I suppose it was bound to happen. Someone was bound to decide to start the KDHS matriculating group of 1982 on facebook and I would end up on it. And that would be the beginning of me starting to have to think about high school, and in my case, how much I hated it.

102 people (so far) out of about 200 have been joined, and as could be expected from a Jewish South African class that graduated in the terrible early 80’s, the spread around the usual places in Jewish diaspora is wide, with only a handful of us still back at home. (The irony is not lost on me that most immigrating Jews felt like staying here was the soft, comfortable option!)

I need to be honest. I remember as little as 20 names as people with faces, personalities and substance. Most are so vague that I can barely attach them to a face, especially one that is 30 years older. And while I am interested in some of the people individually, and even made facebook friends with them before the group, especially ancient primary school ones, I find that, mostly, I am conjuring up horrible memories of school. Two nights ago I had one of those ‘back to school’ nightmares, in which old faces from my school past are back to make my life miserable, and I can’t find the maths classroom, ever.

I am momentarily, at the age of 46, finding myself having those totally rebel moments. I want to wear the black arm band that we wore (Karen Zwi, I remember you in particular) when Neil Agget died in detention. I want to smoke cigarettes in the downstairs girls’ toilets (even though I haven’t smoked for 10 years). I want to sing anti government songs, write bleak death poetry and beat up the boys who beat us up (and lied). I am terrified to find out what most of my old classmates think and feel now, because my instincts tell me that while we  have turned almost middle aged many of them have stayed as conservative (if not become more so) then they were.

I find myself reliving those disappointments and injustices again. I find myself remembering the frustrations of being a young thinker in a tank full of rules. I find myself remembering the hurts felt by me and others, and really not enjoying those memories at all. I find myself thinking with shame about some of the childish, insensitive hurts I caused.

And I am shocked at how deep those wounds go, and that I still feel them.

So, when lots of people in the facebook group suggest a class reunion, I swallow bile and my palms sweat. I experience a kind of fear that I do not normally feel in my life (even though I still live in South Africa). The weird thing is, I have done what I consider to be really well in my life. I live well, work at what I love, have a beautiful long term relationship and joyous friendships. I am mostly proud of myself. Except when I think about school. So, King David High School, and those that were with me, this is my honest response.