The Northwest High School Class of 1987 Reunion.

It’s been twenty years since that four year rite of passage that we call the high school experience and I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to see them. I was the youngest graduate in our class due to me skipping a few grades which only gave me more incentive to keep my head down. So generally, I kept to myself. Sorta.

(L-R: Amy Majeske (Bird), me, Tina Hardymon, Jon Harp*)

I wasn’t the nerd, the jock, the cheerleader, or part of the fringe crowds. I found that if you were your own particular brand of weird and were comfortable with it, folks either left you alone or accepted you. Still, I had a mild curiosity to see what happened to the bullies of the day, the old cliques, the old “we will grow old together/a love like ours will never die” romances (most of whom apparently ended a few weeks after graduation).

Buoyed on waves of nostalgia, I chose to attend the reunion (and convinced my best friend* to go – man was not meant to suffer alone). Here’s what you need to know about our graduating class: we started the year at around 400 students but just under 200 actually made it to May. So it’s no wonder folks want to cheer at graduations. In the time since, far too many have been killed or incarcerated. There’s no point in complaining about how it was organized. I apply the same rule I use when folks come to me complaining about something I’ve put together: what did you do to help out? Since I pretty much sat back and watched it unfold, I’ve got no room to complain.

Though a strange and wondrous time, high school always did have its little quirks. For our first couple years, we were prone to race riots just prior to major breaks. In fact, I was worried that our reunion would break down like our lunchtime cafeteria typically did: split right down the middle along racial lines. Luckily, a lot has changed in twenty years.
(The Reunited Northwest High School Class of 1987)

If nothing else, we’ve managed to undo the unfortunate mistakes of 80s hairstyles, from the Flock of Seagulls look to the mullet/porn mustache combo to Jheri curls. (Luckily, there are no pictures floating around of me where I’d have to live down either a Kid ‘N Play or a DeBarge phase of hair.)

There was no great angst moment. No cathartic epiphany about my place in society or the universe. No mid-life crisis panic attacks. Just me connecting with folks whom I had lost touch with. However, allow me to tell you that there is not enough alcohol to get me on the dance floor 80s tunes. (Though at one point I was left wondering “why is my wife going down the Soul Train line?”).

Yeah, it was a bit of a ghetto reunion (and, yeah, I fixed a to go plate of food), but it was OUR ghetto reunion. In a lot of ways it reflected much of what our class was about: more than a little disorganized, loud, fun, and quick to just solve problems by getting on the dance floor.

Though, all told, I remember why I skipped my prom.

*Dear Jon: if you’re going to blog about your one-time crushes, maybe you ought to check and see if they’re going to your reunion. Cause the Internet is a big place and folks love to Google themselves.

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