Friday, August 15, 2008


My 20-year-reunion will be next year. I graduated in June of 1989. That is insane. I look in the mirror and SEE that girl, that 18-year-old wanna-be artist or interior designer girl who sang in a band and was voted "Most Musical" and had signatures in her yearbook that said, "Sign your album for me when you're famous!" Seriously. What a long way I've come.

Instead, my artistic side has taken on something different, 20 years later. Photography. It's actually a quite excellent marriage of my techie skills and my artistic skills due to the fact that the camera and all this web stuff requires (or at least benefits from) some geekdom, which I possess.

Anyway, my upcoming reunion has fostered a frenzy of finding the over 700 people I graduated with. That's a lot of people to locate 20 years later in a world where - well, one could be in Okinawa, Japan instead of East Brunswick, NJ! A friend of mine from high school, Kim, has spearheaded the efforts to find our classmates via Facebook. I wasn't a HUGE fan of Facebook until I started finding people. People I really was missing, people I couldn't find in other ways - and it let me find them, message them, share photos with them and see theirs, and despite the silly features where you "poke" or send "flair", it has been REALLY fun! Word games, messages, photos, videos, and friends helping you find other friends - it's GOOD!

So. I have found and stayed in touch with friends I worked with in Georgetown at Sequoia restaurant. I have found college friends galore and lots of other sorority sisters I hadn't contacted in ages. And now, with my 20-year reunion approaching, I've begun to find the OLD friends. The people who I've known since high school, or junior high, or elementary - or before elementary school. Wow.

Now some of you know, I'm a Jersey Girl (well that's not hard to tell). But I'm a Jersey Girl who grew up in the 80's. The hair... oh the hair. Example? Well, MY photos are in storage (ahem) for 3 years or so ... but that girl, Kim - who's organizing our reunion?
(Sorry, Kim... I had to.) This is representative of the day. Oh my, the hair. The sequins. THE MULLET on that guy... poor guy. The fabulous music, "We've Got Tonight" being our prom song. (UGH. Who picked a 1977 song for our prom theme? I liked my semi formal's song from 7th grade, "Forever Young" by Alphaville much better.)

Well, though my photos of this wonderful time are in storage, my mother has class photos from elementary school. And apparently from BEFORE elementary school:
What's crazy is... I can actually NAME some of those people. (whenever anyone thinks our parents are horrible people for dressing us that way, I remind them that it WAS the 70's, and that my mom would say these were my favorite outfits - and my daughter is JUST as stubborn about her very... um, quirky sense of fashion) I've apparently known those people for - gulp - 32 of my 37 years of existence. And I'm now regularly emailing with them, and marveling at THEIR kids. My own is about to start first grade. Oh yes - be afraid. Be very afraid. It happens in a BLINK, people. And before you know it you're staring at the almost-shorty-year-old in the mirror wondering why you still see the college-bound girl who can't fit through the doorway because of her bangs and Aqua-Net nest on her head. And someone puts a picture of it on the INTERNET because isn't it just so nice that we can all find each other again after all these years?

SO this morning, I'm up extra early because my phone rang at 5am. (you can tell because LOOK at the size of this post! I haven't given the blog this much attention since jet lag) I went on Facebook and got a message from Carey, this sweet guy who lived near me and who had the most lovely eyes and was sweet and I'm sure made some girl very happy. He had checked out the blog here and complimented my photography and saw Mia's photo and said how beautiful she was (I get that a lot - Mia will NEVER know.) - so I responded to him because he said, "What have you been up to all these years?" Since, you know, I haven't seen him since 1989. I figured I'd share the better part of the synopsis, for those who care. If you don't - move along. Nothing to see here.

"Hi, Carey! Whew - wow - 20 years almost. Unreal, isn't it? Your kids are adorable, you should put up some more pictures. Thanks so much for the compliment, I finally got back to something artistic when I moved to Okinawa and had the time.

Let's see - quick recap. Went to University of Maryland and lived in the DC area for 9 years. After school did some web development stuff and waited tables (which proved more lucrative at the time). A few friends from college had moved to San Diego and after visiting them I made the decision to move there after falling in love with the area and realizing there wasn't much in Maryland for me besides my friends. (no boyfriend anyway)

In March of 1998 I moved to San Diego and in June I was in a car accident - broke a vertebrae and had 30 staples in my head (yikes).... but my little Honda Del Sol and a seat belt saved my life. I did some work from home for my friend's web development biz and was in chat rooms to stay in touch with long distance friends (the Internet was pretty new in 98, thanks Al, and I didn't have to pay a phone bill that way). In September of 98 I was in a Grateful Dead chat room (yup, went to 25 shows while in college) and met my husband there. Who'd have thought he was a career Marine!? I had found myself the best one. And he had great taste in music too, essential. My friends certainly couldn't believe it, but once they met him they understood.

We were married in May of 2000, had Mia on 10/4/01 (3 weeks after 9/11), I worked in marketing and web development for a credit union for 7 years, and toward the end of his 3rd Iraq deployment (13 months that last time), we were given orders to Okinawa, Japan! You can imagine we didn't think THAT would happen after he'd been in the USMC for 20 years! As soon as I found out he wouldn't deploy to Iraq from here (deal breaker), I thought it'd be an amazing opportunity.

Life sure has changed. I dive, we snorkel together with Mia, I'm starting a photography business, and we have the opportunity to vacation in Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and so many more places it seems 3 years won't be enough (and 1 is gone already!).

So - I've written a novel now. I think I'll put this in my profile somewhere or something! haha.... Tell me about you? What have the past 20 years brought for you? I am truly going to try to make it home for the reunion, but it's very expensive to fly and I like to save the money for the local trips while we're here in Japan (Cambodia might be a bit more exotic than EB... sue me). Will you go?"

So... that's the big question. The reunion will either be July 4th weekend or Thanksgiving Saturday. Both HORRIBLE times to travel, so no - I probably won't do it. But oh my GOSH I do want to. I wish it weren't so far and so expensive and during holiday time, etc. I will stay in touch with many of these folks and maybe have a reunion of our own one day. 25 years? Anyone?

Thanks for listening today. I missed writing here. Hope you enjoyed my LONG ramblings.


Ernie Santa Ana said...

Hi! Don't feel too bad if you can't make it to your 20th reunion. I went to my 10th without a date and had a blast dancing and drinking the whole night with a woman I had wanted to date back in high school. (She ended up marrying some total jock loser and having three kids with him.) I also had a great time seeing so many of my classmates. At my 20th, though, I was really disappointed to find that not many people showed up. And those that did, showed up with different spouses or significant others than the last time I saw them. My "love interest" was a no-show, even though she could've brought her husband and just say "Hi." I think throwing your own mini-reunion is a brilliant idea. Both of my reunions were organized by a professional reunion company...on the cheap. Not impressed. [I am impressed with that guy's mullet! My hair was so wirey back then, I couldn't pull it off. Sad to admit that I couldn't be 'business up front and party in the back.']

Rachel said...

Forever Young by Alphaville can still stop me in my tracks and make me instantly nostalgic. I wonder if it is as good a song as I think it is, or if I just have too many memories attached to it?
Ditto the facebook love.