Sunday, October 05, 2014

High School Reunion - Dang....That Was Fun

My favorite photo from the reunion weekend

Leading up to my 30th high school reunion I wrote a post called "5 Tips for Successfully Attending a High School Reunion".  This was written as my high school classmates prepared to gather in California to celebrate three decades post graduation.

Many people don't do reunions. The reality is our class of around 800 people had less than 200 who chose to attend the gathering.  I have heard that in the age of Facebook fewer people decide to show up for high school reunions, as they feel they "know" what the people whom they care about are up to regularly.

Ms O'Brien's Kindergartners from Hugo Reid 
I had hoped to share the evening with many who never arrived. Some had conflicts with their schedules, others lived far-far away, and many simply did not want to attend.   However, the people who showed up brought with them a festive spirit and the party (and post parties) lasted late into the night.  The whole weekend was full of hugs and discovery.

As I reflect on this monumental event (I do not believe when we crossed that stage in 1984 dressed in maroon or yellow caps and gowns we could have imagined a future that included our lives 30 years later), I was reminded how fortunate I was to grow up in this community.  A real community is comprised of people, and we had some great people in our graduating class.  While we were a big school, many of us began together in elementary school and shared memories that went back to our earliest years.  (Attached is a photo of those who were in my kindergarten class).  We laughed about the past (good and bad) and reveled in the journeys that all have taken.

Those who "got you" in high school still understood your most basic self.  I spent the weekend with several people who I affectionately list among my "Forever Friends", those people who are always an active part of your life no matter what happens along the way.  Some I chat with regularly, others not as much.... but the connection is real and never seems to fade.  It actually grows stronger over time.  

The most interesting part were the people I did not know, or could not remember.  Thirty years is a long time to match a face to memories in a class so large.  But each classmate whom I proactively started a conversations brought another stitch in the tapestry of this reunion. Every person I talked to happily shared their life and wanted to know about the other people present in the room  (There was only one person from whom I felt a negative vibe, but without having talked to that person I have no way of knowing if there was a real issue with me or if I imagined the stink eye!).

While a party like this is not for everyone, I wish fewer people had stayed away.  So many people showed their heart and soul and it was clear what makes individuals special.  One friend who is "fun in a bottle" had me laughing all night, and another lapped up the evening and being with us all like a puppy whose owner had just returned home.  There were former preppies, mods, beauty queens, punk rock types, athletes, band members, cheerleaders, social butterflies, dancers, actors, etc.... and all showed up at the reunion and stood shoulder to shoulder.  Time had erased almost all issues that may or many not have mattered back when Ronald Reagan was president.  

1983-84 Apache News Team
People remembered their teachers, best friends, first crushes, summer vacations, and a plethora of extra-curricular activities.  The evening kicked off with some video clips from the "Apache News" (our twice a week closed circuit newscast that reported the goings on at our school).  The news team anchors from 1983-84 stepped in as the EmCee's of the reunion program (myself included), and it was fun to work together again.

As I boarded my flight home to Austin, I was filled with an excitement to return in another decade.  My hope is to keep in better touch with those I encountered and establish new friendships with those who I share this connection.  The evening was exactly what it was meant to be, and I thank everyone who made the trip (regardless of if they traveled three blocks or 3000 miles).  It is my hope that all of us who were there will rally the troops in 2024 when we do this again.

If you were there, or you attended another reunion recently, please leave a comment with your own observations.  I know there are others who can add to this discussion.... as people have lots of opinions about reunions!!!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer 


Unknown said...

Tom that was beautiful! Well said!!!

thomsinger said...

Thanks Pamela.