After the flood in 2008 deluged my high school and destroyed several buildings in my hometown, I was grief-stricken.
I was briefly sentimental.
I joined Classmates.
The Classmates website lists high schools in the U.S. and their graduates.
I emailed a few old friends, and, yes, all of us were devastated about the flood. But the person I most wanted to reach, it turned out, was dead.
I never made it to the annual picnic.
Though it’s been years and I don’t pay the fee, I still get email from Classmates.
Last week I received two. One was entitled “Kat, see what’s compelling about these guys,” and the other “Kat, see what’s riveting about these people.”
I didn’t recognize the names of any of the compelling “guys.” Is it like a hook-up thing? Statistically, aren’t most of us married?
I knew one of the riveting “people.” She was a nice person.
This is what we do with our lives. When we’re bored, we surf the net and track down old acquaintances.
I do not remember high school fondly. Nice people, but I had things on my mind. My parents got divorced and I had to attend my dad’s wedding in a church across state lines (he and his girlfriend would have had to wait a year in our state), I worked as an au pair girl for a neurotic hippie (you don’t want to know), and I was more intent on reading the Diary of Anais Nin and Mao’s The Little Red Book than studying math, history, or even English.
Naturally, the friends I hung out with don’t sign up for Classmates.
Do you remember the marijuana that wasn’t marijuana (and thank God for that!)? Someone sold an adventurous friend some kind of herb. Smoking “herb” did nothing. And what a good thing that was! I never liked drugs. (As my late mother said, I had too much sense.)
But we were free spirits in other ways. One night a friend and I, walking around the neighborhood, decided we wanted to take a bike ride. I had a bike, but she didn’t. We knocked on a stranger’s door and asked if she could borrow one. “Fine, just bring it back.”
That was the ’70s.
What I really wanted then? 1. A complete set of Thomas Hardy. 2. A cape like Anais Nin’s. 3. Cute little embroidered dresses. (The one I bought was too small, and I had to wear it over bell-bottoms.) 4. Earrings. (A friend pierced my ears with an ice cube for anaesthetic and a sterilized needle. ) 5. Indian food. 6. Peter Max posters and Kahlil Gibran posters. 8. More records by The Band.
Was I the most materialistic hipster in the universe?
I was young.
At the university, I discovered classics and recovered my academic skills. Everything was much calmer. I had a structure again.
I have not got a clue why Classmates has “rediscovered” me.
But I wish all those people very well.