Friday, April 11, 2008

1988, it was a very good year

Well shit in shinola, I haven't been here in a stone's age. I just looked at my profile picture, the one where I apparently am trying to transfigure as a turtle. And I thought to myself, I really AM 25, really.

See the reason I wax nostalgic about age is because this past week, I got an email about my 20th high school reunion. Now, everyone under 30, go back and read that sentence again, and realize just how long ago 20 years is. I mean it's two units of "DECADE". It's enough time to have them play songs on the radio from 20 years ago and call them "oldies".

At first I wasn't really too excited about the prospect of seeing a group of people who haven't seen me for what seems like 20 incarnations of me. I then started to recall, bit by bit, memories of the "good ol' days". Pictures found there way into my head of singing "I Hate Men!" as the lead of Kiss Me Kate my senior year. I would sing a phrase, pick up an earthen pot, and heave it towards the wings where crouching sophomores lay, trying to breathe imperceptibly. Ah back then, the power of it all.

Or there was the choir party where we were watching videos in the basement of a junior choir members house. I remember there was a bean bag, a very dark blanket, me and what I would now describe as a very Jack Black sort of dude, who was also in the choir. It's amazing we were able to be so quiet on a bean bag chair. We were very sneaky in a naive sort of way.

There was another sneaky moment involving play dough, art projects, and an ice cream spoon, but those of you that have heard this story have heard it a gaggle of times, and those that haven't don't want to.

I remember the final senior assembly. It was the last week of school, we were all packed into the auditorium, antsy, hyped, and ready to start our lives. It was 1988, and no one knew that GH Bush was the first anti-Christ yet. Tapestry, the exclusive jazz choir was slated to sing the Nylons version of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. Kiss Him Goodbye. By the end of the song, we had the entire audience up on their feet with their hands in the air singing with us. It was definitely one of those John Hughes 80's high school moments.

Now I know for those jocks out there, these choir and drama moments might not seem as poignant as those "score a touch-down and win state" moments, but trust me, they were just as formative. As student choir director getting to lead an entire number with the big choir in front of a full audience was brilliant. What was NOT brilliant, was as a sophomore, having my new glasses in the pocket of my nurses outfit while doing South Pacific, leaning over to flush the industrial powered toilets they had in my high school, and watching my glasses flush down the toilet with what was left of my dinner.

And then there was the time that I ran over my own foot with the car. Don't try to picture it because I'd have to be in the same room with you to fully demonstrate how that is possible. Needless to say the car ran over my foot as I was hanging on to the steering wheel. How I got into this position does not matter. The car ran me over, and promptly crashed into a van across the street. I of course, in my 17 year old naivety, thought that I could hide the fact that there was paint from another car on our car, not to mention my twice it's normal-sized swollen foot the next morning. I wake up downstairs just in time to hear my mother bellow, in that motherly bellowing you-better-pay-attention-to-me-now tone, "Christine, come UP here, NOW!". She had gotten a call from my friend's father (whose house we were at the previous night in question), as he had been visited by his neighbor, the owner of the aforementioned van across the street. Took me awhile to live down that whole debacle.

And while I did not love the gold gowns that they made the girls wear for graduation (the boys got blue), that color defined one of the best 80's moments I ever had that day. I'm sure my mother was fretting on the day I graduated from high school. And I'm sure if she knew what she knows now, she would have been fretting much much more.

So you know, my tune has changed in the past week. I'm kind of excited about going to my reunion now. In high school, I was never remotely the most popular girl around, but I had my niche. I want to go see how my niche is fairing, and hear what they have learned over the past 20 years. I want to tell people where I've been. I want to remember that young dramatic girl, who while worlds different than who I am now, helped form the through line that has woven itself throughout the last two decades of my life.