...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Do I Dare Look Back?
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So I'm talking with my mother about theater in her home town (my former home but I don't think of it as "home" anymore) and she mentions the founder of a theater company and did I know him. Oh GOD, I'm startled and exclaim "god yes!" but I can't really remember how. That is to say, I think we were friends. But come on guys, I hated high school and I've never gone back to a reunion of high school and while yes, I had friends and they were marvelous people whom I still think of with fondness and admiration, I doubt that most of THEM look back with fondness at Hall High School, West Hartford, class of '70.

My friends were really great in high school, really truly honest. The lines between brain and jock were clearly drawn but it doesn't seem to me that it was SO thinly defined back then. Either I was oblivious (oh no, ya think? Could I have been? Hell, yeah of course) but I don't remember there being the doper crowd and the theater geeks AND the brains and the nerds and the jocks and theā€¦.there was, in fact some overlap. There were clear divides, yeah, but I seem to recall that I had friends in several of the clumps. Most of my friends were the brain/honor roll/yearbook/newspaper blah blah crowd, but man they were interesting and worthwhile and they seemed to like me. I had a bit of a disadvantage; I worked every day after school, so lots of that "club" activity thing we did back then, in the late 60s - the yearbook, the newspaper, the blah blah, wasn't available to me; I had a job. Still, while I sensed we weren't the Popular kids - GOD remember how fraught that word was - the only thing that mattered so often was that someone was POPular - but we weren't outcasts. That I know of; maybe we were and I just don't remember but I think lots of us were likable enough that we weren't. And some of us - like me when I could - were theater geeks too. We didn't have computer geeks; look, this is the 35th anniversary of my high school graduation this year, gimme a break.

But this name RANG in my head. So I go google (hey, what else?) and find the guy's name but not his picture (like that would help after 35 years or more. I mean of course I look exactly like my high school yearbook picture. Don't you? Actually (technically) I sorta do. But that's because I had a "do over" photo done. We didn't do the "drape thing" but we were told "pastel blouses". Anyone who knows me, have you ever 9or can you even) imagine me in a pastel blouse? I've always been pale, round of face and heavy or not, always tended towards looking like bloated fishy in photos. With a nice little white blouse? I didn't OWN pastels, even at the age of 17. And my photo was crap, as I recall. You could get your photo redone but it was up to you to schlep down to the studio, in the summer, in downtown Hartford. I did. Wearing summer clothes, I schlepped. Went into a dressing room, changed into a black turtleneck and did not smile for the birdie. And I would imagine that if you squinted, you could recognize me from my yearbook photo.

I DID love college, but didn't have a crowd. Had, actually one very good friend. LIKED a lot of people, but one very good friend. And I did go back for reunion there a few times but it felt odd. It was too boosterish. I didn't fit there either. I don't have kids, I don't have a mortgage, I don't have even a career. Never did. The people were perfectly nice and good people, but they were too suburb and barbecue, van and vacations on Maui, or hiking, or well, too mainstream. Nothing wrong with that for most people, but it's just not me and I felt, like I often did during rare family gatherings where cousins and aunts and uncles all tried to make sense of me. It was exhausting.

I never had money to give to the class whatever, which is the main purpose of alumni get-togethers. Especially in formerly women's colleges (now co-ed, yeah) which had a teensy endowment; even when our alumnae married well, apparently the money still went mostly to HIS alma mater. And I was still paying off colelge and grad school loans well into the 70s. Then had lots of low-paying, social service type jobs. Then stopped working. So I'm not on the money list. And much about my college has changed and I don't love it the way I used to.

The second and last time I went to my college reunion, it was to see a professor; pretty pathetic there, huh? Truth is, Bill has been a friend since I graduated and when he left the school, I really did lose my main reason for going back since my good friend wasn't a reunion type either. And when he left the college to go into politics, and then to run one of the state university systems, we kept in touch; especially when he lived only a few blocks from my mother. And on my rare visits back east, we'd always catch up. Terrific guy.

And it seems that the only way to get news of alumni like myself is to, er, um, well join in the whole alumni thing. And it feels so funny because wull, I'm just not that sort of person. I sure wouldn't mind knowing what happened to Cathy and Ann, and Justin and Steve, and Linda and Joan from high school, but they're not the joiner type. And what if I join and um, well, no one I want to find is there?

My closest friend in many ways from high school went to the OTHER high school in town and happily, I reconnected with him a couple of years ago. The last time we'd met, he'd married and I had dinner in New York with him and his wife and we happily discussed baby names that would simply NOT work (they'd run through every list they could). When Stu and I had dinner with the family in New York more recently "Dwayne" was like 15. And no, he wasn't named Dwayne, but it had been one of THOSE conversations. Full of giggles. And it's a damn huge pleasure to see that that marriage is seemingly solid and happy and it worked. That was another weird thing; in the late 60s girls weren't best friends with boys. I was. We were. The theater thing did it.

I'm not being the Groucho "I won't join any organization that would have me" type, but it's close. I mean NOW I have to find - oh dear gods - my high school yearbook to see if this Steve guy from Hartford theater - wrote in my yearbook. And to see if looking at a photo (IF in fact there is one, IF in fact we were the same year, etc. etc.) triggers anything. But I'm both nervous about being found and nervous about NOT being found. Does that make sense?

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