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If Ever We Meet Again

Reunited, and it feels so good…. Or does it?

Reunion season is upon us. And being invited to reunions can only mean one thing: I must be getting old.

Who knew? Certainly not me.

But in the last few months I’ve been invited to two camp reunions, one family reunion, and there’s been talk of a reunion from an organized trip I went on 20 years ago. Mind you, I was the one doing the talking, so maybe it doesn’t count. Reunion fever is catchy – makes you start thinking about all the other reunions you could – or would – go to. Public school? Perhaps. Junior high? For sure. High school? Hmmmm… which one? University? Definitely…maybe. Grad school? No chance, Lance. So many reunions, so little time…

The family reunion was an interesting one. Oohing and aahing over the latest family members (babies, spouses, pets); trying to create new family memories by recreating memories of yesteryear (egg toss, races, games); reminiscing about people who couldn’t be there (travel, divorce, death); and of course a lot of food. A lot. It was a bittersweet day, a day of reconnection and marvelling that these people who live such different lives from yours are you relatives, your family. And you could really feel it. Everyone left with shiny happy smiles and wondered if and if and when we’d do it again.

Well, apparently, we’re doing it on an annual basis now. Which, to me, kind of rubs off some of the magic of, say, an every-five-year shin dig. Or ten. Then it becomes more like a holiday or something – everyone gathering every year, shooting the same old shit. But we’ll see what happens. More often than not everyone gets carried away with the reunion fever, but as they settle back into their own lives, it tends to subside. I hope.

The camp reunions were an entirely different kettle of fishsticks.

I actually only made it to one of them. Previous engagements aside, I felt like too much of an imposter to go to the first one. I’d only gone to this camp for a single summer. So it just didn’t feel like my camp, y’know? And that single summer happened to be one of the worst of my life, so going to the reunion was pretty much off the cards from the start. But a handful of friends were the organizers, and it did sound like fun, so I was tempted. Just not tempted enough. Revisit the time I consider the peak of The Dark Year? Erm, no thanks.

The other one, however, was for my camp. So I had to go. Or did I? Most people go to reunions to see old friends. I, however, was still friends with most of them. Or they go to see old flames. Hello?! Have you seen the haircuts we sported in the early 80’s? Combined with being 14, it simply wasn’t a pretty time. So not a lot of luck there. But I knew I’d regret not going, so I twisted some friends’ arms, and off we went.

It was packed. For the most part I hung out with the posse I went with. It was a 50 year reunion, so we didn’t feel ancient at all. Au contraire. And there were lots of friends and faces we hadn’t seen since forever. Of course there were some awkward moments too. You know, the kind where you try to subtly read a person’s nametag as they hug you and gush and you haven’t a clue? And, even worse, the kind where you bump into someone you thought you’d been really tight with and they can’t remember your name. Apparently that’s quite devastating…

I’ve recapped since the big night and everyone had a wonderful time. Especially the folks who were a couple years older than my gang. I think our year must’ve been an odd one. Or a nomadic one. Or the kind filled with those too-cool-for-school to show up. ‘Cuz we were somewhat under-represented, in person and in pictures. Where the hell were these people? More importantly, who the hell were they?

Guess we’ll have to wait for the next reunion to find out.

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

My twisted arm is fine and I’m glad I went. I have many theories as to why our age group was under- represented. There’s a larger paper in the workings there with major social implications about coming of age in the decade of greed. Too heavy for your blog?

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May 15, 2007   No Comments

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Bullied? Or Bullsh*t?

A while back I was in browsing (yes, out of my house) when someone approached me, ready to rumble. “Hi” she said accusingly. I looked at her. And drew a blank. I thought back, way back… Did I know this person? Should I know this person? Apparently, yes and yes. “We went to summer camp together” she said and after a strange, stunted, go-nowhere convo, she stormed off. I chalked it up to personal issues. And then racked my brain. What was her name? How did I know her? Which camp? Who the hell was she?

I went home and called my friends from the three different summer camps I’d gone to. No one remembered this girl. Oh well, I thought, another sign that the aging process is taking its toll. Hadn’t a clue. Appropriately enough, I soon forgot about the whole incident.

Until several months later when this girl resurfaced. This time, we were at a friend’s party. Spotting her, I immediately remembered her as the mystery girl – from the store. I still had no recollection of her from camp. Trying to be nice, and to pretend I knew who on earth she was, I went over to say hello. We started chatting, the usual stuff: what do you do, where do you live etc. Turns out she has a couple of kids, boys. Boys who, she claimed, “are much easier than girls. And much nicer.” She turned to leave but first, looking me square in the eye, she added, “girls are bitches.” Whoa! I’m a girl. A mother of boys, but still a girl. A girly-girl with a lot of girlfriends. Sure, some girls are bitches. But some boys are too. What was up her ass? Watching her walk away, I marveled at her anger. In front of a practocal stranger. And at that moment I remembered her: as one of the ‘losers’ in my cabin at camp.

Sounds harsh, I know, but that’s exactly what she was. Especially in our year. Not that we were any different, r better, or worse, from other 15 year olds. But, see, that’s just it – we were 15!! Mean girls? We had ‘em. The kind who stole your boyfriends, got thrown out of camp, and then stole your clothes. Yep, they got the boot, packed what they liked and left. We had the athletes, the sunworshippers and the secret smokers. The only-friends-with-counsellors-gals. The gung-ho campers, the performers, the canoe trippers. The girls who went out with the trippers. And everyone in between.

And then there were the few who hated everything and everybody. They made no effort to “fit in” – a must in any teenage social situation. Nor did they try to just get along. They were the ones who sat around being miserable, complaining. They were dripping in attittude. Not tough ‘tude, or too-cool-for-school-tude. Just “poor me” ‘tude. Poor me, no one likes me. Poor me, I never get to sit at overflow. Poor me, my clothes aren’t as hip as everybody else’s. Poor me, I’m not pretty. Poor me, I’ll never get a boyfriend. Poor me – I’m the same as everybody else with the same insecurities yet have entitlement issues and am bitter!!!! Yeah, that girl was one of them.

Oddly enough, that girl bumped into one of my best friends the very next day, telling her about this girl she bumped into, a nasty bitch who pretended not to know her. When she mentioned my name, it was all my friend could do to keep her mouth shut. In fact, she couldn’t. “That’s one of my best friends” she stated, proud. (That’s why we’re such tight pals).

At first I was outraged. My name was being dragged through the mud! Especially since with the recollection of who this girl was came the recollection that she wasn’t even in my cabin. And that I left halfway through the summer. And that there was someone else who was rather nasty with the same first name as me. Oh yeah, I remember her now. But then my ire faded. How sad it all was. Bullied? Hardly. Just bitter. She was barely a blip on my childhood radar. And come to think of it, I know exactly why.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

Strange… at my camp, the losers always got sent to overflow. They just didn’t want to get suckered into clearing the table because they were too cool to “freeze”.

9:17 AM

Anonymous said…

Strange. The losers at my camp alway sat at overflow. I know, becuase I was the staff member assigned to monitor the overflow table. I think they thought they were too cool, or too uncool, to “freeze”. Who wants to clear the table everyday?

May 20, 2006   No Comments

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