Alma Mater memorial


AGMA is going to go to her 45th high school reunion in September.  Up until a couple of months ago, I had very mixed feelings about going.

I went to high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I didn’t grow up in the community my Alama Mater is located in.  My parents moved there right before my freshman year of high school.  That’s a tough time to move in a teenagers life.

Hard to believe but AGMA was so shy and introverted, it was hard for her to make friends.  It took about a year before I found my niche.

Not the cool kids.  Not the nerdy kids.  Not the honors kids. Not the band kids or the sports kids.

They were the AGMA kids.  All female because, God forbid I actually talk to a boy.  My face used to get red and I’d break out into a sweat when I talked to boys.  Seriously.  It was so embarrassing. Just better just to try to avoid them.

No wonder I never went to a high school dance where you did the date thing.  I didn’t go to one dance – not even my senior prom.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I’m really not sure.

But I do remember going to dances at the local community center.   We just went to hang out and get out of the house.  And away from the parents.

These dances were terribly awkward affairs.  It was the late 60’s so there were a lot of black lights and glow in the dark things  and rock music and  “clumps” of teenagers littered around on bean bag chairs.  My friends and I would go and hang out for a few hours.

And not talk to boys.

We all managed to get over the boy thing.  All of us got married at least once at some point in our adult lives.

As my step-mother used to tell me,  we were a “late bloomers”.  I still haven’t figured out what that means.

I’m still in touch with my five closest friends from high school.  We live scattered about in the Midwest and the South.  Only one still lives in Pittsburgh.  They’re the only reason I’ve gone to past reunions.

Oh – I need to mention that, up until this year, we’ve only had reunions every 10 years.  We’re starting to have them every 5 years now because we’re all getting to “that age”.  I guess we’re starting to drop like fruit flies in a biology student’s genetics lab.

We have a In Memory page on our class reunion website for classmates who’ve gone over the rainbow way too soon.  I was shocked when I went into it last week and instead of having the 10 names it had listed a couple of months ago, there are now 45 names.

We had 700 and some in our graduating class.

45 names.  Even out of 700, that seems like an awful lot of names to me.  And that’s only the ones they know about.  We have a lot of MIA’s from the class who can’t be tracked down.  The list could grow.  Dismal prospect.

To be honest, for a while there, I was a bit concerned I might end up on that list sooner rather than later.

After (and I know that some of this is definitely TMI) 6 blood draws, one set of “specimen” collection tests (still a traumatic memory), an ultrasound of my pancreas and gallbladder, a colonoscopy, an MRI (with contrast), an endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy of my pancreas, and multiple pathology reports, I’m feeling much better about my odds of not being on that list for my 50th.

Instead of having the suspected pancreatic cancer, I have something called autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP).  That darned AIP can mimic pancreatic cancer.

What a little dickens.

So having AIP means my white blood cells are waging war on my pancreas.  Charming.  And my pancreas isn’t very happy about it.  Understandable.  Why can’t we all learn to get along?

But I’ll take the AIP any day over cancer.

Oh, a lovely side “benefit” of my AIP is my newly discovered ulcerative colitis.  The GI doc expects the AIP to pretty much clear up with a course of steroid treatment which is no less than miraculous.  I’m stuck with the colitis.  But I’m okay with that.  There are some amazing pharmaceuticals out there these days.

So AGMA will be glamming it up and dressing to the nines to go to her 45th reunion!  I might even put on make-up and heels.  Because, unlike 45 of my former classmates, I can go to our 45th reunion.

I’m sure there will be toasts and fond remembrances of them, and we’ll all feel sad at their premature loss.  It’s right to pause and remember them.

But then I hope the dancing and wild rumpus will start!  I’m pretty sure there aren’t going to be any black lights and glow in the dark stuff or bean bag chairs.  But, oh yeah – there will still be rock and roll!  Lots of rock and roll.  And we’ll all celebrate being able to celebrate making it to this milestone.

And this late bloomer is actually planning on talking to some boys!