Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 22
Back to schoolAt what point do your former classmates change? Hopefully never
BY SHELLY CONE
Last weekend was my high school reunion. I grabbed a slinky black and silver sparkly dress I wore only once before and a pair of dangly earrings. Slipping into a pair of sky-high platforms, I wobbled over to my poor excuse for a full-length mirror. The reflection wasn’t so bad. In fact, at the time, it looked pretty darned good. However, I still had some reservations about going—I mean, what if my pretty darned good was everyone else’s bad?
Fortunately, I got a much-needed ego boost from a most unlikely place: Target. A last minute errand for my husband forced me to go there minutes before my reunion. Waltzing into Target in sparkling black eye shadow and 4-inch heels takes a lot of confidence, so I had to pretend—mostly because it takes a pretty special woman to pull it off, and I wasn’t sure I was quite that girl. That is, until I grabbed a black shirt I needed and pivoted to leave the men’s department just before hearing “Excuse me, do you work here?”
Now let me stop and expand on this a bit. There I am, in the men’s department of Target, a place where employees wear chinos and red polo shirts, standing in the biggest, strap-iest platforms I’ve ever worn, in a body-hugging black dress with silver sparklies and hair as big and poofy as my first day freshman year. And this guy is holding up an armful of clothing and asking me if I—the girl who looks like she can be the star of the remake of Pretty Woman—work there.
Bless his middle class, middle age, new-to-the-dating scene heart. He was hitting on me.
Luckily a sales lady approached and I slipped away, gladly accepting that little ego boost. I was ready to walk through the doors of the country club and come face to face with my past.
The thing I learned is that you can run from your past, but you don’t ever shake it. Why would you want to? My past is full of so many memories. Most of my high school pals go back to our earliest elementary school days as well, back when Santa Maria was still an agricultural town. When there were more farm fields than strip shopping malls. When there was no Town Center West, but there was a drug store, a Mr. Donut, a post office, and a theater.
Flo Mina, hanging out with you and my cousin Gina when we were kids was awesome; Sherry Ambrecht, you had both the brains AND the beauty; Jennifer Webster, being a part of the Red Hots club was fun, wasn’t it? … Sizzle. Merce Ramos, I do now remember sixth grade dance—I wore an off-the-shoulder flowered dress, pink lacy anklet socks, and jelly shoes—that being said, sorry that I was the first girl you ever danced with.
Russell Henmi, if you are still thinking about posting our sixth grade pictures, when you come to mine, remember I just said “jelly shoes and lacy anklet socks”—enough said. Ana Gauna, you are still one of the thinnest, sexiest girls in our class. Jupiter Lovejoy, my husband was totally serious about talking our boys into naming a future grandson Jupiter Lovejoy Cone. That’s a badass name. You have always rocked it—even if you don’t think so.
Ben San Juan, you still have those crazy hairdos—only now they are on your face, not your head. Emily, you’re still frickin’ hot, and side-by-side we’ll be the hottest moms in the Bay Area. Jeanette Stetson and Vinnie Asencio—seriously, that teacher at Rice School remains one of the meanest I’ve experienced. Then there’s the duo with whom I ended up in the back of a certain police officer’s car. That was back when if you got caught cutting class they only cruised you up and down Broadway for everyone to see and then back to school. Epic.
To everyone else—who I can’t mention here because it’s too incriminating or because there are just too many of you—I thank you for sharing those memories with me. They really mean a lot.
My high school reunion came and went. I caught up with so many friends and didn’t catch up with enough of them. It was laughs, bittersweet memories, and fun reminders of all the little events that make me the person I am today. Some of us went on to college, others didn’t, but no college diploma can shape a person as much as those initial 12 years of schooling and experiences. That was the foundation that everything else was built on. So it was an incredible and proud experience to bring my husband into this fraternity of childhood memories and find that those people who were so important to my formative years could so readily embrace someone so important to my current years.
We had a good time. No. We had an awesome time. Or an epic time. Or a whatever-will-be-the-next-buzz-word-time. Because it was timeless and it was comfortable and it was acceptance and it was home. Someone told my husband that we were one of the tightest-knit classes to come out of Santa Maria High. He didn’t have to hear that to know it. The fact of the matter is I could’ve come to that reunion in a potato sack and been embraced just the same, because that’s how we roll. My class. The class of 1992.
For the record, Arts Editor Shelly Cone has consistently used the word “awesome” since 1982. Send her a thesaurus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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