My kids do not have yearbooks. They haven’t asked and I am not about to offer to buy them. I am not sure when it morphed into a yearly thing – I guess it was always that way – but I have likely ruined the chance that my kids can ever flip to a certain page to find out what Cynthia So-and-so suggested they do over the summer. 2sweet2B4gotten and such.
I have only kept two yearbooks – one from eight grade and one from my freshman year of high school though in my defense I didn’t sit for senior pictures so I wasn’t pictured in my senior yearbook. That seems sad in retrospect and were it not for Facebook I wonder if people who I had gone to school with might have ever thought to look me up only to realize (shock! horror!) I was a phantom. That seems indulgent because I have only moved about 40 miles north of where I graduated and all it takes is a quick trip to Publix or a cross fit gym in my hometown to host a full blown reunion.
An argument can made for preserving meaningful sentiments from people who ‘knew you when’ (one of my favorite passages from the high school year book is from my best friend who offered “I hope it works out for you and Mr. Take-a-year” who was then my very new boyfriend (he also signed my yearbook that year and my hand instinctively traces his careful, block capital letters as I read them even now). The eight grade year book holds two passages from two separate boys (who grew up to be men, though I only knew them as kids) who I was very close to and sadly both died far too young; there is some sort of alchemy that occurs when I see their handwriting and I can feel myself being transported back to the student desk I sat in while I waited and wondered what they had written. Sandwiched in between the jewels are so many other scrawls, phone numbers to beepers that I hope still aren’t in use and other vague suggestions that ‘we should hang out sometime’ or ‘you should call me over the summer”. Honorable mention goes to the people who must have been passing the yearbook across the classroom and stopped to sign it with “Hey, I don’t really know you, but have a good summer”.
We have purchased the girls’ school pictures (and their class pictures too) so I don’t feel that I am missing out on all of their precious memories, but one day they will ask for yearbooks. I can only hope that when they do, the pages that were once blank will hold something sacred for them too. Maybe they will be the ones to write something that resonates with others as well, I believe that is what yearbooks are really for anyway.