I'm counting down the days to my 40th high school reunion. Honestly, I really don't know what to expect.

There was so much that was dull about my high school experience that our reunion has to be better.

When my classmates and I examine one another for degrees of aging by surveying hair loss, wrinkles and pounds, it's relatively easy to say that all of us will look and sound much older.

Although the truth be told, I don't think I've changed at all since graduation. When I look in the mirror today, I see the same old me.

"Why, Paula, you haven't changed one iota in all these years!" my classmates will remark [wink, wink]. "Land sakes, Girl, how do you do it?" And, I'll just smile and thank God for Nivea night cream and those toning exercises I started a week ago.

The thing that bothers me the most about my 40th high school reunion is worrying about how in the world I'll remember who's who.

Come to think of it, I hope the planning committee thought of name tags. Otherwise, I'll spend the entire evening talking to complete strangers who will tell me I was their high school sweetheart, locker pal or lab mate, and I guess I'll have to believe them.

What I  like best about class reunions is the unrivaled access to classmates who were off limits 40 years ago. I don't know about you, but we definitely had a caste system in our high school. It was one where girls like me could only dream of talking to jocks or chit-chatting with the popular crowd.

But at reunions, time has erased the old rules. Those former lines of demarcation are gone, which means I can walk right up to John and tell him directly to his face about the huge crush I had on him.

Quite a genius at math and science, he was brilliant in art and music, too. In fact, John went on to become an original member of the rock band "10,000 Maniacs." I suppose I'll let the other guys know I had crushes on them, too.

To be honest, I worry about my classmates not recognizing me because of that darn time machine I've been in for the last 40 years. And, boy, has it done a number on me, adding gray hair, crow's feet around my eyes, and wrinkly skin on my neck and arms.

And one last comment about high school reunions. It seems to me they should be a time for mending old wounds.

I encourage everyone who was a bully in school to come clean. That's right, confess and be vindicated. If you were bullied, confront your adversaries about the pain they caused. Let peace and justice turn back time and wash over what often were depressing and discriminatory school days.

That truly would make going to your high school reunion golden.
Post Script:I have just returned from my 40th reunion and it was great, even though I did have trouble recognizing people, they struggled to recognize me and, I'm sorry to say, John was a no-show. Although, I heard through the reunion grapevine that he never married, only goes for 25-year-old girls and is still playing his music. Oh well, such is life. Maybe we'll meet in the after life.

2010 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took first-place awards statewide. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at and find her on Facebook.

2010© Paula Damon

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