Tuesday, December 08, 2015

My Fiftieth Reunion

Coming up in a couple of years is my 50th high school reunion and I am facing it with mix emotions. I want to go because I want to see all my old school friends to see how they have aged but at the same time I don’t want to be the talk of the town.
A Catholic High grad returns to 40th reunion as a different person
Arkansas Times Blog
Posted By Max Brantley on Mon,
Dec 7, 2015

The essay that follows was written by Sarah A. Vestal following the 40th reunion of the 1975 class of Little Rock's Catholic High School for Boys. She was Charles Vestal in 1975 and, still, at the 30th reunion in 2005. Photographs show Vestal, who now lives in Tulsa, today and before she began receiving female hormones.

My recent 40th high school reunion was my first public appearance in my home town of Little Rock in almost a decade. I was a woman returning from transition exile in liberal queer San Francisco and walking into a full gymnasium of men as the first transgender female graduate of an all-male high school in a small Southern red state.

At the preceding 30th reunion of Catholic High School for Boys, Class of 1975, I was the well-known local businessman – a 5th generation native. This time was quite different.

As I pulled into the school driveway for the alumni dinner, students were directing traffic. “Picking up your son, ma'am?”
Of course my high school wasn’t a Catholic boys high school but we did have a small graduating class and we all knew each other. I dread comments like,
“You are hot, babe, really hot!” Smile. Blush. “Thank you, Mel,” was all I could reply. That same simple thank you, a hug, and tears were all I could manage in response to scores of supportive statements.
But for me I doubt I would hear “You are hot, babe, really hot!”

I think many of my classmates might know of my transition because I am friends on Facebook with high school friends and anyone wondering “Who is this woman who says she went to our high school?” will probably put two and two together.

I don’t mind talking in front of a room of strangers but I have a hard time with people from my past. I feel awkward around people who knew me.

So I am 90% certain I will go to the reunion and if I go I figured that I am a shoe in for the “Most Changed.”

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