who everyone is. He is an RN now, and I was truly happy for his success. Next came my junior year prom date. It was good to see Matt. We weren’t romantic ever, and I think we were consolation dates for each other that year. It was still a very nice time with a very nice guy.
The last memorable person I ran into gave me reason to pause. Let’s call him T. He was someone I chatted with briefly from time to time back then. I was certainly not a person with whom he would have shared secrets, and it was probably a good idea because I probably would have had a hard time keeping my yap shut. At the party, he told me that he is gay along with some other fun things that friends were encouraging him to do. I said, “Great! Sounds fun. You should do it!” He was amused. Then he commented that I was one of the last people he would have thought of as accepting. It kind of shook me. When I asked why he thought that way, he basically told me it was because I seemed so conservative. I explained that college changed me by exposing me to all kinds of different people. Honestly, I was glad he felt comfortable sharing with me. The way I figure things is that if a gay person (or any person for that matter) has to hear me rambling about my hubby or my kids, the least I can do is listen to them do the same. Since I never thought that there was a huge gay recruitment department out there laying in wait to try to convince people to change lifestyles (and if there is please don’t tell me because then I’d have all kinds of “why don’t they want me” issues), then each to his or her own as long as they are happy.
As the morning wore on, I ran into more teachers who remembered me and whom I respect immensely. I also had more and more memories come back to me. Oddly enough, it was T that caused my one and only rebellious incident in all my then 12 years of school-the Christmas sit-in. It seemed that someone was offended by Christmas decorations. It wasn’t the Jewish kids and it wasn’t the atheists, and Kwanzaa was not yet widely known. We tried to find out how it was offensive and how it could be fixed while keeping Christmas. There was a resounding no, and the seniors formulated a sit in. I was petrified of having my mother find out I did anything against the rules, so I was going to class. As I walked towards homeroom, T walked up along side me and a friend and began singing Christmas carols. A teacher came up to us and told T he couldn’t sing carols. T is Jewish. That made a world of difference to me. The school attempting to stop free speech offended me. I joined the sit in.
Of course, it wasn’t easy for me to do. I tried my absolute best to get to the middle of the pack. Why wouldn’t they let me in! I just wanted to get in! I would be an easy target for an authority figure to get moving back to class. I began singing with the throng. I was there, I was proud; I was scared shitless that they would call my mother! The teachers and principal did target me, but I stood strong (all while crapping my pants and watching for my mother who I was sure would be there shortly). Eventually, we did disband, and we never did get Christmas back, but thanks to T, I had my meager moment in school history!
So, to sum up my very long winded entry, I was glad I went. I mentally changed to no longer being super-shy, and it turns out I haven't physically changed at all. I got to tell some of my teachers what they meant to me. I got to give hugs meant to be given 14 years ago, and I got to catch up with some great people!