It’s fairly humorous how three (or, for some people, four) short years are unpacked, dissected, evaluated, processed, angsted over, and held in careful retrospect for the rest of our lives.
Such is the event known as “high school,” often glorified through movies as such Grease, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and High School Musical, HSM 2, HSM 3, HSM 4, HSM 5, HSM 2,187, etc.; but much harder to actually get through than it appears on the silver screen..
High school has been on my mind this past week for various reasons, among them an embryonic effort by some fellow Mainland High (Daytona Beach) classmates and I to organize a simple gathering next summer to commemorate our 25th year reunion. I flipped through my yearbook today and laughed at how young we truly were, all of us—thinking we had figured out life, love, careers and so forth, doing our best to make it through the school year if not simply the month if not merely that day. Passing paper notes to each other (there was no e-mail and certainly no texting in mid-80s) that had anxious phrases on them such as “write back!” and “don’t read until after school.”
“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school/It’s a wonder I can think at all,” Simon and Garfunkel noted in their classic song “Kodachrome.”
I’m not sure if I learned a lot of “crap” during high school as much as I simply endured the shared reality that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. It’s amazing how teens today have technological access to know so much more; but wisdom probably still eludes them. Wisdom must pass through the corridors of time and be forged by experiences that run the gamut from joy to pain.
At our high school class’s 20-year reunion back in2006, I was pleased with how much so many of us had learned about life, and how this provided a sense of empathy for each other that we simply did not possess when we were teens. The virtual gathering of much of our class on Facebook across the past couple of years has only increased this matured connection and appreciation…and has proven that the final story of who we are as a class and as individuals has not been completed by graduation day.
Three or four years is a drop in the bucket, but a lifelong journey together can be a deep well overflowing with new discoveries, shared heartaches and listening ears. In the end, that’s even better than Danny and Sandy flying away in the magic car to the tune of “We’ll Always Be Together.”