Staffan is in Sweden for school reunion. Isn't it cool? He has been saying for weeks: "What am I going to do with all these old ladies?" But it seems to have gone smoothly.
I have realised that I never blogged about my school reunion a year and a half ago. I know why. I only went for two days and didn't tell anyone, except for my best friend and classmate Alyona, who had persuaded me to come. I didn't want to blog so that someone in Moscow could read it and feel offended. It's all ancient history now, and I cannot help going back to it in my memory, now that Staffan is meeting his old ladies.
I didn't have many good friends in school; in fact, I was one of those kids who are not directly bullied but effectively excluded; a weirdo in eyeglasses, top grades and book lover. I did a lot to gain popularity, including smoking and almost getting expelled for it, but I was never invited to parties and I didn't have a boyfriend in school. In fact, I have never ever had a boyfriend, but it is another story.
I went to a reunion two years after graduation, mostly to see some of my favourite teachers. Then I lost touch with all my classmates, except for Alyona, who is still my best friend, despite and not because. Then I moved to Sweden and actually met an old classmate there, but he wasn't exactly one I wanted to meet. Alyona went to a couple of reunions and reported, but I didn't care much, beyond the normal human interest for gossip.
A few years ago Alyona told me about the Russian version of Stayfriends - or was it the other way round? Anyway, we discovered this site, and I found quite a few classmates, despersed over the whole world, who were all extremely glad to hear from me. It must be nostalgia or some other similar feeling which, as you get old, compels you to seek people you knew when you were young (that's why Staffan was after all so eager to meet his old ladies). They mustn't necessarily have been close friends, but you sat in the same room for years, read the same books, broke the same rules. One of the former classmates I found on Stayfriends was expelled from school for antisocial behaviour. I won't reveal what has become of him because it is easily identifyable. In fact, many of my classmates have become something grand and have professorships at world's leading universities and medical clinics, and have made brilliant political or financial careers, or own theatres, or write novels. We discovered this when we finally met, but I am going ahead of the story. As we realised that a 40th reunion was approaching, some classmates took the initiative, the bankers gave money, the theatre owners made venues avalaible, and I was appointed liaison for diaspora.
I didn't want to go to Moscow for a number of reasons, but Alyona persuaded me that I could come solely for the reunion and never tell anyone. Which I did, and I am glad I did. I have never, before or after, experienced the temperature of hugs and kisses, and although there were a couple of people who had to remind each other who they were, almost everyone was recognisable, and the reminiscences came in floods. We were about eighty in my year, and thirty came to the reunion, from far and wide.The meal was plentiful, as it should be in Russia; we moved around the table to talk to everyone, took pictures, shared pictures of grandchildren, gossiped about absent friends, honoured some of the teachers with a toast and some with a moment of silence. We agreed that we were an exceptionally privileged year, and we were. The really bad times followed soon after our graduation.That's why so many are abroad.