Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blundering Down Memory Lane

I've been traveling down memory lane quite a bit lately, since I received the postcard announcing the 40th (gasp!) reunion of my high school graduating class. Well, not memory lane, exactly. In my case it's more like memory weed-overgrown-barely-visible-footpath, my memory being what it is.

And I've also been enjoying others' memories - if you haven't been following Fiona's ongoing serial story of her engagement and wedding, you're missing a true classic. Don't read it with your mouth full unless you want to make an enemy of whoever may be sitting nearby.

But Fiona's wedding tale (which hasn't gotten to the wedding night yet...dammit, Fiona, write faster!) reminded me of my own wedding all these many years ago. Agnes and I were married in a civil ceremony at the local registry office (Standesamt), and it was a very nice affair, right down to the paparazzo who was hanging around and shot the (very) candid pictures of us. The best part though, as you might suspect, was linguistic...

Agnes is German. Her maid of honor was German. I spoke fluent German, as did my best man. Nevertheless, because I was an American, the nice lady who married us wanted to be absolutely sure I knew what I was getting into, so she did the entire ceremony in both English and German. Unfortunately, something was lost in the translation...

Original German (summary translation): the two of you have come here on this day in the presence of your friends to join your lives together in matrimony and to live together in blah, blah, blah more flowery language, raise your children and honor and respect each other and more blah, blah, blah, etc, etc.

English Translation: "Yew haff come here today to get married."

Well, it wasn't quite that bad, but it was close.

We did, actually, get married that September day long ago, and things have been fine ever since, even on those days Agnes had occasion to wonder what she was thinking when she married such an eejit (thanks, Fiona!)

But back to the high school reunion...

I was somewhat distressed at our 30-year reunion back in 1999 at how many people I didn't recognize. Of course, I don't look very much like I did at graduation, either. If one of my female friends said at the time that I looked like a Presbyterian minister in my yearbook picture, what would she think I look like now? And what does a Presbyterian minister look like, anyhow? I think she probably had a mental picture of a tall, gaunt, ascetic fellow with the corners of his mouth permanently set at 8:20 (with apologies to those of you who may, actually, be Presbyterian ministers).

I got brave and posted a few then-and-now pictures on my Facebook page, which is visited by a handful of my old high school friends, so there are at least a few of us who will recognize each other behind the time-worn wreckage that has replaced the 18-year old babes and studs who marched out into the world 40 years ago.

This is going to be interesting...but you'll have to wait until October to see how it actually comes out.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Anonymous said...

Missed my 10th because I didn't live in the state and my parents didn't live in the state, and I was in Korea anyway. Went to my 20th in 1994--some of the people looked just the same, some I wouldn't have recognized without their name tags. Then there was the guy who thought I was a cheerleader (much laughter) and tried to convert me. Too bad I wasn't a born again pagan back then. :) A Presbytarian minister? No, you smile and laugh too much but that's when I'm dancing with you.

I worked with an Indian woman and the stories leading up to her marriage were better than a soap opera--we used to ask Rita to keep us posted on the latest.

fiona said...

Thanks for the mention darlin!
I agree with you "people I didn't recognise" The whole Facebook thing has been a real eyeopener. I would have walked past 90% of my old school friends!

wv- snesses - posh "english" sneezes

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

I *have* walked past old schoolfriends in the street! lol. How embarrassing!

Anonymous said...

We have yet to have a reunion. Our class president sucks! LOL I hear some other class members got together though and we finally have a date for one.

*sidenote.. wow!!! You Speak fluent German???

Mike said...

Duplicate action error

Let's try this again. I hate when that happens.

40th? Been there done that. (this isn't so funny the second time) sigh....... (that's two sighs for me today)

Wv - worthar - Worth as much as Arkansas.

Now I'm going to copy this in case it blows up againg but obviously it will work this time.

Amanda said...

So far, I've never been to a reunion. But thanks to Facebook, I at least know that most people look the same as they did 17 years ago.

I guess the real changes will come between now and 2022 when we reach that 30 year mark. OMG!!!! Look at that year : 2022.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

High school reunions...


That's one thing this girl will not subject herself to.

Bilbo said...

Leslie - you weren't a cheerleader?

Fiona - yes, Facebook can be terrifying.

Mal - Been there, done that, been embarrassed.

Twinkie - you will find it an eye-opening experience! Und ja, ich spreche Deutsch. Und Sie?

Mike - try having a few fewer beers before you post.

Amanda - I'm feeling old enough...I appreciate the thought, but PLEASE don't help me.

Andrea - It takes guts to expose oneself to a high school reunion. I may yet live to regret it...