~THE AMAZON TRAIL~

**Lesbian Column**


Bio note: Lee Lynch an Author. Her books are available from Bold Strokes Books (boldstrokesbooks.com).
 
 

 
6-15-13
 

High School Reunion 

 It’s here: my 50th high school reunion.

 

Fifty years was an unimaginable amount of time when I was 17 and now, like a thunderbolt,

that long stretch of life is behind me. My best friend from high school is going to the reunion

with her halo of wild dark hair gone white – like mine. What will she see? Trim athletes now

bald, pot-bellied and lame? Willowy young girls now wrinkled and thickened? Comfortable

retirees who worked, reproduced, and are replacing a generation of old people who once

sat on New York City park benches in the sun? 

      

In truth, I’m quite proud of my class of 1963. Three that I know of got caught in the

second wave of feminism and became chairs of women’s studies departments. Five of

us, at least, have published books. Many taught at the college level. I’m looking forward

to hearing the accomplishments of others when my BFF reports in. She urged me to go

with her, but she’s a few hours up I-95 from the school and I’m across the continent we

studied in school. Also, I felt like the odd girl out back then and I feel just the same now.

As she e-mailed, “Wish you were here but you would probably explode.”

          Oh, and did I mention a federal judge? Who would have thought one of us, especially a

woman, would accomplish as much as she has. If she’d been born ten years earlier she might

have gotten as far as president of a PTA.

         

High school was so long ago, yet so fresh in my mind. I went into it determined to leave my

bashfulness behind. I managed to make friends, and also to grow a persona that would

mature with me. My poetry was published in our literary magazine; I was gay and proud of it;

my ambition, beyond writing, was to be a gym teacher. One foot was in the circle of high

school intelligentsia, the other in a sneaker on the tennis and volleyball courts.

         

An altruistic alumna, who became a librarian, created an internet page for those early sixties

classes. By way of introduction, she wrote, “We came of age in the mid-sixties. It is hard to

believe the changes we went through and our world went through in the years between

1963 and 1967. Did we make the times or did the times make us?” What a great question for

us, for any generation.

          Did we help change the world for the better? Well, we sure tried. How many of us died

in Vietnam? How many were arrested for protesting that war? How many were active in the

civil rights movement? The women’s movement? Gay liberation? Were environmentalists?

Pro- or anti-choice activists?  Did any grow their hair, drop acid and become hippies? My

BFF was at Altamont when the Rolling Stones were there. Were others at Kent State? I know

some were hit with cancer. At least two committed suicide.

 

          Why do I have no desire to be at the reunion? Would it really be too disturbing to see

the metamorphoses of these people from dreaming kids to world-weary adults? Only one

was a lover and I ran into her out here about 20 years ago. She wanted to stay in touch, but

too much water over the bridge for me. I have a very full life, for which I’m grateful, and my

seventeenth summer, lovely as it, and she, was, has been over for a long, long time.

          Long enough that I’m looking at retirement from my job too. When I checked out the

high school page it was clear I’m one of the last to stop working for a living. I feel like a

sixties dropout compared to them. I’ve had jobs ever since graduation, but just to scrape by

while I gave most of my energy to writing. Looking at the bios on our class pages I see

teachers, ad execs, attorneys, designers and engineers, along with those who identify

themselves as housewives and mothers. As far as I can see, I’m the only one who boasts of

writing queer books or even of being queer.

No, I have no desire to see those folks. We sat in classrooms and passed one another in

hallways. We survived high school, adult careers, marriages, marches, the tech

revolution, empty nests, losses and successes. Some of us proved to be a waste of space,

others made a bit of history or culture or money or offspring. I may be odd girl out

again, but I have no time to review milestones. In my head, I’m still 17, anxious to get on

with writing future stories, to, finally, making a lasting marriage, to changing the

world. 

 

Copyright Lee Lynch 2013

June 2013

The Raid by Lee Lynch

Before Stonewall, having a drink with friends or your girl could mean jail. In 1961, The Old Town Tavern is more than just a gay bar. It’s a home to strangers who have become family.  They drink, they dance, they fall in lust and in love. They don’t even know who the enemy is, only that it is powerful enough to order the all-too-willing vice squad to destroy the bar and their lives. Would these women and men still have family, a job, a place to live after…The RaidThis was how it was done then, this was the gay life, and this is the resilient gay will.

Now available in paper and electronic format from Bold Strokes Books: <http://goo.gl/aHxY0>.