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8 March 2007
"Have you heard of 'Classmates'?" Walt asked me. It turns out he's been getting e-mails at his e-mail address, with messages for me from "Classmates," the web site that helps you reconnect with people from your high school.
When "Classmates" first started sending out notices, it was many, many years ago (probably 1998) and I thought it was a cool thing to do, so I signed up. I didn't realize, of course, that I would actually have to PAY to see anything substantial. I lost interest almost immediately.
But those "Classmates" people are nothing if not persistent. I hear from "Classmates" all the time, their ads pop up everywhere.
Perhaps it would have been a good idea if I had attended a big high school, but when you have a graduating class of 60, only three of whom registered with Classmates, it did seem kind of a silly waste of money, so I never officially joined. (My profile has been checked out 22 times since 1998!)
Walt forwarded his most recent email from Classmates to me and stood over my shoulder while I checked it out, something I hadn't done for years. I only checked it out because it said that someone had signed my guest book. But, of course, you can't see your guestbook without joining ($40 for a year, or $15 for 3 months).
They will, however, tease you with a list of who from your school has joined. Most of the handful of people from my alma mater who joined were people I'd never met before. Of the people from my graduating class, there were only three or four.
"Oh, I met her," said Walt, still hanging over my shoulder, reading the name of one of the women.
"How could you possibly have met her?" I asked. "I haven't seen her in years."
"She came to that reunion at our house," he said.
Good grief. The man has a mind like a steel trap. Even I don't remember who showed up at the "surprise reunion" I hosted. Probably because I've tried desperately to suppress that gawdawful memory.
I realize that my lack of housekeeping skills have become legendary in this journal, but when I set my mind to it, I can actually be a fairly decent hostess. I cook good food and put out a pretty good spread.
I don't remember clearly now how I happened to invite classmates to our house for a 10 year reunion in July of 1970, but it was a week after Tom was born and for some reason I had volunteered to host a get together of people who were interested in a class reunion. (Probably because ours was not a class with people who volunteered. I was a go-getter back in the 1950-60s and so I knew that if we were going to reunite, it was going to be up to me, new baby or not.) Most of the women who showed up were people I hadn't really had much to do with in school.
My idea was that they'd come, have coffee, we'd do "what are you doing now?" and then they'd leave. I figured even I could handle such a low-key get together post-partum.
Only the people who showed up somehow had the idea that I was serving dinner. I was, of course, too embarrassed to admit that I had not planned on serving a dinner for seven people. I just assumed they'd go home, but they sat and sat and sat and it became apparent that I had to do something.
The problem was that I was just out of the hospital and had a newborn and two toddlers and I hadn't been to the grocery store yet to stock up on food. All I remember about that horrible, horrible day was that I served some very dry ham and lord knows what else.
I was mortified. And too embarrassed to tell them that I really had not planned on hosting a dinner party. Lord knows what tales they have told in subsequent years about the awful meal I served them.
I did attend the 25th reunion at some hotel in San Francisco and enjoyed meeting the handful of women who showed up, but the person I most wanted to reconnect with came with a "better than thou" attitude and, when I walked her out to the car said "I came because I was curious. I don't need to see any of these people again." (including me among the "these people.")
There are only three women from our class of 60 with whom I have stayed in contact. We have exchanged Christmas cards over the years and about five years ago, I met one of them for lunch (I haven't even seen photos of the other two in more than 30 years). We have recently discovered a fourth member of our "group" who is in California for a short time, and we may try to get together with her.
When I was a young girl, I imagined that I would grow up having lifelong friends, like my mother does. She still has contact with people she went to a one room schoolhouse with. But that was not to be. It's kind of sad because high school was one of the happiest 4 years of my life and I have wonderful memories about it. It's a shame that there is literally nobody with whom to share those memories.
Here is a blog to check out. This is the blog of my friend Gabi Clayton, whose 16 year old bisexual son Bill committed suicide after a gay-bashing incident several years ago. Gabi was recently hospitalized with chest pains and has discovered the difficulty of having no health insurance. She works tirelessly for safe schools for gay kids and has a small private counseling practice, but cannot afford health insurance. Her husband is an artist and, like me, a part-time art/theatre critic (with more valid credentials than I have), and also can't afford health insurance.
Anyway, her story is gripping and should you be moved to help with her astronomical medical bills, the web site will tell the story (can you believe this 54 year old post-menopausal woman was charged $29 for a pregnancy test, in addition to things like $10 for one aspirin?).
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This is entry #2534