I just returned home from a whirlwind tour of my beloved Birmingham, and my heart is full.
A 20-year high school reunion brought us to town, and as far as these events tend to go, I’ll immodestly brag and say ours was one for the books.
With over half of our three digit graduating class crowding the small venue space, the room was effusive with genuine gladness to be in each other’s company. No putting on airs. No trying to impress. No preoccupation with what anyone else was thinking. Just a room overflowing with Vestavia Rebel fellowship.
I visited with those I knew well and those I hardly knew (it’s ok, Lynn. I forgive you for initially thinking I was part of the wait staff)! I made a few double takes at the faces I didn’t immediately recognize (your beard, Charlie!), met and hugged spouses who have clearly met their perfect match (Marty), and admired cell phone pics of classmates’ children (can’t believe you have a high schooler, Desmond!)
It was an evening to remember those who left us too soon (sadly there are too many to mention), and to honor those who by the grace of God are still with us (Lee and John, among others).
It was also an evening to rekindle the friendships that helped define our formative years. You have your closest friends who remain so for always, the lifelong friends that neither time nor distance can touch. And as much as those are to be treasured, so too are the ones that you never meant to let fade away – made up of middle school sleepovers, Spring Break weekends in Pensacola, last minute overnights to Auburn football games and Saturdays swimming at Lake Martin. Tate and Ashley, so many happy moments shared with you both!
Despite my best efforts, there were several I saw across the room but never had a chance to speak with (Scott, I was really hoping to visit – and also tell Genta about the time I approached you at a Pizitz dance and got shot down!)
It’s a testament to the group that they were stripping the tables and turning on the obnoxiously fluorescent overhead lights before it even occurred to us to take the party elsewhere. I had no idea where four hours had even gone.
Yet, so many people I talk to roll their eyes at the very idea of a high school reunion.
“I already keep up with the people I care about.”
“Not my scene.”
“I hated high school. Why would I ever want to see those people again?”
Yes – high school is hands down an awkward time (and if anyone says otherwise they’re lying). But you know what? People grow up. We find our way and come into our own. We become husbands and wives, mamas and daddies, successful business owners, activists for social change and across the board, our own kind of awesome.
What a wonderful thing to celebrate.
Cheers to us all, Class of ’96.
I heart you guys.