(Sorry, I forgot to hit "Publish" last night. I was wondering why I had no comments. Lol!)
My sister was to watch our kids while we went to the reunion. All day Saturday our daughter was taking calls from her about how her husband wasn’t feeling well, etc. She still agreed to watch them. We told her to come by at 4pm and take the kids swimming and that we would be leaving around 6pm. We assumed that made it clear that they shouldn’t come back to the room until after 6pm. Ummm, not so much. We told her 4pm so that Anastasia and I could have some...adult time before getting ready. Thank heaven Anastasia threw the slide bolt on the door because about 20 minutes after they left, they came back, but the slide bolt prevented them from walking in on us. We told them again to come back after 6pm. Sheesh! (Ok, stop laughing!)
After we stopped laughing we got ready which meant that Anastasia had to try on the 2 outfits that she brought and pick one. Then put on the earrings, necklace and make-up that she bought for the event. Did I mention Anastasia looked hawt? She looked hawt!
We walked into the restaurant and one of the reunion coordinators instantly, cheerfully called me by name. I don’t know if she knew it was me because I arrived with a woman, (my reservation included Anastasia’s name) or if it was because she recognized me from my senior picture (they had senior pictures of all those attending glued on poster boards along the wall in the banquet hall).
I knew many people by name, but didn’t ‘know them, know them’, know what I mean? I mean, I knew who they were, but they probably didn’t know me because we never interacted in school. A few women walked up and said hi. Each time I immediately introduced Anastasia as my partner and we exchanged family stories. Everyone was always nice and polite. After awhile Anastasia went out for a smoke. Surprisingly the restaurant where the reunion was held was smoke free, so all the smokers congregated at the front entrance. When Anastasia came back she told me I was famous outside with the smokers! She said that some women had asked who she was and she said she wasn’t anyone important. They laughed and said ‘no really, who are you here with?’ and Anastasia replied that she was with her partner, Lola. Anastasia said one of them hollered “LOLA ROCKS!” and another said “we love Lola!” and said to be sure to tell me that she answered one of the questions in the Reunion Booklet with “I kissed a girl and I like it”. When I asked Anastasia who these women were, she said she didn’t catch their names! I kept telling her to scan the room and point out who they were, but she didn’t see them. Then suddenly TB came running up to me and hollered “LOLA!” and gave me the biggest hug! TB and I were friends for a bit in grade school and coincidentally, she was the one that told Anastasia about the Reunion Booklet. That hug alone made the trip worthwhile. It was like that hug meant 'I know what a big decision it was for you to be here and I'm glad you came'. It was awesome!
Anastasia kept asking if there wasn’t anyone else I wanted to talk to, because I was kind of sitting there and people watching. There wasn’t really, so Anastasia just kept sending me up to the bar (kind of a forced way to mingle, I’m not a mingler). The people I ran into at the bar didn’t know me anyway, but in theory, it was a good plan. Lol! Near 9pm the crowd was about as thick as it got, maybe 60-70 people, and the room had divided into cliques. Kind of a small gathering, since the graduating class was 400 students and most people brought a guest.
Finally at 10pm we called it a night and headed out to Walker’s Pint, a lesbian bar in Milwaukee. If going to a 30 year high school reunion made us feel old, stepping into this bar was just the confirmation. It was a bar full of 20-somethings, drunker than all get out, singing at the top of their lungs to every song the DJ played, even Johnny Cash classics. We had one drink and headed back to pick up the kids, who were by that time at my sisters house. (More of her husband’s illness drama.) We topped the night off by watching Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) back at the hotel.
If you asked Anastasia, she’d probably say she was kind of puzzled why I didn’t talk to more people. As it turned out, it was mostly the popular kids who attended and they quickly gathered into their cliques just like back in high school. Some of the more outgoing ones made the rounds to everyone to say hello, but most of the popular kids stuck to their own kind. It was still interesting to see everyone. It was amazing how many I could recognize without looking at the name tags. I guess some people’s faces don’t change much as they age.
The people watching was pretty much just watching the people from the old high school cliques begin to gravitate towards each other. The other thing was looking at the attire. Of course there were plenty of women who were dressed to impress. Fresh hairstyles and hair colors, new outfits. There were some guys who thought that wearing a motorcycle t-shirt, the one without the holes, and a pair of jeans was suitable. Another guy showed up in one of those not very flattering bicycle t-shirts with mesh shorts and sandals. There were a few women who also just seemed to wear whatever they’d wear to the bar on a Saturday night. There was even one guy who just sat in the parking lot on his Harley, apparently hoping it was a chick magnet or something.
I recognized several other loners who came without their significant others. One of them, CB, who I also didn’t really know, but knew who she was, got a table at the front by the buffet line, front and center, where she could see everyone who walked in. She sat quietly with her Reunion Booklet, thoroughly reading it, kind of holding court until someone occasionally stopped by her table to say hello. CB mostly sat by herself. Around 8:30pm apparently she had seen enough, quietly got up, stopped to look at the senior pictures on the wall and left. Another girl, DK, again, I didn’t know her, but knew who she was, seemed to go from table to table and sat, but didn’t talk to anyone. Anastasia thought that maybe she was waiting for someone else to start the conversation when DK sat at our table, so Anastasia introduced herself, but all that elicited from DK was the briefest of introductions, and that was it.
Going to my reunion to me wasn’t really about seeing old classmates. I mean, it would have been nice to see ones who actually knew me, but unfortunately not many of those attended. That was kind of disappointing. It was still kind of cool seeing everyone, even though I was still pretty invisible (except for being famous with the smokers outside, Lol!).To me, it was all about having the guts to be there, you know what I mean? I mean, here I was, one of the invisible kids, AND I’m a lesbian. It was all about having the balls to actually show up AND proudly introduce everyone I met to my partner Anastasia and just be there. It would have been so easy to find excuses not to go or to go and sheepishly introduce my partner as "my friend". The fact that I was one of the invisible kids, the fact that I’m now an out lesbian and only 1 person in attendance knew that (other than the reunion coordinators), and the fact that it was a long trip and quite an expense. I had more excuses than most of the people who didn’t bother to show up. But I showed up.
I was there.
I came...I saw...I rocked the reunion and we all had a great time in Milwaukee.
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