The reunion

I have a lot of memories, but I don’t think back on all of them with the same amount of joy.  That is especially relevant when it comes to my years at primary school, and growing up in the Ramsdal low rises in Haugesund, Norway. There are a lot of things I could say about some of the adults in my life back then, and some of the children, but as I recall I was in a good class.

I haven’t had any contact with my classmates from primary school since the mid 80’s and I haven’t thought about them either. I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that I made very mixed experiences growing up. Today, much of it is repressed to something rather shadowy. What I remember from my old school, Hauge Skole, is a general, strong dissatisfaction, but I have a vague perception of my classroom being a good milieu.

At least I have some faint memories of a couple of class parties that went well. This came a little back to me when I got a friend request on facebook. It made me ask myself the same question many others have done before me. Some of the girls are trying to gather the old 6th grade for a reunion. Should I go? My schooling had a rather tricky start, but that was due to completely different conditions. My classmates were just that, mates, so I am not totally negative to a reunion. On the other hand, it might be just as well to leave the memories alone, especially those I do not remember.

After completing lower secondary school, we were scattered to the four winds and I currently live 1300 km from my hometown. I’m still not sure I would have attended if I’d had the opportunity. I had some challenges already in school, and I haven’t grown up to be a “people person.” It is perhaps just as well that it’s not convenient this time either (I was just as far away last time, but in college).

As far as I can recall I have only met 3 of my classmates since we bugged out (that’s how it felt to me entering the real world). One became a teacher and politician and we were in the same class for 2 years at upper secondary school as well. I’ve met her a few times after that, but last time was about mid 90’s. I stumbled upon one of the others when I went to the police station to renew my passport. I think that was 20 years ago, and she worked in the passport office. Thinking back on her always makes me smile because she was generous enough to notice me too (I was the type that could easily become invisible and forgotten). She was the only one in the class who had a VCR (I think it was beta). She invited the whole class home for a party once, and if I haven’t mixed some memories the only movie she had was Smokey and the Bandit. We watched that and listened to a Paul McCartney LP, and had a wonderful time. Times have changed and we clearly had a different idea of cool than today’s youth. I teach 3rd to 6th grade and many of the pupils are familiar with games like Call of Duty. Our parties would be incredibly lame to them. The last one I met was also a teacher. She worked at a school where I had a 2 month substitute position 11 years ago.

I have lived in Little Rock (United States), Stavanger and Vindafjord (Rogaland county), Tokke (Telemark county) and now in Meløy (Nordland county) + Bergen (Hordaland county), Kristiansand (Vest-Agder county), and Nesna (Nordland county) as a student. The others have made their own journeys through life, but we haven’t had many opportunities to cross each other’s tracks. I suppose it’s like that for most people.

a road from mexico to texas
Life has been a journey on a neverending road that hopefully ends in freedom. This particular one takes you from Mexico to Texas.
Photo: Joseph West via flickr

I mentioned the book A Catcher in the Rye in a previous post. I’ve also been thinking of another cult classic, On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I feel somewhat akin to both protagonists. Holden Caulfield in A Catcher in the Rye and Sal Paradise in On the Road had both problems growing up. I can relate to the attitude of wanting to postpone adulthood, or even try to prevent the natural development. Like Sal Paradise, I quickly came to the conclusion that the wisest thing was to do what was expected of me, but unlike the aforementioned literary figures my delay hasn’t been completely voluntary. Despite the fact that I have worked determinedly I am far behind my goals. I have a wonderful family, but we miss freedom and security. Life began, but quickly took a long break. I sometimes feel that I was put on a perpetual wait while listening to boring call waiting music.

There are many references I could use. A fun scenario in science fiction books is when the crew of a spaceship comes across someone in a “time warp” where time has stood still, or the same sequence of events is repeated continuously. I also think about the theme song from a series I was never quite on friendly terms with, Friends. Here is a line from the song:

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear. When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

I know that feeling very well, but when years turn into decades, I am not confident it’ll be my time soon. We have moved a lot, but I think we’ll have to move at least one more time. Despite fighting an uphill battle and feeling slightly uneasy at the moment, I believe in better times.  I have to, or I’ll end up like C-3PO. “I’m doomed!”

We’ll see what happens, but when it comes to the class I spent nine years with, I may have traveled too far (or not far enough) for that reunion to be exciting now. I think it’ll just be numbing.


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