Reunion Blues

Recently I went shopping for some special occasion outfits. I dressed up because I thought it might help salvage my dignity in case I didn't find anything flattering to buy.

I've come to the conclusion that a tunic dress is not the style for me…unless I want to look like a snake that swallowed a rat.

Baby doll dresses make me look like I'm having a baby.

So I decided to take my mom up on her suggestion and try on today's version of a corset to help me slim the appearance of my mid-section. Have you ever watched a balloon artist? That's what I looked like — a human balloon squeezed tightly in the middle.

Yes, it did slim my belly. However it also divided the rolls of fat on my back and I popped out of both the top and bottom.

This is not nearly as flattering as the super spandex underwear that sucks in your lumpiness from the knee to just beneath the breast. It made me look like an over-inflated cyclist and I am fairly certain that my legs turned a shade of purple and blue.

I almost bought them. I thought that maybe I could pass it off as a tan. Any color is better than translucent.

Instead I shucked off the Nazi underwear from h-e-double hockey sticks, hung the withered and deflated thing back on the rack and slinked off, mortified.

Why did I put myself through all that? Four words. Twentieth High School Reunion.

To decide on an outfit for your high school reunion is to determine who you have become. I know who I am, but I won't have the usual accessories when I go to the reunion, which means I won't be hollering for those accessories to sit down and be quiet.

Like many moms, my kids define who I am. A high school reunion can be an opportunity to define who we are without kids. I…am Mrs. Potato Head.

Mrs. Potato Head is lumpy and pear-shaped (with a great tan). I am the peeled version. I have large shoes and a large purse. I have an expression for every occasion if I combine the right smile and set of eyes. But I have nothing to wear to my reunion!

Yes, my closet is full of dresses but they are too big for the girl I used to be. And then it occurs to me. Why would I want to be that girl anyway? She was shy, awkward and terrified of the future. She wanted to be funny, speak her mind and feel good in her own skin.

She wanted to be who I have become. I think I'll just go as me.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    My 20th is this year, too, and I give you a lot of credit for having the courage to attend!  I don't know if I'll be up for it.

  • Guest

    Oh, Claire, Go!  And HAVE FUN! (You, too, Lisa)

    I have been out of high school for 35 years.

    Reunions are for getting together with old friends whom you haven't seen in ages — catching up, seeing who has changed and who hasn't (you'll be surprised), making "new" acquaintences among those you went to high school with… 

    If nothing else, it'll give you a chance to say "Whew!  I'm glad that's over!" (referring to both high school and the reunion).

    Teresa W.

  • Guest

    I attended my 20th with three foster kids in tow (we received them the previous week, and I couldn't bow out of the event because I was one of the organizers). I was delighted to find out how much we had all grown … the old labels that stuck in high school didn't fit us any more than Size 6 pom-pom sweaters.

    I wound up getting a dinner invitation from our Class President … something that never would have happened 20 years ago! So just paste on your most confident smile and go! If you are happily married, you're probably way ahead of half your former classmates. 

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    You think the 20th is bad?  Wait till you're facing your 50th!!!  My husband's is next year, mine in 2011.  I'm figuring that, of those who have survived (about half), no one's going to notice what I wear, or the fact that I use a cane.  No one's going to care that we've both gained weight, or that we're both going bald.  The sensation at my reunion will be when someone brings up who's been married the longest……to the same partner.  That'd be me.

    No matter what the successes of the girls you admired or envied, you've got something they don't have: you're you. 

    Go, and enjoy.

  • Guest

    When I attended my ten-year reunion, I was mostly concerned about me.  How would I appear as compared to my peers? Am I doing better than the next guy? How do I look? How does that guy look?

    By my twentieth, I found I was mostly concerned about how everyone else was doing. I was genuinely happy for my peers' successes; genuinely sad for losses. How could we keep in touch and share in our lives? How can we encourage each other? I didn't really care about how anyone looked. 

    My experience is that it is much more joyful to have the second approach to reunions.

  • Guest

    I went to my 10 year reunion, and the committe was still a bit juvenile.  The award for the most children (4) was a condom…which came in handy a few days later when DH had a major cut (14 stitches) on his finger and needed to keep it dry while showering(good thing I don't clean my purse out very often!). What struck me about attending the reunion was that the group of us that decided to sit at a table together during the banquet were not close friends in school…but we were all members of the same parish during high school.  I haven't made it to another reunion…the timing and the cost have been factors.  I'm sure if/when I get to another one I will again have the most children, and possibly the youngest child since my "baby" (4 years oldnow) was born when I was 44.  As far as dressing for the reunion….it just emphasizes to us how hard it is to find nicely fitting clothes….after 16 pregnancies I don't think my tummy will ever be flat again.  And I don't think it should be.  I just wish clothes would fit!  This year is 31 years since I graduated High school, so maybe in 4 years there wil be a reunion again…


  • Guest

    We are talking about HS reunions, right?

    I'd rather do a tour of duty in Iraq than live another moment of HS.

    Is it me or was HS the craziest reality in the world?

    Gather a bunch of hormone crazed, insecure and confused individuals into one place.  And keep them there for 4 years.  Make sure some are way more mature than others and then grade them and give them homework. 

    Don't bother with the reunion.  Get on with life.  Enjoy your family and try to forget that HS attitudes never really existed.  It was enough confusion the first time around.  Rent a video or go for a walk or clean the garage or the attic.  People will not miss you. 

    Leave HS to the teen agers.  It is much better that way.

    GK – God is good!