Because I graduated in 1969, my 50th high school reunion is on the horizon.
I don’t know the specifics, but I’ve seen FB “Calling All Classmates” announcements here and there. Honestly, I’m only distantly connected. I spent high school not talking to most people, so why would I want to get all dolled up to spend an evening 50 years later not talking to most people?
In fact, I recently happened onto a friend’s video, based on yearbook photos, for the Class of 1968 reunion. It went on for 20 minutes, but I bailed halfway through. My heart simply folded at the sight of my 15-year-face. Not to mention the reminder that both of my high school boyfriends have died.
Then out of nowhere, I remembered three mysterious high school events that must be connected. It never occurred to me before.
Ours was a large public high school with lockers lining the halls, but when you became an untouchable in the theater department, you were allowed to store your things in the drama teacher’s classroom closet. This transition carried a Knights of the Round Table status.
A rite of passage that signaled privilege.
Each day I hung my gray Edwardian wool coat, along with a paisley silk scarf, on a hook and closed the door, securing the brass knob. Then one afternoon the scarf was gone. No one knew anything about it.
And there was this. In art class, I developed a fondness for painting street scenes, so the teacher suggested I study Maurice Utrillo. Romantic that I was, I believed I would eventually live in Manhattan with a career in publishing. Or I’d be a Greenwich Village poet. He chose one of my pieces for the art show display, hanging it in a locked glass case at the cafeteria entrance. I received a number of compliments. Then one afternoon it was gone. He had no idea how it happened.
And this. For the spring prom, no boy asked me. During this era, no one went without a date. A group of friends attending was unacceptable. The night was all about starry-eyed couples–one boy and one girl. Both of the boys I loved took other girls, popular girls. But late into the loneliest night of my teenaged life, the kitchen phone rang. I answered, but no one spoke, no matter how many times I said, “Hello.” All I could hear was a noisy background and Ricky Nelson’s “Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain.”
For her to steal my heart away when she don’t care.
I can’t love another when my heart’s somewhere far away.
Looking for a brand new start.
But little does she know that when she left that day
Along with her she took my heart.”