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  1. #1
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    OT: High School Reunions

    OT: High School Reunions

    OK, my 50th is coming up next September in San Diego.

    I went to my 10th and thoroughly hated it. A lot of "posing" and "wow, I am important" kind of stuff. I haven't been to one since. However, I have had contact with and lunch with some special HS friends from time to time.

    My 3 best buddies are no longer with us.

    So, I am debating about going this time.

    Here are the issues.

    1. Because of our two children with profound disabilities, our life has followed a very non-traditional pattern - workwise, financially, recreation wise, values system and in just about every other aspect. I generally find little in common with other folks, and we HATE, "Do you have any grandchildren" questions - because the answer is NO, and it will always be no. Then, you get "Well, tell your kids to get busy" and other stuff like that, and then unending descriptions by others of their 7 kids, 17 grand children and 16 great grand children. And then untold pictures of cute little Jeremy. Etc., etc. Then we get the "How much money I have made" kinds of stuff, which totally turns us off.

    2. They always host it in some formal kind of setting - a hotel, dancing, etc. My wife can no longer dance - perhaps with a knee replacement she can? Neither of us drink and we detest "cocktail hours" and "mingling." We both retire early. I requested that we have some sort of picnic or other similar gathering this year, but that was rejected.

    3. I guess it might be nice to see some other folks, but, as I said, my 3 buddies are gone.

    I was sort of a "leader" in my high school of almost 3,000 students - vice president/treasurer, etc. The graduating class had about 800.

    I think I have already answered my own question. Thanks for listening. I would appreciate other viewpoints.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-06-06 at 06:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I faced up to the same thing this fall. A good sized group from my high school class is getting together for a golf outing. I don't golf and don't drink and I've really only had contact with one classmate since college. He isn't going either. I felt outside of the mainstream during high school and I guess I still do.

  3. #3
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    Dfox,
    This coming June will be my 35th year reunion. There was a 20th & 25th I did not attend because I was unaware they took place. Like you I live far from my High School, (it's in NJ). However I am looking forward to this one. For starters I love a good cocktail hour, but our class is beginning with a light afternoon picnic with families. The evening will be just for the class and spouses. Due to the age between you and I, unlike your class many of the families in my class still have young children, (or younger) while some have children already through college.
    With a class web site that has been organized I have been amazed at some of the things my classmates have done. While most seem like me, just muddling through and happy.
    Your background with children seems to be a special case, but surely you had more than just 3 buddies from school. My own class was 588. Again, through the web site I have come to have great conversations with people I had almost forgotten.
    As for dancing during the evening, even though Mrs. P8 can dance, I do not and I think even in your class many will not.
    You will of course make your own decision, but I would argue that you should go.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    We all have a reunion story. Here's mine. My 40th reunion was last summer, held 100 miles away in Silicon Valley. I hadn't been back or seen anyone since I split for college. 40 years with no connection. I paid (reluctantly) the gasping sum for me of $110. I went out for a ride with friends that afternoon (to bolster myself), got back late, left for the reunion late. Arrived at dusk and found the Eagles or somebody (should have been the BeachBoys, Dick Dale, etc.) were having an amphitheater concert in the area. Total traffic gridlock and me with only a wimp-ass Mapquest map. Drove endlessly around blocked off streets. Tried calling the reunion venue but nobody answered. After cruising endlessly, gave up and drove home...stopped at Quizno's for a low fat sandwich. No reunion, no old girlfriends, no tri-tip or cordon blue or whatever the hell.

    Weeks later I got a cd in the mail with stills of the reunion. Honestly, I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE ANYONE AFTER FORTY YEARS. NOT A ONE. They'd gotten so frickin' old. Presumably me, too. Not many looked ready to ride up anyone's Granny Gear Hill anymore. Anyway, it all seemed sort of remotely sad or bravely admirable-- depending on your world view.

    I ended up OK with not making it there. I'll think of my old friends the way they were....raunchy, geeky, funny, warm, hormonal, insecure, clean-limbed, surfing over at Santa Cruz and as adolescent as I once was........not to mention pre-Vietnam alive and innocent.

    Truly and understandably, you can't go home again. But if you're curious, have old issues to resolve, want to hug friends from the past and catch up, then by all means go. Those who were jerks may or may not be the same. But, affectionately, they'll be old, once familiar jerks. I missed seeing and talking to my old flame Kaisa Lisa- she married a doctor I believe. I plan to make it to the next one with a better map. Hopefully, we'll all wear name badges. Or maybe familiar voices and mannerisms will give us away.

    In the end, however, best for me to get a grip on the drops and spin on into the future.
    Last edited by CrossChain; 10-05-06 at 09:26 PM.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  5. #5
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    Ok, here's my two cents: I had never been to any of my reunions because I felt like like most folks that I had a pretty crappy high school experience. I was never part of the "in" crowd and I always felt like an outsider. Never held office, none of that stuff just Mr. Dorky dork. Oh, the cool people knew my name and would say hi but I could never associate with any of them that was very clear. They were royalty and I was clearly not. So I fell in love with each of the cheerleaders from afar and for their part, they would smile and say hello to me. The jocks mostly acted like jerks to me so I just disliked them also from afar.

    Well I felt that I had done pretty well with my life when the 25th reunion came up (ten yrs ago btw) I decided to go. I was very curious how the cheerleaders had turned out (I was guessing mostly fat and saggy) and the jocks (I figured mostly fat and balding). I was in for a shocker! I got there and the cheerleaders looked GREAT! Just as gorgeous as I had remembered in hs. And of course they remembered me, all gave me big hugs (that never happened in hs!) and were actually interested in how my life was going. And as the evening went on, damned if I didnt fall in love with each of them all over again but this time not from so far away. It was wonderful. Now, the jocks, they were there and most of them got drunk early on and were pretty much ugly drunks and acted like jerks (to me and every one else there) and ya know, somehow that was very satisfying too.

    So all in all, everyone there was mostly the same person they were in hs but I saw them all with a lot more maturity and confidence and things that would rattle me as a youngster didnt even faze me. It was one of the best evenings of my life somehow because I realized that the people I liked back then were good people and the people I didnt like werent. And I was a lot more perceptive when I was young than I gave myself credit for.

    Hell yes, go!
    Wiggy wiggy scratch yo yo bang bang

  6. #6
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    I think I have already answered my own question.
    I came to the same conclusion. You already know what you want to do. I didn't go to any high school reunion and I never will. Went to a small school -- 91 kids in my class, and I have no desire whatsoever to see them again. Ever. Have I made myself clear?
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  7. #7
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    I'd rather plunge knitting needles into my eyes than to go to a high school reunion. I bolted out of that place as fast as I could. I cannot imagine going back willingly.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  8. #8
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    As a non-drinker with no children and no career accomplishments others would relate to, the thought of going back into the hornet's nest of High School holds no allure. It would be just more of the same BS. And I know that would be the case, because whenever I interact with anyone from my adolesence, the same old behavior patterns play themselves out...mine and their's.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Because of our two children with profound disabilities, our life has followed a very non-traditional pattern - workwise, recreation wise and in just about every other aspect. I generally find little in common with other folks, and we HATE, "Do you have any grandchildren" questions - because the answer is NO, and it will always be no. Then, you get "Well, tell your kids to get busy" and other stuff like that, and then unending descriptions by others of their 7 kids, 17 grand children and 16 great grand children. And then untold pictures of cute little Jeremy. Etc., etc.
    This is the kind of "family oriented" insensitivity that drives me up a wall. Even if people have no idea as to the reason why you have no granchildren, they should never presume it's an elective option. Life is far too complex to assume that things will always take a predictable course.

    My wife and I have no children for a myriad of reasons, none of which can be explained easily. They shouldn't have to be explained at all, but we are regularly put in a position of justifying our existance, sans offsrping.

  10. #10
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    On the other hand, it might be fun to go to a HS reunion and tell everyone you ended up as a U.S. Congressman. Be interesting to see if you were congratulated or they recoiled in horror!
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
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    I'll offer a contrary view -- I like my high school classmates, and return for reunions gladly. I'm from a small town and school (44 classmates), and I returned to my hometown after college to start raising a family. As a class, we've stayed close and reunions are fun times. It also helps that every class reunion is the same weekend (a real homecoming), so we can visit with friends from different classes as well. Reunions would be much less fun if we only connected every 5 years.

    Two years ago, for my 30th reunion, I caused all kinds of excitement when I fell from the top of bleachers during the big homecoming football game. Ended up in the hospital with a mild concussion, cracked ribs, some back issues and a huge bruise. When I came around my room was filled with worried classmates on hand to check on me.

    We've been told our class was "special" . . . I feel fortunate to have had a good high school experience, and that I've been connected in many ways in the lives of my classmates.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  12. #12
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    My mother is 88, and she still goes to her HS class reunion...which is held once a month. 7 surviving classmates still live in her area, so they have dinner once a month. 70 years since graduation!

  13. #13
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    I reluctantly went to my 20th and did not enjoy one minute of it, I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there. I had very little in common with anyone then and even less now. I am not at all interested or impressed with what classmates did, or do, for a living or hearing about their materialistic lives. None of them were really my friends, they were just people stuck in the same classrooms. There were less than 100 in my graduating class, most of them are probably fine people and have done well, without me.

    I have more than my share of good friends these days who do persue common interests. We found each other for all the right reasons, not from being boxed randomly in some hickory stick classroom.

    I don't need no stinkin' reunion.

  14. #14
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    Denver;

    I know some of your feelings, but not all. I finished high school in a small oil field/cotton field town in west Texas. We were near the bottom economically, but my friends are my friends. One is the town lawyer/mayor, and the other recently moved back to take over the FNBank from his Dad. There were a group of nine of us guys that stayed very, very close. Three are now gone (one in Vietnam) and a few weeks ago another lost his wife to a robbery/kidnap/murder. But we're still close even though we're scattered across three states. I get round robin emails from someone from my HS class nearly every day, and yet live 250 miles from there.

    The 10th reunion was everyone bragging, but the later ones were not. I'm looking forward to the 40th pretty soon. We are going to start having reunions every five years, because so many are gone. I look forward to seeing my friends, even at funerals. They are the friends of my youth.

    We also have four boys, the oldest is 30, and no grandchildren.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  15. #15
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Such a diversity of opinions and experiences!

    My sister (72yo) graduated with a class of 25, and still keeps up with everyone. These relationships are still of prime importance to her. My other sister said to H*** with it and moved to Germany for 40 years (coming back reluctantly 5 years ago), and has her own current group of friends from the Germany experience, but not from high school.

    I think that what I will do - next time I am in San Diego - will be to contact some of those folks that had some special meaning to me and have my own mini-reunion somewhere for lunch. None of the falderal and crap, yet I still get to visit with some of those for whom I cared. True, I will miss the out-of-towners - but - it will hopefully be a positive experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monobarrocho
    We also have four boys, the oldest is 30, and no grandchildren.
    Well, tell them to get BUSY!

    Quote Originally Posted by p8rider
    With a class web site that has been organized I have been amazed at some of the things my classmates have done.
    I offered to do a class web site - but it was refused.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-06-06 at 07:35 AM.

  16. #16
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    I've been to all of mine, and had a pretty good time at them all. The tenth was the worst as everyone was still hanging with the same friends they hung with in high school and not really socializing with those outside their cliques, and I suppose I was as guilty as anyone else.

    My high school class was pretty big at 525, so not everyone knew each other even when we were going to school. My last reunion was the fortieth in 2000, and when I first walked into the hotel ballroom for the Friday informal welcoming social, I swear I thought I was in the wrong room; these people were OLD, and I didn't recognize a soul. Nobody cared about how successful anybody else had been or how many kids/grandkids they had; we were all just happy to still be alive. Fortunately, the reunion committee had the foresight to prepare nametags for everybody that included our senior yearbook photo.

    One thing I remember being struck by was the way the girls who had been homely wallflowers has really blossomed, while the girls who had been prom queen, homecoming queen, dated the quarterback, etc., hadn't held up very well.

    I'll probably go back for my fiftieth in 2010 if I'm still kicking.
    - Stan

  17. #17
    Slow and Go ShortCircuit's Avatar
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    I went to my 20th, hated it, vowed to never go to another one again.

    Then I was reading my Adventure Cycling magazine, they were talking about bicycling back home to your reuinion, and it put a bee in my bonnet: this might be fun to do...cycling would be the the highlight, and the reuinion a secondary thing. Besides, it would be a fun thing to tell all those out of shape couch potatos...oh yeah, I just bicycled half way across the country to get here...at least it would give me something to talk about :-)

    It would be a 1300 mile bike ride back home, and 2007 is the 40th...we'll see!
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  18. #18
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    The way I look at it, the people in your class are part of your life and you part of theirs.

    As I recall, one of your kids just had an extraordinary achievement, and one that has a lot of importance for disabled people in particular.

    You may find out that the people in your class have grown deeper since you last saw them. At my last reunion, I had some great conversations with people who I considered total jerks 40 years earlier.

    I'd vote for giving your classmates another chance.

    Paul

  19. #19
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    I passed up my 40th last fall. After much thinking, I realized that I didn't really care to see anyone in particular. I was simply nostalgic for my youth. I never really liked high school anyway. No regrets in not going plus I saved 1000 bucks in air fare and hotel.
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  20. #20
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    I find reunions get kinder and gentler with every decade, so I hope you go.

  21. #21
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    I liked high school. I have been to every reunion and have been on the planning committee for the last two (30 & 35). Almost everyone changes with age and seems to me that the old cliques, hangups and prejudices mostly have melted away. I would say go and if you don't like it, simply make a quiet get away. Who knows, you might just have fun. My Dad went to his 50th (same high school as me) a few years ago. He niether driknks or dances but did enjoy seeing "old" friends.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
    I liked high school. I have been to every reunion and have been on the planning committee for the last two (30 & 35). Almost everyone changes with age and seems to me that the old cliques, hangups and prejudices mostly have melted away. I would say go and if you don't like it, simply make a quiet get away. Who knows, you might just have fun. My Dad went to his 50th (same high school as me) a few years ago. He niether driknks or dances but did enjoy seeing "old" friends.
    I had a blast at high school - I really enjoyed it. I was active, always with new ideas, organizing things. (You would never guess that, right? ) Lots and lots of activities in which I participated. I knew lots and lots of folks.

    My wife read the whole thread and says "GO."

    If I go, I think I will print up a business card:

    "I don't have any grandchildren, so don't ask."

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper
    One thing I remember being struck by was the way the girls who had been homely wallflowers has really blossomed, while the girls who had been prom queen, homecoming queen, dated the quarterback, etc., hadn't held up very well..
    +1....This is for real.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  24. #24
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    If I go, I think I will print up a business card:

    "I don't have any grandchildren, so don't ask."
    Can I get a copy? Seriously though, there is quite a bit of GK (grand kid) talk. I just nod and say that's nice - which it is. Then I tell them that I ride my bike 4-5000 miles a year.

  25. #25
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    I went to my 30th. I really didn't see anyone that I was close friends with, but a lot of people I recognized. I moved out of town after HS so hadn't seen any of them for 30 years, but that didn't matter. Most everyone was friendly and relaxed. I had a great time.

    Screw the formal venues - they don't stay formal very long. After a couple of drinks it turns into one big party. Just mingle and say, "Now, who are you?"

    Go. You'll have a great time.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

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