Monday, September 15, 2014

20 years and Then Some by Robin Janney

Time flies when you're living life.  It also flies when you're on RuneScape trying to catch your levels up to your husband's, but that's a different post.

And as we all know, life doesn't even have to be all fun and games for time to slip away from you like sand through your fingers.  Life in general will steal away the years faster than you think. You graduate from high school and either head off to college or jump feet first into the working world.  Bills start coming in, no matter your choice.  Expenses for either college or job start piling up.  Some of us get married and have a family, others don't.  Friendships change, growing deeper or ending.  Some of us die.

All this musing because this summer my graduating class celebrated 20 years out of high school.

Did I just say - 20 years?

No, no, no!  How did that many years pass so quickly?

Some things never change!
L-R: Teresa Herman Allen, Ryan Allen, Mike Zaffrey, and myself
I'm going to be honest.  I don't have a lot of happy memories of school.  I was often teased and bullied.  A subject that came up much to my surprise with one of my classmates that night.  Speaking of me and my siblings about the bus rides to and from school, he said, "You all went through hell every single day."  Yes, we did.  It was a bit of a shock to hear one of my peers acknowledge this, especially since he was one of the ones on the other end of it.  I started too many school days off in tears, and many ended the same.  Even to this day, a little piece of me starts seizing up when I think back to those days.  Which explains why my side of the conversation probably was a bit on the terse side.  I didn't know what to say really.  A lot of the memories have blurred over, but it doesn't take all the sting away.  But that's all it is anymore, a bit of a sting.  A tiny thing in the great scheme of life.

But as I looked around at my classmates, I felt a level of acceptance I'd never felt before. Maybe because I've finally accepted myself, or maybe just the passage of time.  The reason why doesn't really matter.  I had warm fuzzies and I wasn't even drinking alcohol! (I had to drive.)  It was so much fun seeing faces that hadn't changed all that much, while trying to figure out the ones who looked nothing like they did all those years ago.  There was laughter and dancing (curse my aching foot!!)

But I do have some good memories.

How is this the best pic I got of Jennifer Turner Kelly?
She's the one right behind the centerpiece.
In eleventh grade, the main dance was the Prom.  It was the only one we would get as we did something different in our senior year.  I'm not sure whose idea this was, but as far as I know it is still the same in our old alma mater.  Now I came from a financially challenged family.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to go because I lacked funds for a dress.  One day, it must have been late winter or early spring one of my classmates told me that she had an extra dress for prom and I could borrow it for the night if I wanted to.

So one night I rode the bus out to Jen's home and tried it on.  Being a large girl, trying things on was a must.  It was a little tight, but I decided that if I lost a few pounds between then and Prom, then it would work.  I don't remember the details of the food dieting I must have done, but I do remember walking.  Faithfully, every day.  I'd walk 30 minutes in one direction then turn around and walk back to my departure point.  Needless to say, I achieved my goal and wore my borrowed dress to the Prom and had a good night.  Although I miraculously needed to go to the bathroom when they started playing the chicken  dance.  I've always been grateful for her willingness to share.

Johndee Perry and Mike Zaffrey
And then there was the time in middle school - oh my God now we're talking about lots more than 20 years.  Anyway, in gym class we always had to do certain exercises and have them timed or counted or both.  I forget what they were called, probably the Physical Fitness Test.

Needless to say, I struggled with every test.  I always gave it my best, but my best was never good enough.  I was too heavy and apparently I didn't play outside enough and just didn't have the stamina.

Well, this one year in middle school, I ended up with my own personal cheerleader.  Mike got to sit out of the tests for some reason, but when it got down to the end and I was way behind and the last one running, Mike followed me around the parking lot cheering me on.  "Come on Robin, you can do it!  Keep running Robin."  He stayed with me by my side until I crossed the finish line.

I doubt Mike and I ever shared more than a few words throughout our entire schooling, before or after this event.  But I have never forgotten this act of encouragement.  We all need people in our lives who will stay with us and cheer us on when we're flagging.
Senior Class Trip 1994

Liz Teribury Watson
If you looked closely at the group picture above, in the front row you'll see the same girl on each end. The photo was taken with an old fashioned camera, which required the photographer to slowly sweep the camera from left to right.  He had this tradition for each picture he took for class trips like ours.  He liked to include one person twice.  When he gave the "GO", the person on the left end of the line was to dart behind the rest of the row to the other end.  Well, Liz must have zigged when she should have zagged because the first time we did it there was a shadow from her somewhere in the lineup.  She nailed it the second time.

Jeff Hurley and Matt Weaver

This picture to the right is quite possible my second favorite one from the night.  I had already snapped one of Jeff and Matt, but Jeff caught me and posed so I snapped again.  At one point in the evening Jeff encouraged me to switch side of the tables so I could take part in the conversation better because to him it felt like I was off sitting in my own little world.  I told him that was normal, and not much of a change from high school.  I do tend to live in my own little world...makes for some great creative writing, but can cause other interpersonal issues sometimes.  But I followed Jeff's advice and enjoyed myself even more.

Lynette Sterling, myself, Tonya Austin
Now this picture to the left is my favorite from the night, even though the lightning turned us into fuzzies.  Our smiles still shine right through!  I have no words for these two.  They make me smile, and I hope I return that favor.

It was a great night to remember.

Though we are separated by miles and sometimes death, we are still close at heart.  Greater memories are yet to come, Troy Class of 1994.

Okay, that's it for the mushy stuff.

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