Friday, July 24, 2009

Pondering Grade-School...

Tonight is the kickoff meeting of the Official All Saints Class of '82 Grade School Reunion Committee. (It's not really all that official. I just found some former classmates on Facebook, decided we should have a reunion, appointed myself In Charge, and recruited a few peeps. And there will be beers.)

It's funny re-connecting with grade school friends after nearly three decades. I'm finding it so interesting to hear their perspectives on the grade-school experience and their part in it. One of the committee members I'm meeting up with tonight was a popular, blond, jock-ish guy. In a Facebook conversation we had a while back, I said I was a chubby, dorky, non-cheerleader girl and I was surprised he was even talking to the likes of me. He said he didn't remember me that way, just that I was always nice to him. And he said that he always tried to be nice to everyone so he wasn't seen as a jerky jock.

Recently I was friended by another guy from grade school (he was one of the smart, quieter guys) with whom I had a nearly week-long exchange. I asked him if he was friends with the classmate mentioned above (who has a bunch of funny grade school photos posted on his page). He said no--that other guy was pretty mean to him in school. I doubt they'll ever be Facebook friends. Grade school scars run deep. And it's amazing how fresh they can feel and how vivid the memories still are. When I think back on some of those days, I have to stop myself from tearing up. I remember a lot of the hard moments and fewer of the easy ones. It's no wonder books for young readers appeal to so many adults and that so many of us can connect with those feelings and write about them in such a real way.

Last night I dug through some boxes in my basement and unearthed the All Saints '82 yearbook. The 24 mimeographed and stapled pages devoted to the 75 kids in our class (43 boys, 32 girls) include a class list, class achievements, memories, prophesies, teachers' favorite sayings and room for autographs and pictures. (Note: the smart guy signed my yearbook; the jock guy did not.)

Here's my prophesy courtesy of the 12 members of the yearbook staff:

"It is the year 2000 and...

Alice Pope had her very own hospital named after her. She is the very first Saint canonized before her death. She credits this to her 8th grade teacher, Sister Mary Thomas. She says "Sister Mary Thomas taught me what goodness truly was."
No, I was not on the yearbook committee. I don't know quite where this came from. As for my two classmates mentioned above? The prediction for the smart one was that he was going to have a fast food chain and become a millionaire. The prediction for the jock was that he would one day enter an elevator full of mirrors and uncontrollably grow an "oversized BIG HEAD" and continue to live there with his reflection.


JeannetteLS said...

Those of us from earlier generations rarely had elementary school yearbooks. It's the middle school (junior high) emotions that linger for most of the folks I know my age. That's when the love of storytelling was born for me. My best friend and I made up written soap operas to compensate for slow lives. We swapped twelve page "scripts" almost daily--a cast of Liverpuddlians (the Beatles days) and Californians, depending on our mood. Facebook is not my generation's preferred ongoing communication, but it has reconnected many of us and reawakended a world of memories and emotions. Wonderful that you are doing this.

Kelly said...

Funny prophecies!
Have fun with your grade school chums! Facebook is a great way to reconnect with old friends. I am getting together with old high school friends with a Facebook organized casual event this weekend. And there will be beer. :)

Vacuum Queen said...

Ya' know...when I went to my 20th year high school reunion last summer, I found myself clustered up with the gang from elementary school. It's funny how you can make connections that run pretty strong simply by growing up with people. I wasn't even super close friends with many of them because it's not like we had a lot of social outings as 12 year olds, but we enjoyed each other because we had gone through the same experiences together.

So you're right, big emotions and memories come from that great MG and YA age group.