|Onondaga Central High School.|
For those who have read posts from the early period of this blog, high school and growing up in the closet was not an easy journey for me - like so many other LGBT youths. My high school, Onondaga Central High School, pictured above, was small, rural (about 10 miles south of Syracuse, New York) and everyone knew everyone - for good and for bad. There were few secrets. At the time, there were roughly 750 students in grades 7-12 and there was nowhere from a smart, extremely shy and semi-nerdy kid who did not get the team sports gene to hide. I finally found a niche in cross country and earned a varsity letter and graduated with a New York State Regents diploma and a Regent's scholarship.
This week I am back for a high school reunion - the husband has been a good sport so far even though he knows no one - and we went to the informal gathering last evening with the formal reunion dinner tonight. Things went smoothly and one thing I wish my young self had known was that in the long run, high school social drama does not matter, especially if one goes on to college and leaves the area. You will have many opportunities to re-create yourself. Just be patient. That said, your high school years do nonetheless shape who you are and the positive friendships are things that can be treasured.
Being back in the Syracuse area for the first time in 20 years has been interesting as well. Since there is not much hotel wise close to my school, we are staying a few blocks from Syracuse University ("SU") at the Skyler Hotel (part of the Hilton conglomerate) housed in a former Jewish temple. The place is remarkable and it is so nice to see a historic building saved and reincarnated. After touring part of the main SU campus, we went to the Armory District which is full of shops - we found a great clothing store - and eateries. A number of gay and gay friendly clubs/establishments are close at hand as well. Overall, despite what one hears about "rust belt" cities, Syracuse looks good and very livable if one can handle the snowy winters.
Today, we plan on first visiting a downtown street fair, then visiting apple orchards still owned by families my family knew years ago: McLusky Orchards and Beak & Skiff Orchards. The latter has grown exponentially and has hard cider - last night we had some of its 1911 blend named for the year the orchard was founded - and a distillery. This afternoon, there will be a tour of the greatly renovated high school school, and the formal reunion dinner on the shores of Otisco Lake, the smallest of the Finger Lakes. Making it all better is a great day weather wise.