Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dear Classmates.com: You're lying

Every so often I get an e-mail from one of those websites that allegedly connects you with former classmates. They will try to lure me into upgrading my free membership for a fee by announcing that someone remembers me. I can tell they're lying right off the bat when they claim someone recalls me as ambitious.

Honestly, my high school years were not my best years. Not that I hated my classes or that I was a slouch - it was just four years of finding myself and not really fitting in. I was definitely not part of an entourage of girls walking the halls to class together, and I didn't go out of my way to get others to like me. Most of my friends were from a Christian youth group I was involved with in a neighboring town, and the only kids from school who even knew about it were the few I invited.

The other thing that didn't endear me to the "ambitious" crowd was that I took the business major route instead of college prep. My folks were working class people who were not sold on the value of a college education. Take typing, they said, so I'd always have something to fall back on. I'm pretty sure they were thinking steady office job but hey, it has come in handy as a writer.

Being a business major way back in the 1970s meant there was a clear separation from those who were on the pathway to college. These days high school course catalogs are designed with the appeal of a slick glamour magazine, chock-full of options with minimum recognition of the fact that many students are geared toward something other than college. There was none of that when I was in school, no wide variety of classes to choose from, no concern about whether I was emotionally connected to the allure of a catalog. They saved a whole lot of money on design back then.

The most fun I had in high school was being a part of stage crew, where we often had the chance to see the inner workings of productions brought into the school. Now, that was a bunch of quirky people. As bizarre as the behavior of the performers might be (and as entertaining as that was), those of us involved in lugging sets around and running out to MacDonald's for lunch enjoyed a temporary elevated status just by being associated with a production team. There was also that chance, when everyone else had left the area and I volunteered to lock up, to belt out a number and be a star in the sanctity of a silent stage.

So I got through high school and did all right for myself. But seriously, website people, I was not memorable and didn't strive to be at the time. I just wanted to be on to the next thing - taking part-time college classes for a while, singing in a band, and... oh yeah, that desk job.

If these sites like Classmates.com want to be more realistic, they should consider something like... "Hey, someone remembered you as kind of weird and a little boring, but basically a nice person."

Then I would believe them. I still wouldn't pay to find out who thought of me that way, but at least there's hope that it is an actual memory.

I missed the last class reunion, my 20th. Another one is in the works for fall even though this is an odd year (37). I'm pretty sure those involved in the planning are thinking we're not getting any younger. This means I have three months to become a famous author or win the lottery. If I'm there maybe someone will come up to me and ask if I was the girl they remember as ambitious. The answer will be no...

But if you recall someone who was kind of weird, a little boring but basically nice - thanks for the memories!

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