He married HER? And they have HOW many kids?

You know those classmate reuniter search engine thingys and the one that has the picture of the chess club girl and the sporto jocky jock guy?    And the ad says “He married her? And they have HOW MANY kids?” I was recently browsing through the Facebook class list of people with whom I went to high school when I found myself saying almost this exact thing about some of the people I once knew.

(Aside: I know there are people who feel Facebook is a poor and second best substitute for actually meeting your friends face to face and I agree. However when almost all the people you know pretty much all your friends many of your friends and family live far away from you, Facebook is a very convenient tool)

I don’t keep up with the people from high school that I knew.  And while I graduated from high school during the Stone Age, this is the first time I have made any kind of connection whatsoever with my high school aquaintances.  Funnily enough, I keep in better contact with a few of the people I went to middle school with than to high school.

I changed high schools during the second half of my first year in high school. Prior to the transfer, I went to a Junior/Senior High of about 800 or so students in all the grades. After the transfer, I attended a 4-grade school with approximately 2000 students.  Talk about culture shock. Talk about having a rough time. I remember standing in our new kitchen once sobbing before the bus came because I couldn’t handle the thought of wandering as a faceless nobody through that sea of strange teenagers. 

Have you ever had to break into established cliques of students, some or most of whom have been in the same class together since kindergarten?  Coupled with the general air of disaffected angst and cruelty that high schoolers are so good at?

It’s not fun.

But I survived. And how did I survive? One word: Band.

Yes, I was a band nerd and that probably saved my life. The band offered a group of kids who were fairly non-judgemental and accepting of a new stranger (sporting, God help her, feathered bangs.  But then, I guess most everyone had feathered bangs. And Aquanet.)

Although those kids accepted me, took me in, formed friendships, I never truly felt that I had made the deep, lasting friendships of some of the girls I had left behind. Perhaps that was just my perception, my native self-concious lack of confidence.  But as one who makes true friends slowly and cautiously but for life, I was out of my element when thrown into such rough seas.

During my last year of high school, for a variety of reasons, I slowly weaned from the band programs, held some of those band friends more at arm’s length, found friendships with others, others that perhaps if I had started with them earlier I would have found more kinship with.  But a few of the band friends remained, probably more a testament of their kindness than anything to do with me at that tumultuous time.

I sometimes wonder about them and about those with whom I had started to form closer friendships at the end.  But those 3.5 years were some of the most disjointed, unsettled years of my life, I never found a true groove then, and I have never bothered to dig too deep into a past better left quiet.

I wish them well. Perhaps we shall meet again. Maybe we’ll have a revived sort of aquaintance, one not dependent on the politics of teenhood.  Maybe we won’t.  We are all vastly different than we were.

Thank God.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Mom
    Dec 08, 2008 @ 08:25:05

    Precisely how I felt through Jr. High and High school. Our little class from Pleasant Gap Elementary school was thrown into the already established class at Bellefonte Jr/Sr. High school. I never did fit, and if it hadn’t been for my piano abilities, I wouldn’t have survived, either. You will notice I have no life-long relationships dating back to high school, nor do I ever make any attempt to attend any class reunions.


  2. Lisa
    Dec 24, 2008 @ 08:24:12

    wow–this was an awesome read (I’m getting caught up on your entries Christmas Eve morning). Even with staying in the same school, I would never go back to high school–as much fun as it is reconnecting with people. I much prefer the world where I’m ‘facebook friends’ with Kara Kalberg and Dan Cash at the same time.

    And, I’d say we were much closer to 700 students in the building and probably under that. Our class started out at about 120, but we were big compared to most classes (I think we were just over 100 when we graduated).


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