I just survived the very surreal experience of my 20 year high school reunion.
But alas, it has. I was most definitely assured of that by the size of the hangover waiting for me the morning after this:
That’s me and Sara (Roth) Crowley having 20 years worth of fun in one night, which we’ve actually done more than a few times since 1996, only this time it seemed to hurt more the next day.
Anyway, the reunion was pretty great and also pretty painful, but also magical and oddly transformative. It made me hella nostalgic – outright emotional, even. This was actually the longest trip home to Michigan I’ve ever taken – the whole first week of it on my own, without Trent, even – and I found myself sort of drifting in the past the entire time, listening to the music of my youth, looking at old photos, talking less and thinking more, breathing in the familiar aromas of Michigan in the sticky humid summer and remembering what it was like to be on the cusp of adulthood again. Of everything again.
The reunion was the final night of my stay, and as the week wore on, my anticipation and my reflectiveness grew. I was positively steeping myself in nostalgia, overcooking myself in memories. I even drove to Ann Arbor one night to visit Anna, and tossed a nice dose of college into the mix. Because after all, soon we’ll need a 20 year reunion for that, right?
They do those, RIGHT?
But really, I didn’t need to take such a long trip to Michigan just for one night at my high school reunion. I put the whole thing together because I wanted to take my grandfather (and my uncle) to a Detroit Tigers baseball game for Father’s Day, and it was the best way I could think of to do it – there was a home series the weekend before the reunion weekend. Perfecto.
And it really was a miracle, the way it all worked out. Grandpa wound up very sick and was in the hospital just before I arrived, and we barely got him out in time for the game. But we did get him out.
We started him on hospice just a couple days later, and as I made him sloppy joes and ice cream and jello and listened to him talk about how he had to “go meet up with his lady“, I realized I might be sharing my last moments with him. And the memories…
It’s not 1996 any more. I am not a teenager struggling to learn the rules of my new single-parent household, and Grandpa Sam is not the brash gangster tailing me in his Caddy with his brights on while I “run away”…
So many slow, sad Smashing Pumpkins tunes in my head right now.
It was a hard week – a real week, getting to that reunion, and even getting through it. For the first time in my life, I had a heavy, undeniable sensation that my past has really passed.
But the past isn’t all there is. For one, this gal has a long life in front of her yet:
And I have a lot to spend with her. Soon, I realized (a few days into the trip, while Munga and I dealt with more than we ever thought we would right now and more than I’ll write about here), we will have to figure out how we’re going to make that happen. The “next chapter”.
And so many friends: the memories may be in the past, but the people haven’t gone anywhere. It looks as if a damn lot of them are coming along for more of this ride, still – with their mini-mes in tow…
I guess I’ll just have to take a deep breath and accept that the next milestone will be the “30 year reunion.” A lot more is going to happen between now and then.
Some people are definitely going to be gone – I know that.
But a lot of others will still be here.
See all our pictures of our long journey to Michigan and down memory lane here.