To my Sullivan Central Cougars Class of 1993,
I wish I could be with you Friday night as you meet once again in the cafeteria lined with age old trophies and concrete walls that contain more secrets than the FBI. I remember the first time we were all together was on a hot August day in 1989. We were freshmen and our two middle schools were merging into one big class of 287. We had hair that would make Bon Jovi weep with jealousy and mom jeans that have suddenly made a resurgence among millennials. Aqua Net was a staple and Jason Priestly hair was starting to make an appearance on the guys. The most popular song in the US the week we started high school was by Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting followed soon after by Paula Abdul’s Cold Hearted Snake. The music of that year would be all about Milli Vanilli, Bad English, Janet Jackson and Sinead O’Connor. I’m sure everyone else is jealous of our signature songs. We’d timidly make our ways through the halls, hoping we could figure out the combination to our lockers and make it to class on time. At the pep rallies we were booed and we looked forward to the day when we would have our day in the sun as seniors.
History has a way of binding us together. While many of us haven’t seen one another since June of 1993, you probably can still remember some of the most intimate details of someone who was in your homeroom. I sat next to Aaron and Tina and we learned to read. I remember when David’s dad died in third grade. What about when Michael threw up in his beef stew in 4th grade? Yep. Seared into my memory. You’re welcome. We know who dated whom and who was picked on, who wore weird silver moon boots that one day in 3rd grade and never lived it down (aka: Matt Roberts). We lived through the horrors of 7th grade when everyone looked bad except for that one girl who never seemed to go through the “awkward” stage. I hate her. Jk Jk. But really. Why? Some of us couldn’t help that we looked like Napoleon Dynamite. Bless.
As you walk the halls together and look in the classrooms I bet a few of you will remember how Ms. Larkins always painted her nails in Latin class. Carpe the dang Diem to you, Ms. L! When you peek into the band room send a shout out to Mr. Doty. As you round the corner and come up the steps by the old art room, remember Mr. Shipley. I hope as you walk through the caf and try and remember whether you had first or second lunch, that you remember Jennifer’s mom and her kindness as she welcomed us every day, took our money and served us hot 10 cent rolls & pizza squares with a smile. I pray you sense a feeling of camaraderie that can only come with having experienced so many vulnerable moments and milestones that come with adolescence and the angst of teenage years.
I hope that when you are together this weekend that you will laugh a lot and that no one feels less than or the pressure to feel like you have something to prove. That is exhausting. However, I would still like to hear who had a facelift and who did everyone used to pick on that now is running Apple and Tesla and laughing at all of us on his/her way to the bank. Just keeping it real. Oh, and if the cheerleaders could do an updated version of that Janet Jackson dance y’all did in the talent show our senior year, that would be icing on the cake. For as long as I live I will never forget the judges faces. I hope you’ve told your kids about it.
Things will be a little bit different this time around. Fewer braces, more pounds, less hair, less Aqua Net, more ozone layer, but as you walk those hallowed halls of Central one last time before they lock the doors and move to the new high school, I pray that you will see glimpses of a younger you and be thankful for the ways it changed you and left its mark. I hope I can see you at the 30th
P.S. Somebody please call me and tell me all the details. I’m looking at you, Anne.