In 28 days our class reunion will be happening without me. I've never gone to one of those celebrations. Usually because there were other things I had to do on the weekend they took place. I worked 3 to 11 for a lot of years. First at a hospital and then, when I decided I didn't really like that kind of work, I worked at an answering service on that same shift. My work interfered for so long that I just never acquired the habit.
So, for 45 years I've been listed as Missing. Still am, which makes me somewhat amused. See, there are at least 5 members of my graduating class that see me regularly. One of them is a member of the Alumni Association. He knows my married name, and where I live. Yet, I am still listed as Missing.
The other 4 of my former classmates are like me, they haven't attended a reunion since we graduated either. We've never really discussed our reasons, I do know for one of the girls it is entirely because of being bullied. She was unfortunately born with a defect. Some of the fingers on one of her hands are missing. Plus she developed psoriasis on that hand. She always put a brave face on what would occur, but sometimes we'd find her in a bathroom stall crying as if her heart would break. I'm sure it did, more than once.
Some of the poorer kids would get picked on because they didn't have the best clothing, or weren't the best looking. Maybe they weren't the best in gym class either. Life was better if you could make the cheerleading squad. We weren't cheerleading material. I don't know why, but we were more interested in music, dancing and reading books.
Rather than school activities, we were volunteers for the Junior USO. With the exposure to the young adult males that we had the pleasure of spending time with at the USO dances, school kids seemed to be rather juvenile. We thought we were more adult than they were. In some ways we were, and in other ways we were forced to grow up a little faster than we should have. We were there when these 19 and 20 year olds went off to Viet Nam. It changes you to spend time with someone who is facing the unknown experience of war, and the possibility that they might not come back. Many of them didn't, too many.
I went to the website for my graduating class, planning on registering myself for the upcoming reunion. Before I did, I looked around at all the pages the website has. The "Gone but not Forgotten" page was quite a shock to me. Out of my class of close to 600 graduates, 66 of them have passed away. Some familiar faces that I expected to have the pleasure of seeing, won't be there.
I know Al committed suicide, Mary and Brian died of brain cancer. Tom, Colleen, Keith, Elaine and Raylane were a shock to me, I don't know what took them. Whatever it was, I hope they didn't suffer. And, of course, my beautiful cousin Darlene. They would have been the only classmates I would have cared to see, and since they won't be there, neither will I. Despite being listed on the Missing page, I'm sure no one will really miss me.
I also looked at the photos from the past 2 reunions and found myself saddened by them. There were well over 100 pictures and all of the graduates in these pictures were the jocks and the cheerleaders. Not one single picture of anyone other than the clique.
I guess some of us spend our lives growing and others reliving the past. I'm more interested in what lies ahead rather than what was behind. Who knows? There will be another reunion in 5 years. I might just go to that one. We'll see.