Friday, July 4, 2014

TBT: My high school bedroom

This weekend, my high school class is having a reunion.  It will be the first one I have to miss.  It’s disappointing.  I have managed to get to them and they are always so interesting. 

Somehow, you are standing there talking to an adult.  An adult who probably has a job, a spouse and kids, a life of some kind and maybe a bit of gray hair.  But all you can see is their 17-year-old selves.  And you know that as they are talking to you, all they can see is your 17-year-old self. 

It is extraordinary the way that happens.  And the conversations are fascinating.  “You felt that way in high school?  I had no idea!”  A lot of misunderstandings can be rectified even though so much time has gone by because you are grownups now.  That stuff happened to other people—to the seeds of our current selves.  And with a little distance, and far less intense hormones, it is possible to see them and our younger selves, with compassion in ways that were not possible at the time.

Here is my bedroom from high school. 
This was a square Polaroid--tough to get the whole rainbow into frame.
I plotted out the curves of that rainbow and painted each stripe.  It was before rainbows had been co-opted by the Gay Pride movement. (At least in our neighborhood)  It was just a groovy rainbow left over from the 60s.  Against pink walls, of course.  It was the first time in my whole life that I had ever had my own room.  And I made it my own.  There are Shaun Cassidy posters on the walls not pictured.  Because David Cassidy posters were no longer available.  My mother made the gingham curtains.   

It disappoints me that more people don’t show up at our reunions.  My class, in particular, had a reputation among the teachers as being the worst class ever to come through.  We were not a cohesive group and there were some really divisive people in our class. 

But it is such a gift to be able to meet each other now and find that we have more in common after all this time than we did when we were squeezed like sardines into that little Catholic high school together.  It is also entertaining to see where people have wandered on the political and philosophical spectrum.  I was a very conservative goody-two-shoes religious high school kid.  Now I am a very progressive atheist.

Meanwhile kids that were “wild” in high school have turned into model citizens.  How does that happen?  Reunions are wonderful places to share our stories with people who knew us before we were us.  Thankfully they remember me much more fondly than I remember my teenage self.  And it turns out I do the same for them. 

We are so lucky to hold each other’s histories for each other. And I still love this rainbow room.

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