I’m Like the Runaway Bride When It Comes to Class Reunions

Runaway bride! by ilovebutter
Flickr image by ilovebutter

I suppose that there are “reunion” people just like there are “funeral” people.  You know the type… those folks who will always invite themselves (even if it isn’t their class or someone they know).  Well, seems like that’s not me since I have a 0 for 5 record on attending class reunions.    

A short time ago, I gazed upon the last invite received from some high school classmates.  It shared the details of a nice enough sounding event taking place at the adult fun world of Dave and Busters.  It also happily announced the year of the reunion.  Since I don’t feel a moment over 25 in spirit, the reminder was in direct conflict with my core. 

Now don’t go tagging me as an anti-social type or elitist.  I have no problem socializing with people I went to school with, just not all together in a collage of history.  Plus, for practical purposes, my closest buddies also seem to always opt out of the festivities.  Could I go back and wander among folks that faintly remember we sat in French class together?  Sure, but it would be much more fun to giggle with my best buds about what we got away with outside of said French class. 

I don’t think of high school as my finest hour… as glory days gone by.  Some people live in those moments and I don’t.  I remember spending a lot of time wishing to be done and out in the real world.  Yes, the freedom of time is truly wasted on us as youth.  I didn’t “peak” during those years and wasn’t a part of any stereotypical click. 

I guess I just was.  I belonged to a dance group.  Theater and choir were my core elective focuses.  I still spent time playing my flute for private recitals since I had to opt out of band to fit in the other electives (plus with me not being a morning or cold-weather person, band’s before school rehearsals on the field were not doable).  My schedule each day was packed with honors and AP classes.  No study hall for me since my educator parents noted “you study on your own time.”  The weekends I wasn’t grounded (for simple offenses I swear) were spent hanging in coffee shops, dance bars or the movies with friends. 

High school time blended into college and was a balancing act between the school world and family life.  As each year ticked by, I passed through the final meltdown then implosion of my family unit via divorce.  I remember feeling that the general angst of one’s growth from adolescence to adulthood seemed so unimportant.  The normal woes of “does he like me,” “will he ask me out,” “I don’t like the way I look” or “why didn’t I get invited to that party” didn’t register.  Somehow Homecoming doesn’t matter when you are wondering if mom’s going to get to keep the house. 

So maybe my aversion to reunions is the reflecting on that particular section of the past?  I glance back and can find the deep meaning or even humor in the moments, but also see so much that has changed.  My 16 year-old was a pesky little thing and my 18 year-old a vicious truth-teller (not to mention the elementary school me whose favorite phrase was “but why?”).  I’m not sure my adult self would want to be left in a room for an extended period of time with either old part of me (though the debate would be wicked).  And so, no surprise, I didn’t make that reunion either.

Have you attended any of your class reunions?  Why or why not?

Did the event end up being different then you imagined?

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39 Responses to I’m Like the Runaway Bride When It Comes to Class Reunions

  1. heatherishither says:

    I had to choose between my 10-year-reunion and a weekend with family and I chose family. High school wasn’t my high point either! I’m wary of anyone who says it was.

  2. I went to my 10 year and swore I’d never go again – and still haven’t. Just had our 30 year (cannot believe that one) and actually wish I had gone. We’ve all matured, have kids, careers, so it seems everything has settled down. I think I’ll go to the 35 year reunion just for kicks.

    • Diana, can’t wait to hear your 35 year reunion (horror) stories. Heh heh. 🙂 One of my besties (since 8th grade) told me I have to make the 25 or 30 reunion (gasp) because folks are more mature. I’m still suspect after hearing some of the stories (or lack thereof) of where some folks are today. My hats off to you for making your 10 year one.

  3. I’ve never attended any of mine, but it’s mostly been because they’re in California and I haven’t lived in California for more than 20 years. Your post made me think about it, and I’m not sure I’d like a reunion scenario anyway. I prefer smaller, less organized get-togethers so would rather take a cruise with a couple of high school friends or something like that. The cost would probably be less than traveling to California for a reunion. 🙂

  4. Hartford says:

    I didn’t attend my 10-year and with a 20-year high school reunion pending, I can tell you I won’t attend that one either. Nor will I attend college or university reunions. Honestly, the people I’ve stayed friends with, I’ve stayed friends with. Those I haven’t, I have no desire to. High school wasn’t my glory years either so I have NO desire to try and replay – still trying to forget. And although I thoroughly enjoyed college and university, again, I don’t see the point of “rehashing” all the memories. I am too “in the now” I think. LOL!
    I am with ya on this one!

    • Ha ha ha! Oh I bet you’ve got some high school tales like I do Natalie! 😉 I’m “in the now” with you. There are great memories and moments of horror and dread. All are my history, but running through an organized replay is not a desire. Ditto on college and grad school for me too. 🙂

  5. I went to my 10 year and haven’t gone to any others. It was interesting to see how people matured, but I found I moved on. I loved high school – until my senior year when I was all punk rock and no one would speak to me anymore. Whatever! Two years later they were all clamoring to go to clubs with me because I knew all the doormen. Yeah, I guess I’m still a little bitter. They were my friends and turned their backs on me because I had the guts to be different.

    I’m with Natalie – I just don’t see the point of reliving old times. The ones who remained friends are the only ones I need to relive anything with and I don’t need a reunion for them. I can just call them up any old time!

    • Clapping for your “guts to be different” Tameri! I walked to my own drum beat too and we could have been great club pals! Making friends with the doormen was key. 🙂

      I get some of your residual bitter feelings. Why go back to surround yourself with people who at one time betrayed you? Folks can be all smiles, hugs and kisses now, but reality is that you won’t be bonding over coffee anytime soon. Their loss.

  6. I haven’t gone to any of my reunions. One of my friends went to our fifth, and said, “All the people who were jerks back then? Are still jerks.” And like others, I’ve kept in touch with the people I care about, even if just through Facebook. Fun post!

    • Thanks Jennette! Funny thing is, I was on the planning committee for our fifth and still didn’t go. Sad that some in your class have not grown up. And yes Facebook rocks at getting back in touch with peeps quickly.

  7. Ha, my husband I were marred for about six years when I “made” him go to his 10th high school reunion. I wanted to go because I was from Canada and I wanted to see what a good old mid-western high school reunion was like and I thought he’d have fun seeing old friends. In a weird twist of fate it turned out I knew a lot of people there — in fact my husband says to this day that I knew more people at his high school reunion than he did. High school wasn’t the high moment of his life either. We had fun, danced the night away, but I’ve never “made” him go to another one.

  8. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    My last high school reunion was a blast! The first night was just our class, most of the spouses stayed home. We all met at a town bar and partied. A large group of us closed down the bar, then we went to a classmates house (well, his tricked out garage) and partied and told more stories. Then at 5am the eight of us still standing, headed my house, where I made a big breakfast. I have to give my husband credit for staggering out at 5am in his shorts, wondering what the hell was going on, and pitching in to make breakfast. We were maybe still feeling the affects of a long night of drinking! The next night was the formal dinner. It was kinda boring. I can’t wait til the next one. The people that I was out with were not my best friends either, but we had a class of only about 125, so we all knew each other!

    • It sound like you had a great class in general Jillian! Way cool that you guys can hang out like that and enjoy. Hmm…can I be an honorary member of the group? I’ll show up to a reunion (just not mine) for a party like that. 🙂 Kudos to your hubby too for the breakfast help.

  9. kerrymeacham says:

    I went to one of my wife’s reunions, and it was pretty boring. I decided after hers that I wasn’t interested in going to mine. Like a lot of people who have posted, I’ve stayed in touch with friends through the years, mainly because I grew up in a very small town (89 in my graduating class, and that was the entire county) and I still go back there to see my parents on a regular basis. It seems with FB that I can reach out to several old friends that moved away. HS was definitely not my finest hour, so I’m not really interested in reliving it.

    Great post, Barbara. Thanks.

    • With you getting back to your home town often, I can see the need to not return for reunions Kerry. Facebook has also been amazing at putting people back in touch. It does kill the need to go back in many ways. You were a trooper for giving support at your wife’s event. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’m fascinated with the question of reunions too. I attended my 10 year reunion, had a good time, but have not been interested in returning for others. A couple of years ago, I attended a reunion (not high school, but involved many of the people that I knew from high school) and it was disappointing on many levels. As you and the others posted, maybe it’s because I live in “now” and have little desire to spend a weekend with people who only remember the me from “then”.

    Great post, Barbara. You have me thinking.

    • You hit on another angle Bridgette – that people hold on to and remember us from “then.” I’ve faced that a few times when reconnecting with acquaintances. They for better or worse put me on a pedestal of who and what I was and then are surprised and/or disappointed when me now shows up. I believe in and embrace change and know I’ve evolved on so many levels from where I was then. Thanks for bringing up that additional piece!

  11. tamikaeason says:

    I’m dreading my reunion. I skipped my ten year and promised myself that I would pop my head in for the twenty year festivites. I think:)

    High school was a rough time for me. I didn’t quite fit anywhere that I wanted to fit.

    Ah, memories:)

  12. I’ve been to several of mine and enjoyed every one… with the possible exception of the 20 year one I went to with a date who made me 45 minutes late. I was one of those super-involved kids in high school and had, for the most part, a great time. My best friend these days is the woman I met in Mrs. Pittman’s algebra class in 9th grade – we see each other several times a week. I view reunions as an opportunity to run back to touch home base before streaming out into the unknown again. I don’t dwell on those days, but I sure appreciate them. I went all twelve years of school with several of those people and they knew me when I was too shy to do anything but blush and freeze. I love seeing how a relatively quiet girl I knew in Brownie Girld Scouts with is now hysterically funny and outspoken. I love seeing how the prom queen is still beautiful. It’s all fodder for a story some day… 🙂

    • Another vote for going. Thanks for sharing your perspective Ruth! The fact that many of you went to school together the entire time I’m sure adds to the special bond you feel. I love the Algebra story too. One of my best friends I met in second grade and another in eighth.

  13. No reunions for me either. My 25th was last year and I wasn’t the least bit tempted. Those high school days are behind me, thankfully, and that’s exactly where I’d like to keep them!

  14. Lesann says:

    I haven’t gone to any of my reunions and probably won’t in the future. I’ve still got a core group of friends from then, and have reconnected with less-close ones on Facebook, but the rest…I have to get out the yearbook and look them up. I wasn’t involved in high school. I started working my sophomore year, and by senior year only went a half-day. I switched junior highs midway so none of the kids I’d grown up with were the ones I attended high school with – the disconnect meant more casual friendships. I’d probably attend a reunion for my elementary school…that would be fun. Maybe the 50th? lol

  15. Having been homeschooled, there isn’t really anyone to have a reunion with. The group of homeschoolers I graduated with were not friends. We were thrown together for four months before graduating; hardly enough time to form relationships. Even if there were, I’m like you Barbara, I mostly remember my parents’ divorce and my mom struggling to take care of us when my dad got the house. We were even homeless a week or two at a time, going between hotels and friends’ homes, sleeping in guest rooms. None of the typical teenage drama ever touched me. That’s actually why I’m afraid to try writing YA, I don’t think I can get into the teen mindset! 😉

    • Fascinating about the homeschooling situation Angela. I bet you can write some great stuff (if you want) from that perspective. I’m with you on writing teens… mine probably wouldn’t be giddy. Heh heh. I can so relate to dealing with family stuff in high school. It made me feel so much older in spirit then wading through the typical “drama” stuff. At times, the crazy noise of HS was a great distraction. Glad we both made it out and to the other side. 🙂

  16. I attended my 10 year reunion kind of by luck because at that time I already lived in U.S. I was visiting my family back in Poland when my high school friends contacted me to invite me to the reunion. It was rather informal but I had a good time, except for avoiding the answer to some way-too-personal questions.
    I haven’t attended any reunion past that one, mostly because I’m here, in the States and I only visit every 2-3 years. I keep in touch with a few of my friends but it would be interesting to see them in person more often, minus the gossips. I’ve survived high school but it wasn’t always fun. Now looking from the time perspective I don’t really care about little things that have bothered me so much when I was a teenager. So if I ever have a chance, I will definitely attend another reunion — and drag my American husband with me for company 🙂

  17. Piper Bayard says:

    I recently attended my 30 yr high school reunion. The difference between 20 years and 30 years was the use of the name tags. We still recognized each other at 20 years. At 30 years, we read the name tags and didn’t believe it. But at 30 years, we were a lot nicer people than at 20 years, too. Funny how life does that to most of us. 🙂

    • That is a great point about the evolution of people to be kinder, Piper. There are so many different things that can happen over time to make us be more grateful of what we are blessed to have and appreciative of others. So maybe I’ll consider peeking in the window of my 30th. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  20. JEOcean says:

    To date our class has met every 5 years. So far I have missed every single one of six. Lucky me, there’s another one this year. I don’t even remember who to contact if I WANTED to go. My husband thinks going to at least one is a good idea. Does anyone else think so?

    • I say, do what feels comfortable for you. I’ve heard mixed stories from those who attend them. Some love it and go back every time to see how everyone is doing. Some go for pure curiosity. Some go to be snarky on how others are doing. Some go and are bored. Some attend, flash back to bad experiences and wish they hadn’t bothered. For me, there is nothing really pulling me to feel I need to be there.

      • JEOcean says:

        I think I would be just as happy to never go back. Really not great memories to revisit and the people haven’t missed me in 30 years. Plus, I was a transplant there. I appreciate your input, it made me consider it more in depth.

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