There’s nothing like a high school reunion to take you back to the past, and in my case, way back.
I’ve been to two of my reunions and figured those would be enough to satisfy me for the rest of my life. For year ten or was it twenty, we spent the evening at a now-demolished horse racing track. One benefit to the venue was that bored spouses could escape from time to time and put their money down on the number two horse in the fourth while their wives reminisced with old friends, none the wiser to their disappearance. On the thirtieth we were at a venue that was tarted up like an old garage/gas station, neon a prominent feature of the decor. My main recollection of that was having to stick my nose into people’s chests to examine the bite-sized graduation photos residing on their name tags. The guys were the hardest to figure out. At least the women still had hair.
However, for the next reunion things are looking up. I’m on the reunion planning committee, having been roped in by a grade school friend, which means I have to show my face at one more of these events.
So far so good. I loved the first committee meeting. Our take-charge leader is just what we need, and I enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends.
One reason for my indifference to reunions comes from my indifference to high school. By senior year I was ready to move on. Another is that I don’t remember many people from high school unless we also went to the same elementary school. I went to college out-of-state and while I was gone my mother tossed out my yearbooks. I remember being annoyed with her, but not for long. After all, I thought, I’d embarked on a new phase in life and the past didn’t matter.
I’ve been told that at fiftieth reunions people have lost all pretense at pretense. Those who are not rich and/or famous, i.e, most everyone, have come to terms with who they are. They don’t come to reunions to brag or compare biceps and face lifts. Well, maybe face lifts. It’s unlikely they come for the food either. I hope that at ours they come to tell embarrassing stories and make us laugh.
I still look to the future more than the past, but as psychologists will tell you, at some point late in life people look back and review where they’ve been. Maybe a reunion is a good place to start.
I loved my 50th reunion and like you was ambivalent about even going. I was not a happy camper in high school and could not wait to get out. Funny thing, all those awful kids turned out pretty well and have become real human beings over the years. I really urge your group to set up a Facebook page soon. Ours got everyone reminiscing way before the event itself. People posted elementary school pictures, old flyers, things stuffed away in memory books . . . it was a gas. By the time we got to the reunion, there were 200 or so of us who felt as though we already knew each other. Yes, not everyone wanted to be on Facebook but that’s okay. For the ones who wanted to be there it was a great boon and I think it really melted the barriers before we got there. The night before the reunion some helpful person posted on Facebook: “we don’t care about your fat, your wrinkles, your broken marriages or your wealth. Just be there and be a part of the reunion.” I think that Facebook message set a wonderful tone for the entire evening.