I didn't make it to my high school's 25th-anniversary reunion. At the time, I was in South Korea, teaching English and exploring South-East Asia. At the time, I told my friends, "the only people that I want to see, I see already."
And for the most part, that was true. Over the years that followed high school, I kept in touch with most of my close friends, even though they had moved far afield. There was one friend, who moved out to Vancouver Island, who invited me to her wedding, which she held in Ottawa, but after that, she was gone, and shortly thereafter, we lost touch.
That is one person I would love to see again.
I knew that she probably wouldn't travel all the way to that reunion, and so I had no regrets in missing it. "It would be nice to get together with all my friends under one roof," I told DW, "but I know I'll see them again."
Several years later, after I had returned to Canada and had two young daughters, I learned that my old high school was closing, that it had been sold to the Catholic school board. Teachers and alumni had organized a celebratory open house and all former students were invited. I went, with children in tow, to pay my respects.
I saw a couple of teachers that I recognized but didn't have for any subjects. I learned that some of my old teachers had paid a visit but had left before I arrived. I saw one or two faces I recognized and one old friend who I hadn't seen since we graduated. We exchanged pleasantries but made no plans to keep in touch.
I showed my daughters some of the classrooms where I studied math, drafting, music, and science. We visited the gymnasium and the cafetorium, where a slide show actually contained photos from some of my yearbooks. My kids saw what I looked like when I was at the school.
I didn't enjoy the visit, didn't connect with anyone who still keeps in touch. I spent almost three hours, exploring the old halls, checking out where my lockers were, and hoping to make a connection with a past that I rarely thought about.
It was three hours of my life that I'm never getting back.
It's okay. The people that I wanted to see, I still see.
Yesterday, a dear friend of mine, Becky, from my days in Journalism school at Algonquin College contacted me. She wanted to let me know that the college was having a reunion for the Journalism department: specifically, those who were involved with the college's newspaper, The Algonquin Times.
My second-year classmates and I were the founding members of that paper. It was the first year that the school newspaper would be run entirely by the students in the Journalism program. We did the reporting, took the photographs, and edited the stories. We did the layout and sent the completed edition to the printer. How well we worked on The Times affected our core-course grade.
I loved working on that paper. My closest friends in the class and I worked hard, put in all kinds of hours, and were proud of our accomplishments.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of The Algonquin Times, and the college is holding a reunion. When Becky told me about the reunion, she also let me know that she wouldn't be able to make it because she would be away on vacation. There is one other friend from our group that I still keep in touch with, Michel, and I contacted him to see if he would be interested in meeting up. There are others, with whom I've lost touch but would like to see. Only, I don't know if they know.
And so, I'm off to another reunion next Thursday evening, September 29, from 7:30 to 11:30. I'm hoping it won't be four more hours of my life that I'll never get back.
If you know anyone who was in the Algonquin College Journalism program and had worked on The Algonquin Times, please let them know. The link for the event is here and the registration deadline is September 21.