Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Slap My Horse & Call Me Shorty!

I learned something very interesting about my parents this AM. My father calls me up. He's very excited. Usually, this means he wants to talk about the weather. Since it's finally raining here after months and months, I figured that's what the energy was for.

"Guess what I did last night?!!" he asked. "Your mother and I went to our fiftieth high school reunion!"

Wait a minute. Here's what I've learned about my parents in the last 34 years or so: They're quiet. They keep to themselves. They're funny, but only if they know you - and even then - only if they LIKE you... It's difficult to pull information out of them - and only in certain circumstances, will they talk about their past. It took me hours to attempt to get my mother, for instance, to tell me how Dad proposed to her. She tightened her lips and wouldn't utter a word. In defeat, I went to my father, who, oddly enough, revealed that it wasn't the most romantic proposal - and it was largely driven by my mother. "C'mon, Bill. Let's get married. It'll be fun!"

It's only after a long discussion before my mother would tell me about living at the YMCA in New York City while attending school in the city.

If I want some information from my father, I have to state what I want to know - and then wait until he's good and ready to tell me... That might take days. Eventually, I'll find out.

...And this is only because I'm their daughter. While growing up, countless friends and acquaintences asked me why my father is so hard to get to know. "Kelly, he hardly ever says anything..." The "Uber-Honest" Kelly might admit that he doesn't talk to those he dislikes... but that's not very polite, is it? So I just say, "That's odd. We can't shut him up at home!"

Anyway, my parents rarely speak about their past - which is what surprised me so much about their attendance at their 50th reunion. The only reason I knew they'd even GONE to High School is because I found their old yearbooks. (I was especially intrigued by the signatures - one of them actually said, "Well Slap my horse and call me Shorty!")

I pressed for details. My father said, "No one knew who I was!" He noted that after he told them, they knew - but not at first glance. "I walked up to Norman (old buddy of his) and said 'we bearded men have to stick together!'" Norman had to go out in the hall and ask the registration table people who Dad was.

When Dad was in High School, he was beyond handsome... He still is - but is now mostly bald and sports a beard (some say he resembles Sean Connery - which I would imagine is very flattering). I mentioned that if people knew my grandfather, they'd have recognized Dad... (All the pictures I've seen of my grandfather, who died before I would've remembered him, look exactly like him...) He said, "Yeah. Someone mentioned that last night." He said that none of his four or five close high school friends were there (he grew up on a farm and most of his friends were members of Future Farmers of America...) "I didn't hang out with that many people in high school. I usually had to go milk the cows!" In fact, he didn't really know or date my mother until years after graduation.

Mom, who only attended that High School for one year, simply said, in true mom-like fashion, "Oh it was fun. People really change in 50 years." My mother looks far more like her senior portrait than my father resembles his. Mom still wears her hair short (and has all of it...) - and her face is basically the same. "Kelly," Dad quipped, "You should go to your reunions. It's amazing how much weight people gained!" (Fran might note that they need ab work.)

Remember that line in Grosse Point Blank? Marcella (Joan Cusak), while encouraging Martin (John Cusak) to attend his 10-year high school reunion, said something like, "You should go - It was just like everyone swelled!"

I didn't go to my 10-year, and was surprised to hear my father encouraging me to reunite with old high school friends. "Dad, I talked to five people in high school!" Then, I surprised myself - Even in High School, I was just like my Dad. Just a few close friends. I kept to myself. I guess, if genetic codes continues on schedule, I'll eventually cave in and go to a reunion.


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