Birthdays, High-School Reunions, Family Holidays & Funerals

Tomorrow is my birthday. This weekend is my fortieth-high school reunion. Thanksgiving and all its hoopla is on the doorstep…

class of 77

It’s kind of a trifecta for naval-gazing–throw in a funeral and it could be a perfect storm.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful for every birthday–especially after getting through (so far) breast cancer.

So I’ll eat cake and open a couple gifts, give thanks and call it a day.

As for the reunion, I have no interest.

I used to attend every one.

But last time, I hadn’t even finished signing in and putting my tacky name badge on my boob, when an old classmate gleefully shared that the reunion committee had made a video of the Class of 77–and that hideous picture from the yearbook where I’m sticking my tongue out will be featured.

My heart sunk. So much for high school games and drama fading to the background as we all mature.

I didn’t have an easy way to go in high school because I dated a young man who didn’t handle his break-up with Miss Musical Theater as well as he probably should have before he asked me out.

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In the way of teenagers, this became my cross to bear. I was the slut. The homewrecker. The one who ruined The Way We Were.”

And Boyfriend was Mr. Varsity Club without so much as a smudge on his name.

As for the reunion video, when the time came, somehow it wouldn’t work. Technical issues. I still think Boyfriend stepped in and persuaded the “committee” against screening it. Or more likely, he took care of it.

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He and I were both there with our own respective spouses, and we have remained friends over the years.

As for other friends, some people looked right through me that night, and I realized the only people I should give a rat’s ass about are those who have already chosen to be part of my life.

Anyway, the whole affair left little to be desired. Not much more than a parade of pompous asses puffing on their own importance when, in fact, many never moved far from their childhood neighborhoods–their narrow little high school roles.

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Give me the strength. Oh, and pass the sweet potatoes because there will be way too much stuffed turkey posted to Facebook in the coming days. Some of it wearing lipstick.

I don’t want to live my life rowing a rowboat–always looking at where I’ve already been, back directed at the future. See, we never know how many days we’re going to get. Why waste time on yesterday?

A couple months ago, my husband’s colleague’s wife passed away in her recliner. She complained of a backache and lay down in her favorite chair. She fell asleep and her husband didn’t want to disturb her.

The next morning, when he left for work at zero-dark-thirty, the man realized his wife didn’t look right. Her pallor was gray. He went to rouse her and realized she was dead.

And she didn’t even live long enough to get an invite to her fortieth high school reunion.

The husband chose his wife’s high school yearbook picture for the obituary and funeral pamphlet. Since she was his high school sweetheart, and they had been married for thirty-six years, I kind of understood his thinking.

8-31 Marie Key Obit.png
Sample of the Ubiquitous High School Photo in the Grown Adult Obit.

But still, I always wonder at the choice of a high school photo in an obituary for someone who lived well into her adult years. Someone who was a mother and an employee and a church member and a friend.

We may never look as young and innocent as we do in that picture with the faux tux or faux gown, but age brings a type of beauty to one’s soul and one’s eyes that should not be discounted.

As for me, I kind of admire this lady’s obituary and picture choice. She’s the kind of woman I’d like to know:


And so, as we roll into the holidays, remember to let your loved ones take all the pictures of you that they want.

You are beautiful. Just the way you are. Especially when you laugh.

Thanks for stopping by–and keep looking for the next horizon. It will be glorious.


Susan J. Andersonfoxy

Foxy Writer Chick

6 thoughts on “Birthdays, High-School Reunions, Family Holidays & Funerals

  1. So well expressed. As you said, the people who have chosen to be part of our lives matter, not those we never see in our rear view mirror. We must look ahead, cherish every day and milestone as we continue our life’s journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Yes, grin and bear it. Can’t think of too many family activities more stressful than replicating perfect family harmony. In matching outfits. On the beach. With high expectations for perfection. I feel your pain! Happy Thanksgiving, Murisopsis!


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