Go to that High School Reunion.*

“Things are great . . . with an asterisk.”

After first seeing the Facebook announcement for my 35th High School Reunion, I looked at it. Then I looked at it again.

The passage of 35 years was so hard to conceive and my arithmetic so weak, I took out paper and pen and subtracted 1981 from 2016.

Gag me . . . it had been 35 years.

I vowed to lose 5 pounds. Take every yoga class for the next four months. Pick out a dress. Face lift. Butt lift. Skin-on-my-legs-especially-the-skin-above-my-knees lift.

Months passed and it was two weeks till the reunion. I weighed about the same. I’d made it to three yoga classes the month of August.  Nothing had been surgically lifted, so I packed some make-up, a pair of Spanx and rubbed self-tanner on my legs.  Though I did think it the perfect excuse to get a facial.


Reunion photo credit to Ricky Silva. Can you find me?

Reunion photo credit to Ricky Silva. Can you find me?


Random thoughts on attending your 35th High School Reunion.

— Commit to going. Don’t think about it. No one ever gives birth or adopts children, signs up for a marathon or goes to a class reunion if they ruminate on it.

— Note to the venue. For the love of Mike, when most party-goers are over 50 — dim the lights on the dance floor.

— Try on the dress you decide to wear before the night of the party. I bought a dress last spring and never once had it on again until the night of the reunion. Whatever mojo I felt in the dressing room wasn’t there reunion night. Didn’t like it. At all. Thankfully, I did bring another dress. But logic says to try the dress on before leaving your closet in the rear view mirror six hours down the road.

— To those who went to high school in Florida and haven’t lived there in a while. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN FOR YOUR HAIR.  I completely forgot about the Florida humidity. It was raining as well. My hair went up in a coated rubber band.

— Your mother can show up at the party before you, talk to people, and you laugh about it. If my mother would have shown up to a high school party 35 years prior, I’d have dropped out of Winter Park and enrolled at Edgewater under an alias.

My 83-year-old mother dropped by the party before I arrived. (She was eating in the adjoining restaurant.) She walked in and started talking to all my high school friends, and some of their children. When I arrived my friend Ann said, “Did you know your mother was here?” She laughed saying,  “I looked up and thought that’s Jamie’s mother  . . . this is wild.”



This photo is Facebook credited to Ann who is in the middle of this pic. Ann who talked with my party-crashing mom.  (I think her husband must have had the phone.)


High School Reunions are wild in a Twilight Zone sort of way.

Facebook is for cowards. Nothing can substitute the authenticity found in a face-to-face conversation after 35 years.

I heard a great phrase today. Out having breakfast in Madison, we were approached by an acquaintance we hadn’t seen in a while. He asked the standard “How are things?”

We gave the standard reply, “Things are great.”

To which he said with a smile, “Things are great with us too  . . . with an asterisk.”

By the time you’re heading to your 35th High School Reunion, everybody can say, “Life is great  . . . with an asterisk.”

Asterisks don’t discriminate. They are equal opportunity offenders in the form of losing loved ones, of divorce or divorces, children heartbreak. Financial struggles or collapse. Job traumas. Battling illness as if our lives depended on it. And the universal of challenge of experiencing our young selves — becoming not so young at all.

We’ve have lost the urge to play the comparison game to feel better about ourselves. If I asked you what you’ve been doing the last 35 years, I was truly interested in finding out your journey. Not to boast on my superstar decades headlining as wife, mother — and writing a blog.

On Facebook you get a bunch of amazing photos. Ones people post after they deleted the first fifteen they took.

It is a great way to keep up but,

With Facebook you can’t throw your arms about somebody’s neck in a squeeze or learn how fun life can be with a sugar monkey. Or giggle with friends you giggled with 35 years ago.



Thanks to Michelle for this snapshot.


So as Nike said back in the day,

 Just do it and go to that reunion.

What’s to lose? It was quick. Just a few hours and then done.

Just like high school.

Just like the last 35 years.




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14 responses to “Go to that High School Reunion.*”

  1. You’re right. I went to my 25th. It was more fun than my 20th. Facebook can’t capture what it is to see someone in person and catch up, even if it’s just for one night. As for the group photo above, I cheated. After I saw your no shoulders dress in the last photo I found you. Love the dress and you look great!
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..What’s Going On

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Thank goodness I packed a few other things. My husband hasn’t been to any of his reunions but he does have to travel all the way to a town three hours north of Minneapolis. When I came back this time, he even said — “I think I’m going to our next reunion.” And thanks for the compliment.

  2. Mary Gardner says:

    Hi Jamie:
    What a great article/blog today and love the pics. I would have loved to have been there.. but either way.. .that day will go down in history for me as I was in Auburn that day.. the day my brother died. So, there was not going to be a way even if I would have planned to be at the reunion.

    I agree though.. to have those old friends.. who can become new again, is such a wonderful and comforting thing in life. At this stage of life.. I love the *asterisk..we’ve all had our share of ups and downs.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts… your smiling faces are beautiful and show the warmth you all have for each other.

    I cherish my WPHS friends… will be at the next reunion God willing.. and hope I see you before the next 5 years.

    Stay beautiful.. stay funny and stay your amazing self. I now feel compelled to sign up for a competition of some sort!
    Love you sweet friend!!! MG

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Love to you Mary. Such a sad day for you and such a shock. You’ve written so beautifully about how much your brother and his life meant to you in posts I’ve read. Such a powerful example of why we need to take the time and enjoy the little moments and those events like a 35th high school reunion that happen once. You are such the WPHS alumni cheerleader. You help set up other events that keep everyone connected. And just by being your effervescent, beautiful self. We did miss you. Come up my way if you can.

  3. Jack Steiner says:

    I went to my 10th and skipped my 20th. My 30th is next year and I am thinking I might go.

    Won’t have the same experience as you because I won’t care about my hair and humidity or trying on the perfect dress. 😉

    But you did get me thinking that the reason I skipped 20 shouldn’t be applicable any more.

    In short, I was irritated about how many people at the 10 year hadn’t grown up so I saw no reason to spend money to listen to their nonsense at 20.

    But I figure 30 should be different because we have all been through something by now and it might be kind of fun to check back in and see some people in person.

    • Jamie Miles says:

      I missed the 25th but went to the 15th and 20th. Each one was progressively more laid back Most of us mellow with age. Like you said, we’ve all been through something and that seems to give us a healthier perspective.

      Wait. I need to edit. I missed my 30th. Went to the 25th and 20th. (Or was it the 15th?) Do you believe this? I’m not sure — other than I didn’t go to the last one which was the 30th. Oy.

  4. Anne Thomas says:

    Love this Jamie. Beautifully expressed!

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Loved seeing you. You never change. Your youthful looks and outlook. You look the same as some photos I have of us in our Brownie uniforms — when we were seven. No. You actually look like the very pretty mommy of that second grader. xoxox

  5. Gina says:

    You look fabulous! I agree about going and the desire for a knee lift. I went to a mini off-year one a few weeks back. It was casual and a blast!
    Gina recently posted..Wait! What?!?!? Gina Wrote a Post AKA Mayonnaise and Making Out

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Glad you had fun. I knew seeing the face age would be hard. But who knew the legs would be so . . ? Thanks for compliment. I still want to make up to Chicago and play a bit before my knees are down around my ankles.

  6. Sally says:

    JamieTracy, I thought your dress was fabulous and you looked fabulous in it! I’m so glad you were able to come in town and stay with me…I may not have gone otherwise. Drinks with you, Elizabeth, and Sandy was a highlight for me! Let’s plan on going to 40th! ❤️Sal

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Dear Cuz– I could have (and might) written a whole post on spending time with you. Having the chance to talk and laugh for a day or so, rather than a few hours as most of our visits have been over the last 30 years. Dinner was great. All of it was. Just enjoying the moment. Don’t get to play around in the hood anymore now that my mother has moved up here. xo

  7. MizYank says:

    You nailed it! (And “gag me” was a hilariously perfect intro!) From everything I see here, your appearance needs no enhancement, concealer, up-lifter or smoother-outer. You look great!



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