When we went to high school dances, the DJs would always play “That’s what friends are for” toward the end of the night.
Dionne Warwick would sing, “Keep smiling and keep shining/ Knowing you can always count on me/ For sure/ That’s what friends are for/ In good times and bad times/ I’ll be on your side forever more/ That’s what friends are for.”
I never appreciated the words until now.
On Saturday night, my Munster High School classmates and I partied like it was 1997, except this time we were old enough to legally take advantage of the open bar.
Our reunion took place at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts in Munster, the same venue where we danced the night away at prom 15 years earlier.
I had a great time reminiscing with all the guests, some of whom I’ve known since first grade.
The night included a lot of reliving old memories and making new ones. There was also dancing and a trivia game. Classmates were asked general questions like what was the No. 1 movie in 1997 (“Titanic”) and high school questions like who was our principal (Dr. Kevin McCaffrey). Winners received gift cards, as did the classmate who traveled the farthest and the classmate who had the most children.
Growing families is just one of the things that has changed in 15 years. We found grownup jobs, lost a little hair and gained a few pounds. Even with a few more years under our belts, it’s still the nicest group of people I’ve ever known.
Some reunions can cause anxiety, where people worry about being judged for not being as successful as others or not as good looking as years ago. I genuinely felt like no one was judging me and I just wanted everyone to feel comfortable and welcome.
At our 10-year reunion, we needed name tags but thanks to social networking, we didn’t need them this time around. We knew each other’s jobs, spouses, kids and hometowns. On Facebook alone, we found more than half of our nearly 300-member class, but some have gone completely off the grid. Maybe we’ll find them in time for the 20-year.
At the end of the night, everyone joined in a circle for the last dance as “That’s what friends are for” played. My classmate Paul requested it and noted that it was the final song played at our senior dance in the MHS cafeteria. Friends then. Friends now. Life has come full circle.