“No, I didn’t go to your school, I’m just a La Habra Spouse.”--Guam Goddess in Training
I said this a few times this past Saturday evening in Long Beach. My husband and I attended his 20th High School Reunion; La Habra Highlanders threw a nice gathering of over 50 students. We almost didn’t attend this raging party (as raging as 38 year olds can be) because my husband was set to be “underway”…Navy speak for gone. But, as fate and luck and planet aligning would have it, the ship needed some repairs and they pulled back into port. His excited e-mails leading to his return made it seem likely that we would be making the two hour drive north so he could see classmates he hadn’t seen for 20 years. My hunt for trustworthy childcare began…
I attended my 10th High School Reunion in 2002 for George Washington High School. I was on the planning committee and as usual, found myself to be the secretary. It was exciting and easy because I was still living on Guam. It was laidback and maybe a bit anti-climactic since again, I was on Guam and many alumna who attended lived on Guam anyway. Basically, it was normal to run into Geckos at the bank or Payless or a funeral. I remember the group being most excited about people who left the island and were returning after 10 years to attend, my count was 2 back then. Facebook wasn’t a “thing” for us then.
Going to my husband’s reunion was different. I felt his excitement and trepidation. He was emerging a new man, minus the fashionable mullet that many sported. Would they recognize him? He only reconnected with classmates this past year via Facebook and I asked him if he had seen anyone (since 1992) of those who RSVP’d. He said he had not. I reminded him that some people might not recognize him immediately or not at all and not to be offended. I warned him that someone will remember a very specific detail about their past, that he might not. Sure enough, the first classmate he hugged and greeted with a “HEY!” detailed a specific memory…my husband’s face went blank and I laughed. (Told you so, I told him later). I spent the rest of the evening speaking with a wonderful lady. Then, after two hours, I gave in and sat to rest my feet…where I watched people chat it up, I recognized distinct cliques and enjoyed grown men hugging and laughing and drinking and being merry. I could safely say I was the lone Pacific Islander Asian (aside from my hubby) and when his bubbly Japanese classmate entered the scene, she bee lined for me. We shook hands and she was off to get her drink on. A few hours later, she was worried about my being quiet in the corner. I told her I was good. She offered me a drink and I told her I was the designated driver. She then asked where my husband was, I said he was chatting. She was insistent that I not be alone and told me to go to the spouse section (I refused), but like a wedding when the bride gets to shine, my husband was there to shine and reconnect during HIS reunion. She finally left me alone when I said I was fine being “a ninja.” She laughed merrily away.
I realized that being away from Guam for the past 8 years was inching me towards this level of not reconnecting with my classmates since I wasn’t “home”. If airfare was cheaper than the nearly $2,000.00 round trip ticket price to Guam, I would definitely fly home for our August reunion. My husband asked, “What if I bought you a ticket home for your reunion?” My immediate response was no. My next question was what about the kids? He said he would take care of it. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t. If we didn’t all go, or myself and the children at least, then I couldn’t. Imagine my mom’s horror if I went to Guam alone, without her darling grandkids. She wouldn’t have it, along with the countless aunts and uncles and cousins.
I do hope to fly home with all my children and husband in tow for my 25th High School Reunion in 2017. Need to save that salape’ since it may cost about 10K by then for air fare….
I appreciate that I have a special connection with a great group of people of the same age, same experience (or not) from a common place. I hope the reunion on Guam goes great. Onward Geckos!
Our Class Song, GWHS Class of 1992