NORMAN — Last weekend was my 20th high school reunion and I learned two things. One, I’m glad I’m not in high school any more. Two, it’s a good thing we go through our youth when we have the energy, because I’m older than I thought.
For starters, the reunion was at a location I’m certain the Kansas Department of Health has not visited in quite some time. Thank goodness it was dark inside. Also, a band was playing. Now, I’ve heard since I was a teenager the saying, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old,” and I never believed it. In fact, the first time I saw this saying was on the back of a rock band T-shirt. And I remember thinking to myself, that will never be me. I remember as a teenager cranking the tunes, because I wasn’t too old then. But times have certainly changed. And I wasn’t alone in my theory.
Turns out when you get a bunch of almost 40- year-olds together and the band starts cranking out “Freebird” you get a different reaction. You don’t get that, “Come on, lets really let loose and have a good time,” reaction. No, instead you get that nose scrunching, brow furrowing, ear cupping “What did you say?” reaction. That’s usually followed by the other person in the conversation repeating something like “I can’t hear you? What did you say?”
Turns out the 1992 class of Arkansas City High School won’t stay young forever. That’s not what we thought 20 years ago in May, that’s for sure. We were young. We had our futures ahead of us and most of us had big plans. We were going to be journalists, doctors, nurses, police officers. None of us, we thought, were going to age. Little did we know that Mother Nature had different ideas.
But as I stood in that dark and dreary watering hole in Kansas, I noticed something. I might not be able to hear as well as I did 20 years ago. I might not dance to “Freebird” like I did 20 years ago. But no matter who you are in high school, you’ll one day become something you never imagined. Even cheerleaders get wrinkles. Football players pack on the pounds, too. And sometimes the awkward, shy girl who was always on time for class, who didn’t really say that much and usually stood in the corner becomes a journalist. She steps out of the corner and steps up to center stage. And she starts talking. A lot. Sometimes too much.