Twenty years ago I graduated from Constantine High School.
It does not nearly seem possible that 20 years have gone by. But at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago and in many respects it was.
When I walked across that stage to receive my diploma, I had no idea what was ahead for me. I could not tell you what I was going to do the next day, let alone five years down the road.
One thing I never thought about, especially coming from a small town, was if I would see or stay in touch with many of my friends and classmates. Most of whom I attended school with from kindergarten until our senior year. I thought it was just a given that we would remain in contact.
I was not the popular kid in school, but I was not disliked or shunned either. Everyone knew me and I knew them, but I was definitely quieter and kept to myself more, which is the total opposite of how I am today!
As with many of us, we all drifted off in our own directions. Some of us have stayed in touch in some way or another while others have not seen each other since graduation day back in 1992.
Planning for our 20th reunion started well over a year ago and I was excited about it. Thanks to the invention of Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with many classmates that I had lost touch with over the years, but to hang out together as a group was something I was looking forward to.
Being proactive, we created a “reunion committee” to discuss ideas and carry out the event. While I was pumped for the reunion I was not sure I wanted to be a part of the committee, but I reluctantly joined.
The group started out with gusto. Ideas were floated around; committee members were gathering names and address, calling locations to have the reunion, inquiring about catering and entertainment. We were working like a well-oiled machine.
Then it stopped. Communication stopped. Planning stopped. The reunion stopped.
We had a date set in late September, but as August was coming to a close, and with no decisions being made, we had to decide if having a reunion was even going to happen.
That is when I decided to take the bull by the horns, and with the assistance of another classmate, we set a new date and secured a location. We figured if we did not do it now, we never would. I took care of the DJ, catering, invitations and financial aspect of the project. Between the two of us, we were determined to make sure the Constantine Class of 1992 had its 20th reunion.
It was not an easy task, especially with the short time frame we had to pull it off. But I am proud to say our reunion, which was held a few weeks ago, was a great success. Several of us attended the football game the night before and went out after to enjoy each other’s company.
Before the reunion on Saturday, tours of the schools were organized so we could step back in time and roam the halls that were once our home for so many years. A special thanks to Superintendent Chuck Frisbie for taking time out of his Saturday to accommodate this for us.
At the end of the night two things struck me as I turned out the lights at the American Legion. After 20 years it was good to see everyone again. It was not like high school (which was one reason some of my classmates decided not to attend the reunion). There were no egos, backstabbing or whispering. There was laughter, friendship, fun and more importantly, new memories.
I understand why people prefer to stay away, especially if they do not have fond memories of their time in school. Like I said earlier, I was not a part of the “IN” crowd nor was I the sports star. I was me, for better or worse. But to see the faces and hear the voices of those that I spent so many years with was well worth it in my opinion. People change. I changed.
Which leads me to the other thing I thought about; my personality. How would things have been different if I was who I am now as compared to then. I am not the same skinny, quiet kid anymore. I think I surprised a few people that night, on and off the dance floor, which is kind of what I was hoping for.
The best moment of the night happened when a classmate approached me and said “I really wish we would have talked more in school. You are a really fun guy.”
I wish we had too. And I am a fun guy! We can’t go back in time, but we can move forward.