By MATTHEW NASH
We were the first teenagers to watch MTV back when they use to play music videos 24 hours a day. Our parents didn’t know what to think when rap music started to come from our bedrooms. We listened to Loverboy and were “Loving every minute of it.” We were hysterical for Def Lepard and we listened to AC/DC “All Night Long.”
We played Pac-Man, Frogger and Donkey Kong at the arcade, and we went to Pizza Hut or McDonald’s after football games. We went to the prom on the Belle of Louisville and a few weeks later we graduated from New Albany High School, we are the Class of 1988.
When we were in high school we didn’t have Smart phones to communicate so we had to talk about what we were going to do on the weekend during the passing period between classes. The Internet had been invented, but it would be a several year before we knew what it was. It would be another 20 years before our kids would tell us about Facebook. Now we are planning our 25th class reunion almost entirely through social media including Facebook and YouTube.
Saturday night we will all gather at the Culbertson West to celebrate 25 years since we walked out of high school for the last time. Our class has gotten together every five years since our graduation, but this is only the second time I have been able to go.
I look forward to seeing the people that I went through high school with, many I haven’t seen in a long time. There are just a couple of people that I talk to on any type of regular basis. There are a few people that I see out around town and I usually say hello. I will see a few people every year at Harvest Homecoming, but this will be the first time that I have gotten together with my high school graduation class in 15 years.
I would imagine that today’s reunions are a little different from those in the past. Nowadays much of our lives are lived online and we know much more about the people that we went to school with that maybe we wouldn’t have before social media. A lot of our everyday lives are lived through cyberspace so we know things about our classmates that we wouldn’t have before. It will also be great to hear the stories of the last 25 years first hand.
My wife doesn’t know very many people that I went to high school with. She is younger than I am and didn’t grow up in New Albany. This will be the first time for her to meet many of the people that I spent my youth with.
Some of my classmates will likely have stories of their children going away to college or planning a wedding soon. I am sure a few have grandchildren to show pictures of. I will be sharing stories from both ends of the spectrum. My oldest child is in college and has been married for nearly a year, and we are also expecting another child early next year.
I assume that 25-year reunions a generation ago people would bring snapshots of their children to show how much they had grown. People who decided that they wanted to keep in touch more than every few years might have exchanged phone numbers or addresses. If I run into someone I haven’t heard from in a while I will probably just pull out my phone and send them a “friend request” on the spot.
On Saturday night many of us will all spend a little extra time getting ready to see our classmates that we haven’t seen in years, and some we may never see again. We will put on nice pants and a pressed shirt and maybe some of the ladies and possibly some of the guys will even get there hair done.
The last time we were together in a group we were wearing acid wash jeans or even parachute pants. Many of the ladies had hairdos that looked like some of the rock bands of that decade and many of the guys were wearing mullets. When we gather together this weekend many of us will have a lot less hair then we did back then.
There are a handful of our fellow classmates that have died since we graduated high school. Some of our classmates passed away from illnesses, cancer or heart attack. Others passed away from vehicle or other accidents. We will honor all them on Saturday night by gathering together and celebrating the good times we had back in high school and to remember their lives, gone too soon.
The members of the class of 1988 live all around the globe. Some of them will be able to make it to the reunion while others will have other commitments and obligations that will keep them away. I don’t know what to expect from my 25th class reunion but I look forward to reliving the memories with those I spent my high school years.
— Matthew Nash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org