50th High School reunion: My Secret Jealousies – not so secret now

In addition to confessing I had a major crush on Bill Nelson,

I admitted I had been secretly jealous of Kay Wester and Charlotte Mills.




Camelback, Charlotte


Charlotte and Kay were beautiful, smart, talented and accomplished. Both were leads in school plays (I always had a character bit part).  AND they were coordinated and agile to boot! – Kay was a cheerleader, Charlotte on the  Pom Pom team.  (I had 3 left feet – you can still count them – no rhythm and would have died before I wore an outfit in public that showed any part of my body above the knee).   

To add insult to my self-inflected injury I really liked them both.  Kay was one of my best friends.

Serendipitously, I just read a research article  on envy“By measuring the electrical activity of cheek muscles, the researchers show that people smile more when someone they envy experiences misfortune or discomfort . . . researchers found that people are actually biologically responsive to taking pleasure in the pain of others, a reaction known as “Schadenfreude.”  

At the reunion I was hoping that perhaps I could take a bit of pleasure finding out that after 50 years they were no longer beautiful, smart, talented and accomplished.  Drats!  Denied of Schadenfreude!

Our Town: Me as Professer Willard, Kay had the lead!

Our Town: Me as Professor Willard, Kay had the lead

They now have ADDED 50 years worth of more beauty,  intelligence, talent and accomplishment.  Thankfully,  they didn’t get out on the dance floor at the reunion, leaving me at least with the fantasy that they are no longer agile, coordinated and have finally lost their rhythm,  like me.

*    *   *

“One hour’s reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship”  (Guess I need to start reflecting again –  for my next 70 years)Baha’u’llah, Baha’i faith

8 comments on “50th High School reunion: My Secret Jealousies – not so secret now

  1. I’m sorry I had to miss the reunion but my grandson had decided to get married that weekend so I had to do what you had to do! I was so looking to see all of you again. My memories are so clear of Madison #2 and Camelback. The wizard of Oz where ( Judy) was the witch. How sick Charlotte was in 8th grade. The dances at Camelback ,the art club and foot ball games. Seeing the pics is great ,thanks to all who were there and have put them on line.


    • Oh my gosh Leonard!!!!!!
      How fun to hear from you. I deny I ever was a witch (although I do have clients who think I am one . . .) You HAVE a married GRANDson! Impossible as you are far too young. . . proof is that your memories are clear.
      with love,


  2. Though 5 years older, and in college before I entered high school, I had a crush on Kay Wester. Thanks for inviting all of your smart, good looking friends to square dance and post-play parties at our house (not that she or any ot the others would have paid any attention to her friends little brother!) Thanks for the flashback.


  3. I have a story for you. There was a cheerleader that I was so jealous of……she was a sweetie but I still wanted to be her! Varsity cheerleader, intensely popular…..you name it.
    Years go by and my young daughter has a sleepover. One of the girls couldn’t come until her mother met me. When I opened the door there she stood. She had gained literally 100 pounds. In my mind I felt slightly vindicated but after speaking with her…loss of a husband to cancer and a couple of other life changing events….I realized that jealousy is wasted. If we think our problems are insurmountable…..wait until someone else tells you theirs. It really shook me to the core! (now the guys are a different story….schadenfreude to the max!)


    • Rosemary,
      That IS a great story. I know, personally and professionally, that what we perceive is rarely the truth of what the other person experiences. What people tell me about their lives and relationships are usually well kept “secrets” from their friends, co-workers and even family.

      The mask workshop I do where people paint the outside (what they show to the world) and the inside (what they feel/experience/know) is even a surprise to many participants themselves.

      Thank you for sharing that experience. It really highlights wasted jealousy. I can imagine how it would shake you to your core.


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