Friday, March 9, 2012

Hang Out with Nerds.

It is no stretch of the imagination, but I was pretty much a nerd in high school. I hung out with a bunch of fun and quirky people like myself. Man, we had a great time. The summer after high school, before everyone headed out to college, and eventually on with their lives, we spent nearly every night together, in some combination.
That's me, second from the left.
Three of us were in band.  One the band president.  The other the VP.  Two in flag corps.  One on the dance team.  Five in National Honor Society.  Each one of us, aware of how special our friendships were then, knowing that our lives were before us, changing constantly.  Passion, ambition, and humor were the common threads between us.  We vowed to stay in touch.

I graduated high school in 1985.  I was the only one who stayed locally for college.  I spent nearly every weekend visiting these people at their schools, and having the time of our lives.  We kept in touch.  Every one of us.  Even before Facebook.

Six years ago at our 20 year class reunion, we all agreed to go together, without spouses.  It was something.  If you've never gone to a high school reunion, you SHOULD.  I was blown away for so many different reasons.  I was the only one there who was pregnant.  The "cool" people peaked in the late 80's, tops.  I have no memory for names.  And all the "nerds" looked better than ever.  That experience was life-affirming.  The kind you almost can't explain.

Cut to the present day.
Two of us are teachers.  One works for World Bank, and lives in both NYC and Morocco.  One is an engineer for a big oil company.  One is a lighting editor for Pixar in Oakland (and we love to look for his name in the credits at the movies).  And one is the Editor in Chief of Working Mother Magazine.
All of us, from a little town in Ohio.

When I was at the doctor's office last week with my mom, I grabbed a copy of the magazine and opened the cover to my friend's picture, and read aloud, "Letter from the Editor" to her.  Then I showed her who wrote it, knowing she'd recognize who it was.  So proud of her.

She echoed my sentiments to my children on the way home.  "Hang out with nerds, kids."  It wasn't the first time they heard it.  Jenny visits every August (her family still lives here), so I bring it up when we depart company annually, too.  In a world where there is so much bullying and competition to be the best at everything, I want my kids to know that beauty fades, but dumb is forever.  Seek people who have admirable qualities and a sense of humor--and have FUN.  It worked for me.

Love you guys.  Nerds and all. 


Rita said...

Nerds rule!!! Love the photo with our mutual friend laughing next to you!!!

Heather said...

And yet another reason why I love you and your stories :) I tell my kids to embrace their inner dork..don't be afraid to use your brain and intelligence...the nerds will come int there own. Two names....Bill Gates and Steve Jobs ;)

gina said...

First time commenter...I just couldn't pass up "beauty fades, but dumb is forever." Genius. And I can't stop giggling.

Candace H said...

Love this story of friendship and embracing, even celebrating, nerdiness, or the right to be uncool yet blissfully happy. I too had a group of "nerdy" friends in HS and while am no longer in touch with all of them, do still stay in touch with quite a few. Wouldn't trade my high school years and those friendships for anything. Sincerely trying to raise nerds or band geeks here at my house :)

Monika Wright said...

This resonates with me on so many levels...we, too, had our click. I guess we were nerds, but who knew that then. We didn't. Popular crowd? Definitely not. Fun, livin' life, making memories for sure! At my 20 year reunion {graduated in 1982} it was quite refreshing to be one of the successful people, to be better than ever and to look upon all those cool people and see balding, chubby, less than good looking specimens that did, yes, peak in the late 80's. HIgh School seemed to have been their shining moment and I'm still living mine! It just lets me know that when I tell my own kids what you are telling yours, that we're doing the right thing and our kids are going to be so much better for it.