10 Year Reunion

The day I started High School, I was a total nobody. I was attending Saugus High School… and all of my friends were attending Canyon High about 20 minutes away. I was a freshman. I was the new kid. I was pretty much alone. I had one thing going for me, tho – I was signed up for Choir.

I was so excited! Singing in a HS choir! That was going to rock! Yea… well… little did I know that I was placed in the ‘Mixed Choir’ class – the one that is pretty much the over flow of students who didn’t get into any of the other electives they wanted to get into. It was awful. My one shot at making new friends and I was surrounded by people who make fun of what I do. I was down in the dumps about it, too. BUT the director was new. And she was looking for anyone and everyone who actually wanted to sing. I showed interest and I had an audition for Concert Choir at lunch the next day. I don’t remember much of the rest of my first day. I think I blocked it out.

I auditioned for Concert Choir, and was one of only 3 freshman to make it. Woot! I had my class schedule changed immediately to reflect my new accomplishment. My little freshman butt was in that 5th period Alto Section seat by day 3 of HS. I was so excited! But my section… not so much. Apparently, before this new director, Freshman weren’t allowed in Concert choir. Ever. So the rest of the section, made up of Sophomores through Seniors, wasn’t happy that the rules had changed. Once again, I felt like I wasn’t going to make any friends.

One of the other freshman girls must have felt my pain over in the Soprano section. Because she made her way over to me by the end of class to introduce herself and ask if I wanted to meet her friends. Her name was Emily. I jumped at the chance to make a new friend! I agreed to meet her the next day at brunch where she and her friends hung out. She introduced me to her friends: Danica, Shannon, John, Trevor, and Ruth. Almost instantly, I became one of them. I had a group of friends. It was incredible! And Ruth and Danica were choir girls, too. They were in the woman’s ensemble. Shannon and Trevor were dancers, so I clicked with them really quickly, too! It was the beginning of an era. I was a total GLEEK! A Gleek with friends.

Time passed, things changed, and 4 years of high school happened without me even knowing it. Emily and I were close for that first year. She ended up transferring to a performing arts high school, and we lost touch until recently (thank you Facebook!). Trevor and I danced at the same studio for a while and had some great performances together. I loved him to death – my first real dance partner. He transferred to that same PA HS as Emily. He’s still dancing his heart out, now the coach to our rival HS’s dance team! Danica transferred to Hart High. I saw her occasionally, as I had several church friends who went there, and all these years later, John and I (along with Anthony) attended her wedding last year. John and I are still super close. We see each other whenever we can and talk often. Shannon moved on from Dance to Cheer-leading. It was her real love, and we were happy to see her do it! But practice for that took up almost all of her time, so we didn’t get to hang out much anymore.

Which leaves Ruth. Oh, Foofie. My Ruthie Foof-A-Moof. This girl changed my whole world for the better. We were fast friends that first year, and inseparable for the following 3. Ruth was also in the theater crowd, and introduced me to her friends there. One stood out among them. Her name is Megan. Meg, as we called her. And that was it – by the middle of sophomore year, you pretty much could count on the fact that if you saw one of us, the other 2 were within ear shot. We did everything together. And we were all in choir together, too – so we were spending an exorbitant amount of time with each other. Megan was a soprano while Ruth and I were Altos. And one day near the end of Sophomore year, Meg told us she’d made a new friend. One of the other Sopranos in our grade. Her name is Felicia. I said, “Oh yea – I know her. She’s my locker partner.” Long story short, we quickly made her our 4th musketeer.

From Left to Right: Ruth, Me, Megan, and Felicia

If you were to ask me who my best friend was in High School, I would tell you, “The *GALZ*” which was what we called each other. I didn’t have just one best friend. I had 3. And we were the most tight-knit group you’ll ever find. We went through everything together – first loves, first heart breaks, accomplishments and failures, summer shenanigans, family “stuff”, etc. We were sisters. They defined my High School years.

By Senior Year, we pretty much owned choir. We were most of the choir counsel, we were the ones that “Dooley” (that director I told you about) relied on most, we sang in 3 out of 4 sections (I sang Tenor most of that year, with the boys), and all-around-biggest-hams. But graduation was around the corner and our lives as we knew it were about to change. I got into 3 schools. As you know, I decided on CLU here in Thousand Oaks. Ruth decided on San Diego State. Megs and Feech were going to C.O.C and Moorpark colleges, respectively. The awesome foursome was splitting up. Of course, as you always do in HS, we promised to be best friends forever. We promised to always call, see each other every summer, and that we’d be each other’s bridesmaids when we got married some day…

This photo was taken the night before I moved to CLU. We all crammed into the pull out bed in my parent’s living room (using EVERY blanket in the house to cover us all). I was so ready to go! (I was kind of CLU obsessed, actually…) but I wasn’t ready to leave these girls behind. The move-in to my dorms was so fun! But saying goodbye around mid-day was one of the hardest things I’d had to do at that point. This picture was the last one we took as a foursome, in late August of 2001:

Semesters went by. Megan and Ruth moved all the way to NYC to go to school. Meg still lives there!!! I’ve seen her once or twice since this photo was taken. Felicia ended up at Santa Barbara State University. I saw her several times while she was there because my job required me to go there a couple of times. But then she and her boyfriend, Lawrence, moved to Idaho a couple of years ago – and I haven’t seen her in since. And Ruth has been just about everywhere you can imagine. She’s a world traveler! She is the one I see most often. I’ve seen her about once every other year or so since this photo was taken. She was the only one of the 3 who was able to attend my wedding, due to distance. I thank God for Facebook everyday because a couple of years ago, that is how we all sort of re-connected!!! It’s been wonderful to talk to them all so frequently again.

Now, it is 2011. So much has changed since our Senior Year of High School! But these girls are still my close friends. No, we didn’t see each other every summer like we said we would. Yes, there were years in there where we lost touch. No, we were not in each other’s weddings. But none of that seems to matter now. You see, 2011 is the year of our High School Reunion. And let.me.tell.you. The plan they’ve got for such an awesome occasion is lame. There is no other word for it. LAME. “Hey – let’s all meet in a mediocre restaurant/bar and see who remembers who….” Yea – NOT GOING. I was bummed. I was really looking forward to a genuine excuse to see these ladies. None of us were very interested in attending the shin-dig. BUT!!!! Felicia to rescue!!!

Felicia and Lawrence tied the knot last night! (So, again, about a gazillion congrats to you both!!!) It’s a night we’ve been anticipating for months! It was our very own mini HS reunion! And while we’ve grown up a lot, we realized that not much has changed. We still squeal in excitement when we see each other. We still use much of the same language we did then (and our familiar slang resurfaced all too easily). We danced, we cried, we hugged, we laughed, and smiled. The only difference between now and then was that we could legally drink this time around!

I took the liberty of bringing some of these pictures I’ve posted with me. We couldn’t stop laughing! And Ruth found “The book” (a book we wrote notes back and forth to each other in that no one, not even husbands, will be allowed to read and it WILL go with one of us to our graves, thankyouverymuch!) which just brought back even more memories. It was so fun. So, we decided to re-create one of our very favorite pictures from HS:

The four of us at our final Choir Concert in 2001

Last night at Felicia’s Wedding.

I gotta say, I think we are even cuter now than we were 10 years ago! I can’t believe that much time has passed, and we are still close. We are still friends. We are still sisters.

I love you *GALZ*! It was so much fun! Let’s do it again VERY soon – or at least before another 10 years passes!!!

Love Jen


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