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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WEP Aug 2017: REUNIONS

For the first time, I'm participating in the Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) bloghop challenge. For August, the challenge is REUNIONS. Below is my entry of 760 words, NCCO (no critique, comment only please). While it may only be meaningful to us baby boomers, I hope you will still enjoy it.



On August 4th 1990, I attended my twenty-fifth high school reunion. This was my first one and I was terrified yet exhilarated. In school, I was not cute or pretty, not funny, not athletic, not artistic, not musical, not much of anything other than fairly smart. I had one close girl friend but tended to be a loner who desperately wished they were an insider. It wasn't to happen.

But fast forward twenty-five years, I was married to the love of my life, had a wonderful career and had grown into my looks. Success in life encouraged me to attend the reunion and show what I had become.

I wrote a speech, the first and last speech I would ever write. Here is what I said...
A TWENTY-FIVE YEAR RETROSPECTIVE

Dear Classmates,

Here I sit reflecting on the past twenty-five years. Where did it go? Twenty-five years, a quarter of a century!

We left high school with enthusiasm and high hopes. Some went to college, some to work. Some got married, some didn't.

The 60's were a radical change for some of us - free love, drugs, rock music and Vietnam. For others, time seemed to move more slowly, perhaps even standing still.

The 70's started out on the same 'HIGH' as the 60's. Make love, not war. Of course some of us were too busy with our growing families and advancing careers to notice. Others were still living day by day. But by the end of the 70's we started to notice a change, we were settling more and more into the mold set by our parents. We changed some of the angles, maybe smoothed some of the edges, but it was still the same mold of responsibility eventually accepted by all generations.

In the 80's we started to take a closer look at ourselves. Some careers were flourishing, others were dying. Some went back to school, others changed direction. Marriages came and went. We had to deal with single parenting, blended families and step-children. The world around us was changing rapidly, sometimes more rapidly than we could accept. Our children were facing a world vastly different from the one in which we had grown up in. As the 80's drew to a close we realized that we had officially passed into the world of middle-age, even though we knew in our hearts that middle aged people were really 10 years older than us!

Now here it is 1990 and we're looking at not only a new decade but the end of a century. Where will we go from here? What forces will shape our next 10 years? How will we fare in the days to come?

Well over the last 25 years I've learned one very important lesson - the value of friendship. No matter how bad things may seem, friends will help you through. Some of us are fortunate enough to be married to our best friend, others can count on family. But the friendships sustained over the years will always be of great value to us. They allow us to maintain a balance in our lives. Some of these friendships were started right here in high school. Others came later in life. Some of us had close friends but lost touch, others still remain in close contact.

So keep this thought in mind tonight - renew those friendships that have strayed, maybe start some new ones. But no matter what happens, let's have a good time and a great decade!
After I gave it, I was asked if I was in Toastmasters (no, I was not). I was asked what happened to the wallflower (she grew up). I was congratulated on the speech.

I felt validated....no longer the wallflower of years past, no longer the outsider. I had grown and blossomed, I was welcomed into the inner circle.

But I discovered that it no longer mattered...







33 comments:

  1. People say our childhood and school years are the best of our lives, but I wouldn't go back. I didn't know who I was then, and I don't think a lot of people do.
    A great take on the prompt, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Same here...growing up was/is hard! Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting.

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  2. It is amazing how we gather courage and strength to do things that we never thought we could do. How we step out and forget the limitations we thought we had.
    A nice story and welcome to the WEP. The WEP team is extraordinary and I hope you stick around for more WEPS.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the story. I do hope to do more WEP posts. Need to check out September. ;)

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  3. Those reunions are so interesting. They are moments where we can assess the changes we've undergone in our lives, and your speech was a reflection of that universal experience we all have when we return to be with those we knew in our youth. Great contribution to this month's WEP.

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    1. I also went to my 40th reunion, but as a widow. It was my first public event after my husband's death. It was hard....the 25th was definitely better.

      Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!

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  4. I didn't like my school years, my classmates, or myself during those times. I never went to any class reunion afterwards and never will. I live in a different country, on another continent. And I like myself much better now than I did then. Like you, I grew into myself.
    Great post.

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    1. I completely understand! It's nice to be in a place where we can look back and put things in their proper perspective, isn't it!

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  5. Hi Donna and welcome to your first WEP experience. I hope you're enjoying reading and those who comment on yours. The letter was very touching and did show growth. I've never attended a school reunion--always busy traveling or such, which is much more interesting. I love each stage of my life and it's definitely what you make it. It's good not to need others' validation, just be happy in your skin.

    Once again, welcome to WEP. Thanks for posting for REUNIONS. A wonderful entry.

    Denise :-)

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Denise. I'm a little behind in reading other blogs, busy with a new book launch yesterday and today. But will get to several more before days end!

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  6. You are much braver than I am. I loathed my school days (and didn't fit in) and could never go back. And perhaps I should.

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    1. You might be pleasantly surprised...you never know. Just be comfortable with who you are! Thanks for stopping by!!

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  7. A great summing up of the decades, and of your own growth as an individual. Thanks for posting and welcome to the WEP!

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    1. Thank you Nilanjana, I'm slowly making the rounds of the other blogs. Found some great ones so far!

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  8. Friendship is the key to many things, one is survival of most any situation! Those early years form the rest of our life, push us toward the next horizon. Welcome to the WEP! Beautiful entry! Thank you!

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    1. Survival is what we must strive towards - emotional, mental and physical. ;)

      Thanks for dropping by, Yolanda.

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  9. Friendship sure helps get many through many a thing.

    Amazing how that works, huh? We realize most of the high school crap doesn't mean a thing and away the fear goes. Guess age has its perks.

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    1. Yes it does...and as I turn 70 next month, I appreciate that fact more and more. LOL!

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  10. You were accepted by the in crowd and discovered it no longer mattered. You discovered what was most important to you.

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  11. I loved your ending that being accepted didn't matter anymore. What a great feeling that had to be. That Toastmasters question had to make you feel pretty good too!
    Thanks for sharing this, I've never attended a reunion but I think if I did I would feel similarly about it. Nice to meet you thanks to this hop!

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    1. Thank you, Julie. It was a bit of a revelation to me and made the rest of the event even better!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  12. As near as 5 years later, I could barely remember anyone from high school. I was a shy wall flower. Never know it today, lol.

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    1. I only remember a lot of the kids because of being in a small class, 100 or so. LOL!

      And no one now believes I was ever shy, today I'm introverted (but probably an ambivert - I can socialize when I need to).

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  13. Excellent toast! Well done. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated!

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  14. Liked your retrospective. It brought back memories. A letter to classmates is a great interpretation of the challenge prompt.

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    1. Thank you and thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  15. High School was a bad time for me. I'm not sure they even have reunions. If they do, I've never been invited. Well written speech.
    Nancy

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  16. Hi Donna - interesting take on Reunions - in the fact you wrote (had written) the letter ... clever take though. Fascinating insight ... and a different way of looking at Memoir ... if one wants to write about the past. I had some of your experiences and some not ... but life is life and we all have different paths to take ... loved this - thank you ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Gosh what I should have added - was the excellent Toastmasters compliment ... and yes I'm way more confident than I ever was at school or afterwards for a while. H

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    2. Thank you, Hilary. It was a much better experience than I ever anticipated. Appreciate the visit and comment(s). ;)

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