Hold onto the memories

Vernon Secondary School grad reunion brings back memories

It was a jog down memory lane for myself and the rest of the VSS grads of 2001 as we reunited last weekend. Out of 168 grads only 51 showed up.

I’m not sure what kept the other 117 grads MIA. Maybe they’re embarrassed that their life didn’t turn out as glamorous as they had always boasted. That didn’t stop Chris, who still lives with his parents, from making an appearance.

Or perhaps they really meant it when they said after graduation they would leave Vernon and never come back. It didn’t stop Anna, who drove 13 hours from Fort St. John, crammed in a car with her fiance, giant pit bull and trunk full of camping gear.

Maybe some weren’t eager to take a trip down memory lane, since high school can be some of the cruelest years of our lives – don’t I know it, growing up with the last name Dyck made for many mortifying moments. But that didn’t stop me, or Chelsey (whose unfortunate flaming red head nickname, too offensive to publish, was often screamed down the hallways to make her face turn a shade brighter than her hair – sorry Chels).

Perhaps some of those that bullied us still think they’re too cool for school.

One fellow graduate admitted he wasn’t going because he felt bad for how unkind he was to many of his peers.

Like Dave (who is now a proud daddy), we’ve all grown out of our immature teenage ways, and I think we can all put the not-so-memorable moments behind us.

Attending a reunion is just the place to do it (so all those who missed the 10-year, I better see you at the 20).

That’s not to say some haven’t changed. Becky is still our cowgirl party animal (now complete with her very own farm).

Then there’s the real reason we’re all inclined to go to these reunions, the one few will admit….to show off the new you (and check out the competition).

I have to say, everyone really looked amazing, even better than we did in high school.

There were far fewer pimples, some pounds shed here, perhaps a few added there. Class of 2001: you’ve aged well!

Then there were those who were unrecognizable (I can’t remember how many times I leaned over to my friends and asked “Who is that? Did they really graduate with us?”)

Lisa was one. I honestly thought she was a trophy date, brought along by one of the male grads to make them look like hot stuff. It’s not to say that little Lisa didn’t look good in high school, but she just didn’t stand out as some of the “popular” Barbie-esque girls did. Last Saturday, Lisa stood out. She was still a little shy and quiet, but has definitely taken shape into quite a woman.

I’m sure our 20-and 30-year reunions (the VSS class of 1981 reunion is actually this weekend) will be even more interesting – a few more wrinkles and gray hairs added by more kids, career changes, life surprises, etc.

I hope more will be around to make it, because with a new high school in the making, our beloved but bedraggled Vernon Secondary will soon become a distant memory. But I’d still like to remember the faces that filled those cracked old walls.

– Jennifer Smith is a reporter and photographer at The Morning Star. She write a rotating At Random column for the newspaper.