Monday, August 13, 2012

It only took forty years....

La Jolla High.
The Vikings!
I was a Viking...a La Jolla High School student who graduated in 1972.
It has been 40 years since I donned my red cap and gown combo and walked on the football field with my classmates for one last time.
Most of us scattered after that.

My senior picture.

Now what is rather amazing:
The girl in the big picture apparently unable to measure something?

That's Colleen.
Her last name began with a "P" so her senior picture wasn't on the same page as me and the rest of us with last names that began with a "D".
(I'm in the middle of the top row.)
Was her presences on this page some kind of foreshadowing of how our lives would unfold?
Colleen went to Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo for her degree in business.
I went to Oregon State.
After she graduated she married and then settled down to raise a family here in Salt Lake City while I returned to San Diego, then went to Texas before winding up in SLC myself.

In fact three of my classmates settled here too, long before I arrived.
The guy on the end next to Colleen is Nick.
We went to the same elementary school together too.
He almost aced his SAT test and now has a Phd and teaches Math at the University of Utah.
Tom, the other guy, he lives in Park City now.
Colleen cleverly had gotten their contact information somewhere along the way and arranged for us to have a Salt Lake area Class Reunion Prefunction .
We went for dinner together two weeks ago and talked for hours at a local SLC restaurant.

Nick had merited a special mention in our annual.
(Both guys were class "hotties" but apparently that fact hadn't registered with them as teenagers.  One of the guys didn't even go to the prom figuring no girl would be interested.  Hoo could he not have known?)

There were about 320+ kids in our class.
The fact that eleven of our classmates made National Merit Semi-Finalist was quite remarkable.
Those names...some of them were in my kindergarten class.

Last Saturday night...we all gathered together again in La Jolla for our 40th class reunion.
Or at least about half of us did.
That's a pretty high turn out really.
I had attended my 10th reunion as a young wife and mother of a three and four year old.
Most of my classmates were not married then or did not have kids yet if they were married.
I also attended my 20th reunion when my kids were in their teens.
My classmates by then were eager for me to meet their new spouses and to show me pictures of their toddlers.
At a party that was part of that reunion our kids were all invited.
A classmate mistook my fourteen year old daughter for someone's wife.
(eyes crossing there.)
The was OK.
Everyone was sort of competitive about their careers and their kids and such.
I had decided to forgo any further reunions.

Girl pictured above:
Gini, who was one of my best buds in elementary school.
Never say never, especially about going to a reunion, right?
So what changed my mind about going to this one?
Face book.
Starting last winter a Facebook page was started for our class, and another page was started for the hometown memories of La Jolla kids who were in high school sometime between 1964 and 1984.
The most active Facebookers were the people who were in high school in the mid 70's.
Suddenly on-line conversations between long lost classmates broke out.
The intelligence and wit of my classmates shone and I realized I wanted to be with them again, in real life, one more time.
The reunion was held at the Scripps Institutes's Birch Aquarium, (which explains why there is a shark soaring over our heads). The Aquarium is right up the street from my parents house.

(Above, Sherry, another elementary school buddy from around the block.)
The first person I saw after I parked my car was a classmate named Torry who was another classmate from kindergarten on.
Another and then another woman joined us, each of us smiling ear to ear and grabbing each other for a long over due hug.
We all said the same thing:
I knew EXACTLY who you were, your smile is just the same as I remembered.(followed by blurting out our names and saying "It just took me a moment to put a name with the face!")
Thankfully our name tags had our senior picture and our names, including our maiden names, in BIG LETTERS. 

This guy...John is an avid conservative Christian political FBer.
Nick is also an avid (but not religious) FBer, and he posts stuff on the liberal side.
We scrap and argue via FB nearly daily.
John and a lot of our class are conservative Christians now.
We all were quick to talk about our faith and what God was up to in our lives.

Maybe that is what made this reunion so special.
A few of us were believers in high school; the rest got saved along the way.
We Christian clicked into family reunion mode right away.

Our year book had a month by month recap of our senior year.
That last line about our class being the first senior class to win a Spirit ribbon?
Well, it was true.
Still is.
At least three other "pre" reunion events were privately held for anyone who cared to come.
The actual reunion began at 6pm, and the wait staff had to chase us out of the building at 10:30, with all of us frantically trying to get last bits of catch up talk in as we left.
As one guy put it:
It was like doing four straight hours of speed dating!
Where do you live, what do you do, what have you been doing?The questions and answers flew fast as we mingled.
Someone had brought our old school papers; the former athletes got to read about their high school game day glories all over again.

For one lovely very warm August night we all returned to  La Jolla as Vikings, Class of 1972.
A few years after we graduated our lovely red tiled roof old Spanish styled high school with a view of the Pacific Ocean was torn down and rebuilt as a huge windowless box.
We can never really go home again to our high school.
But collectively, we carry what it was with us where ever we go.
And La Jolla High school as it was comes back into being whenever and where ever we gather together again.


(PS: If you take another look at my picture in the black and orange dress, you might notice that I am wearing very high heels.  I was tall my whole life and suffered with the "Green Giant" and such for many years. Slouching to look short was a way of life.  For some reason I found the "perfect" shoes for this dress that just happened to be very high heels which normally I can not wear for more than a minute.  These heels...I wore the whole night with great comfort!  One of my favorite comments as short classmates guys looked up was "How tall were in in high school? I do remember you were tall..."
Yeah I was was tall back then.
5'9" to be exact.
But dang...let me tell ya...I finally out grew that awkward place and with the help of heels, had sprouted up to a happy 6'1" tall for reunion night.
Happy Sigh.
It felt so great to finally not be worried about being tall!)
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ellen b. said...

Looking good girl!! Glad you had a good time!

Anonymous said...

You look beautiful! Hope you had a wonderful time at your reunion. I know your folks loved having you with them. Glad you were able to come see us too. Love, mom S.

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh Jill, You look great for your reunion. I love the dress you chose and those heels are fantastic.
I am so glad you had such a great time. Forty years is a long time and yet your look is timeless!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was a great time! So glad you decided to go, so that we could meet!


Sara said...

Hey, I was a Viking too...but in a different town. How funny is that.

You look pretty fabulous 40 years later.

Vicki said...

I love your ensemble, Jill...tall or not, you look beautiful!

I haven't attended a reunion since the 10-year one. With the 40th coming up, I wonder if I should reconsider...?

Vee said...

First of all, you look fabulous. My experience is so very different from yours, though we may have graduated the very same year. Ahem. Anyway, the joy in your words is completely evident and I'm so glad that you decided to attend your reunion.

Anneliese said...

There is something special about remembering your insecurities and getting to a place where you are content. I think that if we would have imagined ourselves 40 years older, we would not have pictured ourselves still feeling this young on the inside. BTW You look great! millinery materials supplier in china) said...

You look great!!!! Thanks for sharing.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Tall looks great on you! Love the shoes...and the dress. Funny how facebook reconnected you with your old classmates...and you gave the class reunion another go.

Sara said...

Correction....I fear age has gotten the best of me and I forgot I was a Lancer, not a Viking. Must be wishful thinking on my part! Vikings are much more interesting I think.