I am freaking out.

It snuck up on me, I swear.  I knew it was coming; it shouldn’t be a surprise.  I’ve had plenty of time to prepare, to wrap my mind around it, psych myself up for it.

So how the hell am I so unprepared?

My class reunion is less than two weeks away.  My thirtieth class reunion.  A reunion that was supposed to be really really special for me, because I was going to show up all slim and successful and in-your-face about how great my life is going.  Instead, I’m fat, unemployed, newly divorced, and scrounging returnable pop bottles for the gas money to make it to Kalamazoo for the big event.

Well, shit.

Some of you may be doing some quick math in your heads.  Yes, I am 48 years old.  I’ve been coy and evasive about my age up until now in my blog, but what the hell.  I am 48.  Things are sagging, creaking, and sprouting hair in places and ways I never would have believed if it weren’t happening to me.

I want to wear something that makes me look spectacular, but I just don’t think there is enough Spandex in the world to squeeze all of the saggy, creaky, hairy stuff into the kind of outfit I envisioned myself wearing for this event.  No, there is definitely no Little Black Dress on the agenda.  Oh, it’s black and it’s a dress, but it’s not so little.  I’m wearing it because it makes my boobs look great, provided I can secure the proper permits and heavy equipment necessary to lift them into the special “cleavage bra” that I reserve for just such an emergency.

I’m hoping that some spectacular cleavage will blind everyone to the enormity of my ass.

In truth, I have to worry about three perfect outfits, because I am attending three events that weekend.  Maybe four.  That’s right; we are making up for thirty years of apathy in one big weekend.   It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that we haven’t stayed in touch over the years, considering that our unofficial class slogan was “Out the door in ’84.”  In reality, it was “Dream and explore in ’84,” but I don’t think anyone really took that seriously.

It bothers me that I don’t know who my class president was.  I think it’s the very tall man whose locker was next to mine for six years, but who never learned that my name wasn’t “Heidi.”  Six years of side-by-side lockers, often standing or sitting next to each other because no names where going to come between “H-Y” and “I-A,” and he never figured out that my parents didn’t name me “Heidi Hyde.”  Seriously, Dude.

I had a crush on another boy, from ninth grade on.   At our graduation ceremony, I finally worked up the courage to approach him and tell him about it.  Now, keep in mind that we were backstage at Miller Auditorium, wearing matching caps and gowns.  I said, “I just want to tell you that I have had a crush on you since ninth grade.”

He said, “Really, what school do you go to?”

I think I may have dodged a bullet.  However, one of my reunion goals is to get a kiss on the cheek from him.  Or at least a hug.  Fine, a handshake will do.  Okay, I’ll be ecstatic if he remembers my name.

I may cry if he thinks it’s Heidi, too.

I wasn’t exactly invisible in school, but pretty close.  I didn’t play sports, didn’t date, didn’t get nominated for homecoming court.   I didn’t even go to homecoming games other than my Sophomore year, when the football team went undefeated and it was easy to get swept up in the excitement.  Even though I was a theater nerd, I didn’t do school plays because they were always Musicals and my last attempt at singing and dancing at the same time has been ranked among Michigan’s Top Ten Worst Natural Disasters.

A few days ago, I whined to a friend about feeling like a failure as I face the upcoming reunion.  She laughed at me.

“Dude,” she said; “you wrote a book.  You survived a tree falling on your head.  Lighten up, Dude.”

Did I mention that this friend holds a PhD?  Back in school, she used to call everyone Dude, and high-fived my face on more than one occasion when we’d had too much to drink and she forgot how short I am.

God, I miss her.

But she’s right.  I’m alive to go to my reunion.  My best, dearest friends from ‘way back then are alive.  And Dude, ain’t none of us where we thought we’d be by now.   I’m not the only one to gain weight or lose a job or get a divorce.  I’m not the only one struggling with insecurities.

I may be the only one packing myself into the super-bra.

Christy and Lori beat breast cancer.  Dee didn’t.  Tosha and Holly married the perfect men and lived happily ever after.  Inger and I didn’t.  Anita became a nurse and somehow became even more beautiful at 48 than she was at 18.  Most of us didn’t manage that.

But the point is that we’re all human.   We’ve all failed at some things, and we’ve all succeeded at others, and somehow we’ve all muddled through and grown to become exactly who we are supposed to be at this point in our lives.  We grew up, despite our best efforts to the contrary.

I’m nervous about the reunion.  If there was a diet plan that could make me drop 80-plus pounds by August 1, I’d be all over it.  But I refuse to be ashamed of the way I look.  I am going to go, and I am going to have a great time, and I am not going to hide every time a camera comes out.  After a few drinks, I may even start bitch-slapping anyone who calls me Heidi.

Afterward, I may end up calling 9-1-1 if I can’t get the bra off by myself.  But I’ll make sure there are no small children or breakable object anywhere in the vicinity so there are no damages when the boobs are finally released back into the wild at the end of the night.

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

53 thoughts on “Reunited”

  1. Excellent post, as usual, Amy. I chuckled several times due to being in the same spot –including the super bra! I love ya! Have a great time and give ’em hell!


  2. You spoke for ALL of us about Reunions. Truth is, none of us are where we think we should be – and if we are – what a sad statement, it means there is nothing left to achieve or dream for. Thank you for the gratitude that you have for what you have – to be confident in where you are – no matter where that is – is a great thing. And sister… you have it! Yeah YOU!


  3. I love your post. You touch upon all those insecurities we face. Some of us run away, some of us go, and then there are those of us that believe no one will remember us, and therefore, if we don’t exist, well neither does that reunion. 😉

    At age 62 I’ve come to the understanding that nothing matters more than friends and family. Too many of us have lost loved ones and have found ourselves either in the receiving line at the memorial service, or opposite and trying to offer comfort to those that are suffering their loss.

    Weight gain, no job, divorce, etc., none of that matters when we reunite if we look inside ourselves at the value of time that we have to share with others. You will find many that are floating in the same flotilla.

    Girl, I hope you high-five, laugh your ass off and enjoy every moment you share with long lost buds. Show ’em your true self, set the standard that will allow them the freedom to be at ease in the midst of something they have been fretting over too. And remember this little tidbit, if someone refers to you as Heidi, thank them. You obviously had an impact in their life. They may be a bit like myself, absolutely clueless of your actual name, or any name. Age is a wonderful place to be.

    Weight gain fear? Kiss that issue into the wind. Simply enjoy who you are in that moment. Far greater concerns abound in that room, many that are not obvious, but just as fearful to those who carry them.

    Good luck, girlfriend, especially with that bra. You never know who may want a look at the scenery. 😉


    1. Thank you. You know what’s funny? I spent weeks on this post, trying so hard to get it just right . . . And then threw it all away and said what I was REALLY feeling. Maybe not so eloquent, but a lot more heartfelt.

      I’m going to have a great time. Drink a toast or two to absent friends, probably dribble at least one drink down my front (into the cleavage!) and very likely get at least one high-five in the face.

      Probably shed a tear or two as well. 😉


  4. Great read….you’ve so skillfully portrayed reality. Slim is good but not the ultimate criteria. I bet nobody from your class writes as well as you do. So go out with your head held high and have a blast!


  5. I am 23 years old and reading through this I couldn’t help but be a little sad that I may never experience this (ever the anxiety part) because my school (along with many others) have elected not to do reunions. The reasons being Facebook. So many people have it and stay in contact that they think it’s a waste of time. I want my opportunity to fret about my life and go on a crash diet like everyone else!


    1. Don’t be too sad — a decision made at such a young age may not be as firm as you think it is. I bet your class gets together for reunions in the future because Facebook just won’t be enough.

      A group of my classmates and I staged a “mini-reunion” a few years ago because we got news that one of our classmates had died in a freak accident. We started thinking about mortality, and realized just how many we had lost, and gathered a small group to honor and remember them.

      Facebook wasn’t enough for us, and it won’t be for you and your classmates. You’ll have a reunion someday!


  6. Too funny! You described me exactly, except I wasn’t even invited to my 30th reunion. For my 20th, the committee called me to get … my step-brothers number and address, then said something to the extent of, “Oh, that’s right you graduated with us, too, didn’t you? I guess you can come, if you want.” I didn’t go, and I didn’t give them my brother’s information. He ran as far as he could from them. I respect that. He thanked me later that night when I called him.


  7. Every person at your reunion is worried about how they look and whether they are successful enough. Now just go and have fun knowing you spoke for every one of them.


  8. Wow! This post is amazing. Couldn’t help but read your other posts too. I love your sense of humor, and the subtlety with which you convey such deep feelings.

    Thank you for lightening up my day. And well done!


  9. This was really awesome.Throughout the reading i couldn’t stop myself thinking about my pals and the loads of fun that we had at our last reunion just 3 days ago (22nd July,14). So, a big thanks to you for sharing this.
    Well,I just hope we continue our reunion until its more than 30;)
    So,All the best ,be happy ,be yourself and have fun as well!!


  10. Never attended a single high school reunion. Distance was the excuse. Either I didn’t have the interest or I didn’t have the courage. Love your attitude though – you sass it up and have a good time for me!


  11. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. You reveal so much of what many women (and men) feel at this age. You mention that you want the boobs to take the attention off your butt, but I just want to say that boobs AND butts are all the rage these days. I have seen a 250 lbs women rock a string bikini! She had such confidence wearing it and it exuded sensuality. It is truly about your attitude. You are hot, just accept it and go get ’em!


  12. I applaud your go-for-it-ness! I backed out of a reunion a couple years ago because of similar things. Kind of sorry now but maybe next time! Let us know how it all turns out 😀


  13. My 30th reunion was last year. The most depressing thing ever. No one was happy, including me. You’ll be the life of the event, trust me! You have a pulse…the married ones are lifeless, the successful ones are hairless, the playful ones are brainless, and the event is meaningless. I hope you follow up with how it went.


  14. I can so relate to this post about reunions (of any kind). Always wish just once all heads would turn and jaws drop as I make the ‘grand entrance’..well, that doesn’t happen–ever. I just melt into the woodwork, invisible.
    But! Thank you for choosing to follow my blog! 🙂


  15. Isn’t it weird that we all want to go to a reunion when we feel good, slim, successful, the right man bag attached etc. When in reality everybody has good times and bad (hair days)


  16. My 30th COLLEGE reunion is coming up, so a 30th high school reunion is for mere children!! Lol! Loved this post! You absolutely went right to the heart of the way I think most people feel about reunions. You go for it, and I’d love to know where you got your super bra!


  17. I love your writing style! Your humour is lovely and every single word is a joy to read. Seeing as I am currently only eighteen years old myself, I most certainly can’t say that I relate to what you’ve written. But at least now I understand better why my mom was so stressed out about attending her high school reunion a few months ago.

    Thanks for sharing!


  18. So as I was reading about the upcoming reunion, I could not place you. THANK GOD you went to PN. I was a PCHS student for a year and a half (thanks for moving me during that oh so secure and confident time). The reunion is this weekend and I’m not going. Pretty much the same reasons anyone doesn’t go to their reunion. Who would I hang out with? I’m friends with some older and some younger PC grads. Have FB contact with one or two my own class. Weird that I have been able to walk into a room with VP’s of Hershey Corporation and speak intelligently and convincingly. However, showing up at a bar with a bunch of people I was “friends” with? I’ll pass. I wish you ALL well. Be brave! I’ll sit on my dock and raise a glass to you all:)


  19. Good luck at your reunion! Your post was absolutely hilarious! I am approaching my 10 year high school reunion and I must say i’m having a similar “holy crap” moment!


  20. My fortieth is in two weeks. What’s worse is it’s not just my class but the first twelve classes to graduate. 1968-1980, yikes. I’m working on the wardrobe now. Great post.


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