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Reflections on High School Reunions

My friend Tami met me outside of the stall in the ladies room. “Mrs. Snyder wants to talk to you,” she said. For a very brief second, my stomach clinched in that weird way when you get a summons from a teacher. Then I remembered we had graduated years ago.


The first ever 1975-1985 Dimmitt HS Reunion was a huge success. Around 140 classmates met in Lubbock, with some coming as far away as California, Washington, and Florida. Besides students we had former teachers and one retired school superintendent. If you made the decision not to join us, rest assured your name was mentioned and stories were told.

I followed Tami back to the ballroom and she pointed me in the direction of Mrs. Snyder, our home EC teacher. I still use the pie crust recipe she shared with her classes, and I told her so. She told me that it was wonderful being able to see all of her kids again.

Jeff, whose father owned the shop across the street from my dad’s welding shop, asked me how my mother was doing. I had to tell him that Peggy has been gone ten years now. He took the time to share some great stories about my mom and dad, which will mean the world to my kids. They’ve had to grow up without my parents.

It was at that moment I realized how strong the ties to small-town life can be. The world may seem indifferent and lonely at times, but your hometown will always know who you are. Dimmitt remains a part of me no matter what direction I take.

In tight communities, our teachers and school administrators become more than nameless rule enforcers. They were our neighbors and their kids were our friends. In Dimmitt I interacted with classmates and their families on a daily basis at school, work and church. With one grocery store, one steakhouse, and 3500 population, you’re bound to run into everybody at one time or another.

I’ve got a totally different family and life now with a husband and two sons, but Dimmitt was the first, before I even knew what having a family meant. As Laura posted on Facebook:

“If you are my friend now –real-life or virtual — you can thank these folks for showing me how to be a true friend.”

dimmitt pic 2.2

Spending the weekend at my high school reunion made me realize that there are several things that will always hold true:

1) We’ll never be able to refer to our former teachers by their first name. Ever.
2) Thompson remains the life of the party, and even though he’s not a preacher as he pointed out, he did a fine job at blessing the meal.
3) Mrs. Ryan is cute and funny as ever, as I watched her stuff her purse in a leafy planter because she had too many people to visit and she didn’t want to carry the darn thing. I agreed that it was a great hiding place.
4) Larry can still tear up the dance floor.
5) Lou is an exceptionally courageous and much adored lady who should probably have a statue erected in her honor for making this event happen.

If you’ve ever experienced small town life, then you understand this strange connection that carries through decades of time and personal changes. The 1975-1985 Dimmitt High School Reunion can best be summed up with this Facebook post by Kim:

“Our roots are deep, which allowed us to fly off to so many places.”