Saturday, February 20, 2016




Reunions are for reconnecting with the people you liked, and cringing with horrified delight at the aging processes of the people you don’t. Or so I thought. I went to my high school reunion for my 3rd year homeroom the other day, hoping to accomplish both. Then I realized that the people who have deteriorated terribly do not show up to begin with.

So. Much. Coach logo jacquard and faux pearl. (Fortunately I was only guilty of the latter because I borrowed the Pumpkin Daddy’s new tote bag. And I get it. Coach logo jacquard is relatively affordable and wears like iron.)

I have always been a little ambivalent about my 3rd year homeroom. For starters, the homeroom teacher taught English. Think of 17 year-old Pumpkinmommy, whose English skills are pretty much the same if not better than they are now, and think of high school English as taught in Japan, and think of how Pumpkinmommy could not AP her way out of it, and you can imagine how weird it all was. Mr. M was fine as a person. I just wished he taught physics or history or something.

So at the end of the year, one of the girls said that we were going to chip in and buy him flowers and give them to him on graduation (fine, here’s my 100 yen) and that we’d all write letters to him (wha?).

I was at a complete loss about what to write. “You’re pretty cool but your class was a complete waste of time for me and I really think it would have been better for everyone if you’d just let me cut class and read in the library like my junior high school teacher did” probably wasn’t something I was supposed to write under the circumstances.

So I did the only thing I could think of at the time, which was to change the subject. I wrote about that year’s “Bunkasai” (文化祭) which is like open school held over the weekend and the band plays and the choir sings and the art club shows paintings and the classes present on topics (ours was “cosmetics”).  A few of the girls had covered the windows with blue plastic trash bags so that we could put posters of our cosmetics research on them. They also left markers so that people who visited our exhibit could write comments on the plastic. And some incredibly witty person had written “fuck you.” Because, of course, nothing shows the whole world how clever and cosmopolitan you are like writing “fuck you” at Open School in a Japanese prep school (prep school in this case meaning acceptance was competitive and some of us would go to big name universities). And my friend, who was an exchange student from the USA who went to a private school in another part of town, had come to our school with her dad, who was a member of the school board in my friend’s school district, and he saw the “fuck you” and he and my friend joked that I’d written it.

And then I completely forgot about writing that letter, until Mr. M brought it (and everyone else’s) to our reunion.

Even though people at work accuse me of being impulsive and lacking social skills, this letter shows at age 17 I already understood that my default hard wiring could be abrasive and that sometimes speaking your mind was not the best choice. Or maybe I was smarter at 17 than I am now.

Also, my go-to writing utensil at the time was a fountain pen. And I wrote Japanese vertically. And I wrote it on stationery that I think Annie gave me when we parted ways, the implication being that I would write to her (which I did, but usually not on that paper).

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