I went to my 43rd high school reunion last night.
Here are some random thoughts about that.
When I entered junior high school (from a really small, religion-based elementary school), I knew very few of the over 200 people in my new class.
I started junior high school the year after my whole world turned around — when I had my first cardiac pacemaker implanted (on the same day that John F. Kennedy was shot, which turned everybody else’s world around, too).
I didn’t know many people in my 7th grade class. Nevertheless, I remember being happy to be entering that big world of more diverse, interesting people. I remember observing people, with fascination and with gratitude to be there among them.
It felt like an adventure and a relief, in a way.
Some people were kinder than others back then. 13-year-old kids aren’t very far along in the process of developing empathy to others. (Developing empathy is a growth process in human beings, which sometimes gets short circuited by unfortunate circumstances.)
But for the most part, I remember a lot of people who showed kindness to me. And I could have been a prime target for bullying — (1) I was unfamiliar to lots of people and (2) I had a medical condition that a lot of people knew about. (Because cardiac pacemakers were so new, and because the one I had implanted was so big and stuck so far out, the doctors thought I needed to wear a brace and leave early from class, with somebody carrying my books for me.)
But I only got bullied by one person and it was pretty mild (even though I did witness, at times, other people getting bullied worse, which was awful).
I had a lot of great experiences, learning to know the people in the class, as we grew from ages 13 through 18.
One thing I remember feeling bad about for most of those years of junior high and high school?
Not sure why I felt so bad, in retrospect. Actually, I can guess:
- I didn’t look like the models of good looks I saw everywhere in the media.
- The guys in junior high and high school didn’t seem interested in me, that way.
- I had this weird pacemaker sticking out of my body, which affected how I felt about myself.
Last night, at the reunion, some of the guys told me that they were interested in me, back then.
Why didn’t they let me know when we were in school together?
Because they thought I wouldn’t go out with them. They had lots of reasons why they thought I might reject THEM. I was very surprised to hear that.
I think a lot of people hear stories like that — and other surprising stories — when they go to a reunion.
That’s the end of the blog post for today, ladies and gentlemen.
Thanks to people from my high school, everybody who ever felt insecure in school, and — if that doesn’t cover everybody reading today — the rest of you, too.