Class of 1988

An almost audible cyber-sigh passes around Facebook on Sunday teatimes when one of the Class of 1988 announces that they’ve put line-dried sheets on the bed and will be turning in early.

Someone fanatically houseproud chimes in to say that they’ve ironed their bed linen, and we laugh through a debate about which of us has the right lifestyle priorities.

Someone else uploads a set of photographs; a meander round a garden centre, a trip to a quiet spot on the coast.

 

And this is what we are now. The Class of 1988. About to start turning 40 and drifting a little further every day from being able to convince ourselves that we’re still really only 16.

 

I wonder what thought the 16 year olds we once were would have given to the things that matter to us now?

I wonder how they’d evaluate our progress in achieving the dreams that they were so keen on fulfilling?

 

We had the usual dreams of adolescence. Invincible hope for the future. An expectation that we could do anything, go anywhere. Be anything we wanted to be.

And perhaps we could have done those things, had we been blessed with a touch more bravery to match our hope.

 

By the time we became The Class of 1988 and finished our compulsory schooling that summer, we’d spent most of our lives in the company of a very small group of people.

We were thrown together in a school that educated all of the children from our small industrial Yorkshire town and its surrounding villages. We were the children of accountants, factory workers, farmers and doctors.

And I don’t think that any of us had any idea that our roots would have any impact on our futures.

For most of us, our dreams were lost or swallowed up at some time within the last twenty or so years. Mostly when our minds were wandering into other priorities and the responsibilities that come with adulthood.

For some of us, we’ve done the things that we were destined to do. Found a place within the world that suits us and feels safe, even if it isn’t the life that we dreamed of.

 

I have albums of photographs taken at school; in classrooms, in fields and in the playgrounds that we used to hang around in looking nonchalant and cool. I have pictures of boys whose names I can’t remember, leaping on top of each other to pose in jumbled heaps of fashion, hormones and oversized feet. They’re the pictures that my dad repeatedly urged me to write on the back of to help me to remember names that would one day become as blurred as the pictures were.

They’re the boys who I’d spend hours talking to other girls about, ranking them in order of looks and personality, consuming ourselves with which surname would fit best with our first names. Practicing signatures and considering tactics.

And those girls that I spent hours talking to were the people who helped to shape my future and my values. We learned about life together. About broken hearts and fashionable skirts and the right kind of music to listen to. And we talked about the things that really mattered to us and about the people we wanted to become.

 

However much we’ve grown up and grown old, however distant our weekend activities are from those we enjoyed all that time ago, most of us are actually still the same in our hearts. A bit battered by life, perhaps, but we’ve managed to hold on to the things that are important.

And so this week, in the week that the first of us will turn 40, I’m raising my cocoa mug to all of us from the Class of 1988. And to all of those across the world who’ll be turning 40 this school year.

Here’s to life really beginning.

 

I wrote this piece for a Prompt at Write on Edge  – our challenge was to “write about a season of change for your character or you.”  I loved writing it, and wandering through from one time of our lives to another. I’ve also loved the wonderful responses that I’ve had since writing it; I think that nostalgia for schooldays is something that connects lots of us – wherever we are in the world.

Comments

  1. Love this. I like the beginning and how you intertwined what everyone is doing now, contrasting how much life changes over the years.

  2. You really captured the essence of change alongside others here. How we view ourselves through relationships. *Sigh*

    I loved the beginning about the sheets. oh the things we talk about on facebook! :)

  3. I am the class od 1988 and so this really spoke to me, remembering those high school days..those days that changed and shaped and inspired our adult lives. But my friends and I are all over 40 now….how did u get to be younger???? ;)

  4. Spot on. It’s great to remember … I still feel 16 in my mind but betting older in body is a bit depressing.

  5. Mee too 1988!! And at least being 40 puts you in the youngest part of the decade :)

  6. Very, very sweet. Ane melancholy.

    Although I know no one who irons their bed linens. ;)

    Class of ’86

  7. What a wonderful reflection of the way things are now and the way things were then. I’m from a different class sure, but I can certainly understand the sentiment.

    I loved this paragraph:

    “They’re the boys who I’d spend hours talking to other girls about, ranking them in order of looks and personality, consuming ourselves with which surname would fit best with our first names. Practicing signatures and considering tactics.”

    Gosh, I remember those days so well. Love the way you described it here…almost poetic.

    Stopping by and following from WOE :)

  8. I loved this post! It’s a great story about looking back into the past.

  9. New follower from a Friday blog hop, would love a follow back at realadventuresfromamomof3.blogspot.com

  10. You very clearly showed how our priorities change as we get older and let go of our youth. Great job!

  11. I’m Class of ’70 so almost a generation ahead of you and yet I can so relate to your post. I admire/envy your writing skills. Mine have become so rusty. My class is about to turn 60 now…at least those of us who are still alive. I never thought I’d feel so young (well, maybe not 16) at this age. Keep up the wonderful writing!

  12. Steph Bateman says:

    Oh Weez this is fantastic :-)
    Happy, happy days.
    I love my line dried sheets and the fact I won’t turn 40 for another eight months xxx

  13. I am from that class! It brings back so many memories. You always had a camera! How i wish i had done that.

    Life changes and although i am turning 40 next month am at the beginning of a New phase in my life and am looking forward to it.

    But good memories. X

  14. What a divinely delicious read. I’m Class of 1983; I turn a highly empowered 46 this month. I had forgotten about “practicing signatures and considering tactics;” things that were vitally important in my teens, and even into my twenties. Thank you for the sentimental rush of memories.

  15. Jen (The Butter Lover) says:

    Member of the Class of ’99 visiting you from the Lady Bloggers Society Tea Party. Your post makes me nostalgic for the old days! Funny thing is that nowadays we can get on facebook and see how all those boys we “drooled” over in high school and see how they turned out, some are for the better, some aren’t so hot anymore :)

  16. nan @ LBDDiaries says:

    I really enjoyed this post – very thought provoking! Loved it – visiting from LBS Tea Party.

  17. Jami @bettyproject says:

    Great post, very nicely written and thought provoking. Although I am from the class of ’99 I certainly have those moments as well lol.

  18. Brooke Hren says:

    What a wonderful post. I am the Class of ’98 and am “friends” with a lot of people I went to school with. Some of us are married and have families and there are still some that are stuck as they were in HS where everything is still a big party.

    Very rarely do I stop to think how these people shaped my life and how I react to situations now and your post comes at a time where I am glad I read it. Thank you.

  19. This is a fantastic introduction. I occasionally think back to my small town high school and wonder about some of these things… I keep up with a few of my 1994 classmates (mostly through Facebook), some of them are ones I would have never expected to stay connected with. It makes me wonder if the popularity race was worth running back then for some of them. Whether me being one of those who fit in everywhere, yet nowhere really hurt me at all.

    I think with people’s goals, you said it best with this: “And perhaps we could have done those things, had we been blessed with a touch more bravery to match our hope.” This is so very true. So very true.

    Thank you for linking up with Story Dam. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work!

  20. So many memories for me too as I read your post. Although you are younger than me, just a little. Enjoyed going back in time and wondering what has become of some of my friends.

  21. What a wonderful trip down memory lane for you! I am looking forward to reading more of your work on Story Dam :)

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