It probably wasn’t coincidence that I heard that Springsteen song not once, but twice, on my way to the 35th reunion of my 8th grade class, right? There probably isn’t a song more appropriate for getting together with classmates and reminiscing about shared childhoods than that nugget that made its debut the same year I graduated from high school.
I’ve been to school reunions before, 4 of them actually. But this, the first middle school reunion planned and executed, was different. After a couple of days reflecting about it, I finally recognized what made this reunion so very novel. From the first M-W reunion in 1984, which I attended in a white crepe number I referred to as my Ginger Grant dress, I went with the intention of showing people who I had become, how I had grown and changed. Going to a reunion of my 8th grade classmates couldn’t have been more dissimilar.
Attending a reunion, in my actual hometown, with other members of the Class of 1980 wasn’t an exercise in validating who I am now. Instead it was a warm embrace from the friends who have always known exactly who I am. From the former teacher who remembered me as being “so smart” to the women who made a point of telling me that I had given them something intangible that they had never forgotten, those that were present on Saturday night demonstrated that the value I held for them was completely unrelated to anything I may have achieved in my life. It was simply because of who I am, and who I’ve always been, in an absolutely organic way.
Getting together with those who shared critical, right of passage events – field trips to NYC, hitchhiking adventures, explorations with gateway substances, first kisses, was positively fantastic. The hard work of classmates to make this event happen was greatly appreciated by all who attended and I truly believe every one there had a special and memorable night. For those who weren’t there, by choice or circumstance, you were missed. Pencil this event in for 2020. It’ll be epic.