High School Reunions

Last weekend was my High School reunion.  I’m not going to say which one it was because it’s noneyabidness but it was long enough ago that we’ve all mellowed a bit.  Or at least we now have the funds to bail ourselves out if things get too out of hand.  I always attend these with mixed feelings because my high school years were not those of 90210, Glee or Gilmore Girls and most certainly not like Gossip Girls!  High School was difficult for me.  I didn’t fit in in many ways, wasn’t a jock or a Cheerio, light years away from a brainiac, I’d skipped a grade so I was a year younger than everyone, didn’t have an older sibling to help pave the way, went to a parochial school instead of a public school.  Nothing really to make my transition to this awkward time any easier.

My freshman year was the year the school board decided to move the 9th grade from the middle school to the high school.  As a result there were about 850 new students, freshman and sophomores, trying to navigate our way into the “big leagues”.  You’d think that would make it easier since over half the school was new but not for me.  Everyone seemed to know each other already since they’d been fed from the middle school.  I stumbled through the first year but didn’t really find my friends until the next group of freshman came in and I started hanging out with them.  Guess I just needed to be with people my age instead of grade.

Because of this, whenever a reunion approaches I’m not struck with the overwhelming desire revisit the memories.  I wasn’t very close to my classmates and haven’t really maintained attachments post graduation.  I went out of state for college and never resided near my hometown.

Having said that, I’ve attended each one.  I sometimes scratch my head over my desire to reconnect but I still spent some very important time with these people.  We had the same experiences, teachers and memories.  Maybe it’s sadistic of me to attend but I’m really curious as to where my peers lives have taken them.  I know I’m a far cry from who I was during high school and I wonder if others evolved as well.  And that seemed to be the case at least among the attendees.  The essence of who they were in high school was still there but it was so much fuller and fascinating.  There were quite a few people like myself that were embarking on their second careers.  Others that were raising families in various stages and ages.  But everyone seemed very happy to be there and really interested in finding out about everyone else.  The cliques seemed to vanish…FINALLY!  Of course we only had a small percentage attend so maybe I’m not getting a full picture of the class.  But I left that evening with a fonder filter with which to remember my school years and school mates.  Oh, and really sore feet.  Fabby looking shoes but oh the price I paid!

Raise Your Game

My Mom and Dad have been avid golfers for as long as I can remember.  My Dad started playing when he was young but my Mom didn’t pick it up until she married him.  She also started skiing when they got married.  But I digress.  We were fortunate enough to live in a small town with several pretty good golf courses close by so they were usually able to play somewhere.  Even if for a hole or two or to shag balls.  My Dad really enjoyed the game and the release it provided him from his stressful career.  For my Mom, I think it was a wonderful opportunity for her to find a moment of peace and quiet amongst the chaos of raising 5 children.  It’s blissfully hard to answer a million questions and referee the multitude of battles when you are on the back nine!

I always thought it was great that they shared this common interest.  They took golf trips together, went to golf school together and played together several times a week.  My Mom, being the great competitor she is, really worked at her game.  She has a great eye for analyzing a swing and for putting what she learned into practice. It got to the point she could play better than my Dad, who was no slouch himself.  In fact she plays better than almost the entire male membership at their club.  There’s quite a bit of grudging admiration in the men’s locker room for my Mom’s skills.  All of us kids grew up playing, with varying degrees of success.  I like being outdoors but the time it took to play a full round was time I wanted to use elsewhere.  So while I am proficient, I haven’t excelled to the level my parents have.  But I always loved playing with them.  It was really fun and the laughs we had were priceless.  Best of all, I always played better than when I was playing in an outing or a league.  Both my parents would give me tips, and my Mom especially was great at fixing my errant swing.  I played up to their game and was the better for it.

I thought about that last night when I attended a table read for the latest project I’ve been cast in, a short film.  One of the actors there had really prepared for the read, our first meeting as a cast.  He’d really thought about all the characters and had read the script multiple times.  He’d mapped out past histories and relationship nuances I hadn’t begun to think about.  His work got me thinking about decisions I’d made about my character but hadn’t formalized.  Made me commit to certain aspects of my role and who I was in the story.  Made me work out where I was going in this story.  In short, improved my game during our brief meeting.

It had been a while since I’ve been in a collaborative effort like this.  Voiceover can be a solitary business with no one to bounce ideas off of.  I was excited leaving the meeting and reminded that I should always try to work with those better than me.  Push myself.  Raise my game.  How else am I going to get that hole in one?