I’m not sure if it’s because I’m ashamed of who I was, insecure about who I am, or terrified of small talk, but whenever I’m in a public place and spot someone I graduated from high school with, I get the hell out of there.
So it makes perfect sense that I have to plan my class’s high school reunion.
March 23, 2015
Passive-aggressive comment on Facebook by somebody I graduated with:
I think it’d be fun to have a five-year reunion. We’re all in such interesting places in our lives right now.
Maybe I can still skip the five year and go for the ten.
Maybe it’ll be harder to contact everyone in ten years.
Maybe I should just get the five over with.
Maybe I’ll die tomorrow, and then I won’t have to plan a reunion.
Maybe if I plan this one, someone else will plan the next.
I start with Facebook. Because finding everyone on Facebook seems a lot less daunting than finding everyone’s address. Until I start going through the yearbook and, after the first few photos, I’m zero for three.
It’s awkward because well, for one, I feel like a stalker. But also because I remember being Facebook friends with them once upon a time, and I’m not sure, after defriending sprees on all sides, who defriended whom.
Either way, at some point during this process, I start sweating.
Because I’m nervous. These are the people who knew me during puberty. The people who knew me as a first grader who fell off the jungle gym once at recess and, only after lying on the ground for a full minute, realized her skirt had flown up. The people who hit me in the face playing dodge ball in middle school gym class. The people who used my desk as a leg extension machine (while I was still sitting in it).
I definitely want to see all these people again.
My high school principal had a thing for yelling at my class. Whenever we were gathered as one, a group of 235 crowded in the bleachers of the gym or the tables of the cafeteria or the rows of the auditorium, our principal would, at some point, begin a soapbox rage against us.
I think he was trying to scare us into becoming better people.
Anyway, here stands my last vivid memory of high school: In the auxiliary gym, right before Pomp and Circumstance, right as the jocks began a basketball game and the rest of us wafted around in our brown and gold robes (our school colors were flattering), our principal yelled at us one last time.
Principal: TODAY IS NOT ABOUT YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
Silence. And then, a basketball bounces…
Principal: Put that away. Clears throat. TODAY IS NOT ABOUT YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL. IT’S ABOUT YOU AS A GROUP.
235 high school seniors roll their eyes.
But, five years later, it’s enough. It’s enough for me get over my insecurities and care about someone. Someones. The someones I grew up with. Even if it’s just for a few minutes in the aisle of Meijer or for a few hours on a summer night for a class reunion.
Or for however long it takes to plan this thing.
Cassie Westrate (’14) graduated with a double major in writing and international development studies. She currently lives in West Michigan, where she works as a writer, hangs out with her pet bird, and fights crime by night. Just kidding about the crime.