I visited my high school for the first time in a while on Tuesday. I went with some of my friends; we made a date of it, really. We like to go back occasionally, to see what's new, to visit some of our favorite teachers, a few friends that had yet to graduate.
But what I had failed to take into account was that I had just come from IU. My entire high school holds maybe five hundred people - the freshman class at IU has about 10,000 members. IU's campus is larger than my entire town. IU has restaurants, movie theatres, concert halls, auditoriums. My town has one four way stop and no stop light, a tiny donut shop, a general store that might be older than the town.
I walked through the front doors, and it felt weird to be back. I hadn't realized how small everything was until I had experienced something bigger than anything I had yet seen - or at least lived in. It's not small in a particularly unpleasant way, though. It's small-town small, country small. Bordered by farmland and grass. Not quite big enough to have its own Football team.
And you'd think, with a place that small, you'd recognize somebody. But, with the exception of the friends we went to see and the few people I had classes with, no one there was familiar. They were the new freshmen coming in from junior high, the sophomores that were just young enough to be unrecognizable, and even the juniors and seniors I knew because they are friends with my brother.
I realized, while I was there, that my class was gone. We were scattered to the wind. We were off doing our own things, trying to pass college, trying to get jobs, trying to be something someday, and the school was forgetting us.
The teachers remembered, though. Some of them had us for all four years of high school, and some of them taught our parents. They would remember us long after the freshmen forgot about us; after our names were scribbled out of textbooks; after our faces in the class photo, all seventy of us, were unrecognizable to other students.
I hope we gave them something good to remember.