High school reunions full of surprises and few shocks
A high school reunion will really humble you and teach you some important lessons about life.
Falling under the category of unusual working weeks like emergency workers including nurses and the police, it was challenging for the past few years to make it to my high school reunions as I had to work on the Saturdays those braais were held.
By default this past week, I went back home to bury a former high school mate and met a lot of people I had last seen decades ago.
No wonder a friend of mine insisted on going on a diet last year when her matric class was celebrating their 15th anniversary.
She wanted to look good for her former high school sweetheart.
There is a certain pressure and excitement that comes with meeting former classmates and finding out how we all turned out.
This is where you will see how many of us have managed to survive the ravages of life, who among us chose to take the road less travelled or whose path in life has been littered with thorns.
Remember that girl in high school who had a queue of boys lining up for her number because she was the prettiest of the lot?
Little did you know that she was an early bloomer and that we would all turn out to be swans with time.
But, to hardly recognise her because she drank her beauty away was more than sad. And that high school hunk who made every girl swoon when he passed by? Today, you hear that he served time in jail for house robbery and now goes around the township asking for R10 from anyone he knows just so he can buy himself loose cigarettes.
Our default reunion this past weekend was full of surprises and a few shocks.
Beyond meeting the beauty queen who has fallen on hard times by the wrinkles on her face before old age even looks in her direction, it was great to meet the most shy boy in class and see how different he is.
Somewhere along the line, he grew a firm backbone and burst out of his shell and was confident and talkative when we met.
A few surprises were also those types who were never concerned about being part of the cool group but, among them, our high school has produced some of the most successful businessmen and women to come out of Atteridgeville.
It really made me wonder how our high school teachers had failed to recognise this talent that must have been there inside them. Today the same teachers who never gave those kids the time of day fawn all over them because they own holiday homes in Camps Bay and one-of-a-kind German road machines and are on a first name basis with many business trailblazers in this country.
It was also good to see how despite the usual challenges of a middle-class life most of us have - that comes with the drudgery of paying school fees, home loans and helping out our extended families - many of my old classmates still look no older than they did in high school. Save for our girths getting rounder, life has treated most of us well and we turned out to be responsible members of our communities.