Rob Oxford: Should I Stay or Should I Go… Now?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Newman Smith High School
Dallas, Texas

By Rob Oxford

It will have been 40 years ago this May that I graduated from high school as a charter member of The Newman Smith Class of 1979, which of course means a 40th High School Reunion.

Now there are several factors that must be considered before deciding on whether I will be attending any planned celebration. First, my senior year was the only year I attended Newman Smith. My Mother accepted a promotion within Xerox Corporation that would require more hours spent at her office and as it was, her daily commute was already rather lengthy. So, without much input from their only son still living at home, my parents decided they would be selling the home they built in the little town of Colleyville, TX. (which is no longer a “little town”) and be moving closer to downtown Dallas where she had been working for several years already.

Subsequently, I didn’t really know that many people in my senior class at Newman Smith. In fact, I’ve probably gotten to know most of them a lot better since becoming "friends" on Facebook. Granted there was a group of 6 or 8 of us that hung out, but I was still the “new” kid and that actually suited me just fine.

Colleyville is where I lived for most of my “formidable years” and where I had attended school since the 7th grade. So why would a teenager agree to, if not be eager to move to a different school district for his final year of high school? Why was the prospect of meeting new people and making new friends enticing when it should have been worrisome?

My Freshman year in high school was all I had hoped it would be. My middle brother had just graduated the year before and he was a stud. He was a great athlete, the teachers liked him, the coaches loved him, the girls were crazy about him and I… well, I was “Desi’s little brother” and for all intents and purposes you’d have thought I’d had it made.

Unfortunately for me, the two years that followed weren’t as glamorous as I had hoped that they'd be. I didn’t quite meet the coach's expectations on the football field, I wasn’t a very good student and to a certain extent I felt I was no longer “fitting in” as a Grapevine Mustang. The thought of starting over didn’t seem to bother me in the least. After all, we’d moved around quite a lot while my Dad was still on active duty in the military, so I was somewhat used to packing and unpacking.

But herein lies the dilemma. I graduated from one high school but have fonder memories of my time spent at another. Do I attend both reunions? I believe there may have been a 10-year, I’m certain there was a 20, but if I go, this will be my first.

So, should I stay? Or should I go?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful as I’m sure there will be hours of hard work put into planning a fun weekend of events, I’m just trying to justify the expense of flying to Dallas for what could possibly be much ado about nothing? Do people really want to know what I’ve been up to since tossing my mortarboard cap into the air all those years ago?

Exactly what is the purpose of gathering together 40 years later? Won’t someone be keeping score? Someone’s always keeping score, right? Who’s no longer with us and may they rest in peace? Who's spent time in prison? How many times have you been married or divorced? How many times have you gone to rehab? Where do you spend your summer/winter vacations? Whose kid is a doctor and whose kid still lives at home in the basement? That guy (me) looks a lot older whereas that guy (the star QB) hasn’t changed a bit.

Quite honestly there are things about high school I don’t want to remember and things of which I wish not to be reminded. But then again, if gathering together for one short weekend over dinner and cocktails means time spent laughing, reminiscing and genuinely reconnecting, then I’ll take the good with the bad. However, if my friend Stuart brings up the fact that I got paddled for saying “Coach Rushing gets high on TV Dinners," well then the fur is certainly going to fly.

I’ve haven’t yet decided on whether I’ll be attending either of these upcoming high school reunions, but I love where I’ve been in life. I love what I’ve done. I love the good as well as the bad, what I’ve seen, who I’ve met and all that I have accomplished. I also love my kids and I love my wife and if I do decide to attend, I look forward to walking into the venue with her on my arm.


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