Why I’m Not Going To My 25th High School Reunion

My 25th High School Reunion is next week, and I’m not going.

It would not be at all inconvenient for me to do so.  In fact, I’ll probably be in the neighborhood!  I simply have no desire.  None.  I’ve been thinking a lot about why, and I just saw a post on Facebook that sums it up very nicely for me.  It said, "If someone wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be a part of it."

I think I can count on one hand–maybe two–the number of people from High School who have made an effort to be a part of my Life.  But you know what?  The reverse is also true.  I haven’t made much–if any–effort to be a part of anyone else’s either!  So what does that say?  To me, it says that I and the people with whom I attended High School have nothing in common except for the fact that we all went to High School together.  Why is that any reason to get together?  For me, it’s not.  I went to my 10th reunion.  When my wife (Jeannie) and I sat down at the table we chose when entering the room, the people who were sitting there moved to another one.  How very Lunch Room of them.  If there was anyone there I was actually curious about, I don’t remember it now.  All I remember is being ostracized and preached at by someone who had found religion and seemed bent on making sure my wife and I did too.  It is not an event on which I look back with fondness.  But none of that is a reason not to go now, 15 years later.  People change.  People grow.  The question I ask myself is, do I care?

I have done what I consider to be well for myself and for my family.  I am happy, and I work and spend time with people I consider my friends.  And people who like and respect me make an effort to be a part of my life.  I simply don’t care about anyone else or what they think.  When I mentioned all of this to my sister, she said, "maybe they don’t know how to get ahold of you," to which I replied, "Bullshit. My name is ‘Romeyn Prescott’! Type it into Google."  Go on, do it!  Type "Romeyn Prescott" with quotes into Google.  Your first 4 hits will likely be my personal "signature" site, followed by links to my profile on at least 3 major social networking sites.  And in the top 10 will be a white pages link informing you that there is ONE person named Romeyn Prescott in the U.S.!  Anyone claiming they don’t know how to get ahold of me clearly hasn’t tried. 

Not that they should!  I don’t write this out of self-pity.  I’m not sitting here in Potsdam wondering where everyone went or what they’re doing or why no one ever calls or e-mails.  The ones about which I do care are the ones about which I already know.  Will I look back on this decision with regret one day?  Perhaps.  But I’m a big boy now; I can handle it.  If someone wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be a part of it.  I think that effort needs to be a little more substantial than showing up once every 15 years.

I’ll keep an open mind, however.  Maybe I’ll go to the 40th.  Who knows?

Swing Set Demolition

Every kid should have a swing set.  Or, at the very least, access to a swing set.  When we were kids, my sister and I had a swing set.  It was your standard 2-swing model with a slide and that see-saw/glider thing.  When we were small, having the legs/poles of the set jammed into the dirt was good enough.  We could swing as far as we liked, jump off at the apex–which had to have been 20 feet in the air, right?–and come down onto the grass, the pile of leaves we had prepared, or the friend or sibling who didn’t get out of the way in time.  As we got bigger, we had to be careful.  Swinging back too far pulled the poles out of the ground! 

Good times.

But, to paraphrase Peter, Paul, & Mary, "giant [swings] make way for other toys."  We used the swing set less and less.  It slowly rusted; and then, one day, it was gone.  I remember the pang I felt in my stomach that day.  There was a flash of brilliant indignation: "How could they take it down without at least asking me?"  Perhaps more than anything else, that swing set symbolized my childhood.  And now it was gone.  That flash quickly faded as I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I actually used it.  And the yard looked so much better without it.  It would certainly be easier to mow that spot now!  Minutes later I didn’t really miss it at all. 

This past weekend I demolished our family swing set.  Fourteen years old and made of wood, it clearly had seen better days.  I had hopes of merely dismantling it and giving it away on freecycle.org.  But as I approached, toolbox in hand, I realized that giving it away would be irresponsible.  It was rotting.  It was unsafe.  I preserved the swings, their mounting hardware, and the slide and gave those away.  The wood has been cut up and left by the side of the road for anyone to take away.  That spot in the yard is now easier to mow.

I had contemplated doing this for over a year.  My reasons were practical.  I can’t remember the last time it was used. Indeed, I think Amanda and one of her friends were the last people to use it!  I expected to feel relieved.  I did not expect to feel loss.  That same feeling I had as a kid came back, with a twist.  It wasn’t just my childhood I was missing this time, it was my kids’.  When I picked Brady up at his Mom’s and he asked what I did this weekend, I told him about the swing set.  His response was a remorseful, "Awwww…" 

And then it was gone. 

I know exactly what he felt.