Back in the early 80’s my sisters and I attended the local high school. At the end of Year 10 my older sister won a scholarship to a fairly prestigious private boy’s school that opened its doors to female students for the final two years of school. My sister’s experience was a positive one so my parents asked me if I would like to follow suit although no one suggested I try out for the scholarship.
I was a fairly restless 16-year old and so was only too keen for any new experience. My parents wrote out the cheques and I’m very glad they did because I had an extremely happy final two years.
There were two-hundred in our year group and a healthy balance of males and females. My first lesson on my first day was maths. I walked in and took a seat and there was a spare desk next to me. A few minutes went by and then a tall, dark and handsome young man asked me, ‘Is this seat taken?’
I rather liked the look of him but all I managed to mutter was a single word, ‘No’. He pulled up a chair and long-story-short, I married him. Those naughty children of mine have asked, ‘Tell me the story of how you met dad’. And when I tell them they groan and tell us we’re utterly tragic. They often say, ‘Hey dad! Is this seat taken?’ And then collapse on the floor and roll around in uncontrollable hysterics.
So that’s the back story of how it is that Carl and I were able to go to our school reunion together. And we weren’t the only couple to marry from our year. Three other couples did the same thing and one girl even married her maths teacher – yep, it was all going on down at the private school.
I thought I was old when I went to my 10-year high school reunion and back then none of us could imagine being 30-years out from school. But we all know time stands still for no one so on Saturday night with our greying hair, increasing lines and wrinkles plus Carl’s extra padding, Archie drove us in the Mustang to our reunion.
Before I was even out of the car, (sorry, ‘The Mustang’) two girls from my year, Liz and Jenny came running towards me and greeted me with hugs and kisses and kind words of, ‘You look fantastic’. As did they! And that truly set the tone for the entire evening.
Seventy-five turned up for the milestone with some traveling from every point of the globe just to be there. What a great effort. Something new for this reunion is that we were given name tags. That was actually useful because although I did recognise and remember the majority of the 75, there were one or two who had me stumped.
We started at 7pm and mingled until midnight. The room was filled with love and warmth and I’m not sure I’ve ever had so many warm embraces in one evening. It seems the more time that goes by, the more closely knitted we become.
If earlier reunions had had an edge of competitiveness or people huddled together in exclusive groups, there was none of that on Saturday night. Their was a genuine air in the room of wanting to know more about the life of the person standing in front of you than sharing about your own journey.
We all know by now that life can be unfair and accordingly, some have experienced more than their share of grief. We have already lost four from our group through car accidents, plane crashes, sicknesses and diseases and on Saturday night there were a few who couldn’t be there because of their current battles with health. But there were also those in the room who have survived horrific situations and it was lovely to be there to try and be a source of encouragement and support.
As the clock struck midnight, Pipster (the organiser) had us herded onto a 1980’s bus that took us to Minskys Piano Bar in Cremorne. Just for old times sake. Because this is a bar we all used to frequent ‘back in the day’. The hysterical thing was, the guy playing the piano was the exact same guy who played for us back in the ’80’s. He hasn’t left his piano stool in 30 years!
Well it was at Minskys where the night unraveled because people were buying me drinks. Thanks Pipster and Robyn for those 2am sparkling wines – I certainly felt them the next day. And someone with the nickname of ‘Tooth’ bought Carl a ‘cocktail’ of Red Bull and Vodka. He hated it but forced it down anyway.
After eight hours of partying hard, we stumbled through the door at 3am. Carl was still in bed 15 hours later. There have been many comments posted on facebook about the sorry state many woke up in but with the comment, ‘It was so worth it’.
In summing up the night I would have to say that it was more than a school reunion; it was a family reunion.
I don’t want to wish away my life but I can’t wait for the next one.
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