I attended two high schools back in the 70’s: Floydada high school and Dumas high school. Just three hours apart in travel time, but at that point in my life it might as well have been three hundred hours.
I’d spent all of my school life in Floydada, Texas, population 4,000, until the end of my junior year in high school when my dad switched jobs necessitating a move to Dumas, Texas, population 10,000-ish. Eventually I adjusted to life in the “big city” of Dumas. It was tough, but I made friends and met my Studly there, and graduated from Dumas high school in 1975, so all’s well that ends well, right?
Fast forward to 2015 and the epic forty year class reunion. I would love to attend the reunion in Dumas, and I’m even going to be in Texas the weekend it takes place. Unfortunately that’s the same weekend the the Doright Family Reunion is scheduled, and I’ll be unable to be in two places at once.
Floydada’s class of ’75 is planning to meet in Gruene, TX, in October. I’ve already booked my hotel room for that event. After all, these are the grown-up versions of kids I went to school with from kindergarten through my junior year.
I was never “most beautiful” or “most popular,” but I always had a place among my class. And I was probably too busy dealing with my own insecurities to notice those who were more disenfranchised than I was. So I was caught by surprise when a member of the class became angry that she’d been invited to the reunion because she had felt disrespected and unnoticed during our school years.
I wish I’d noticed her more. I wish I’d been nicer, friendlier, more inclusive. I wish I’d known then what I know now–that it doesn’t diminish our own worth when we include others. Who knows how my life might’ve turned out if I’d known that years ago?
To all those who felt they weren’t included, you are loved and valued and I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you this years ago.