School reunions: yes or no?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Permalink

I’ve mentioned before that this year marks 30 years since I finished school (although I can’t possibly be that old, so I’m sure there’s some time/space continuum glitch somewhere!).

To celebrate those delightful school years and catch-up on what’s happened since, a school reunion is planned. Unlike our 10 year reunion (20 years ago – faarck!) this one isn’t just for those who graduated Year 12 in 1984, but essentially those who commenced high school (year 8 back then) in 1980. Some of those peeps may have transferred elsewhere or dropped out early or left in Year 10 – something which was relatively commonplace back then.

Stars of (possibly) the most famous school reunion movie, Romy & MIchelle. Via blog.quickflix.com.au

Stars of (possibly) the most famous school reunion movie, Romy & MIchelle. Via blog.quickflix.com.au

I’m very #meh about the whole thing and find it strange that others are so excited. I mean, haven’t they seen the movies, or watched TV shows? It NEVER ends well: whether you’re the cheerleading squad captain who married the star quarterback and now live in a state of poverty with your 15 children; or if you’re the high school nerd who founded an IT startup company and now own the world. While I doubt the event will involve chaos and murder (as is usually the case in TV shows!) I suspect they’ll be much hugging and smiling as well as much bitching and moaning.

“Wow, Sue-Ellen’s done well for herself hasn’t she? She’s half the size she used to be. What a shame though the face-lift was a failure.” 
“Ha! John-Boy’s the size of a house. He thought he was such hot stuff in school and look at him now!” 

You know… that sort of stuff. (Perhaps there should be a Toddlers and Tiaras’ style reality TV show which features peeps in the lead-up to a school reunion. I wouldn’t watch it but I’m sure lovers of Housewives of Wherever might!)

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I had a call from a friend a couple of months ago.

“Are you going to this reunion?” she asked.
“Well yeah. I guess. I mean, we kinda have to don’t we?” 

In the conversation that followed, she said exactly what I was thinking. Neither of us had a lot of interest in seeing people we barely remember from our high school years. I’ve already talked here about the bizarre Facebook friend invitations from people who were absolutely revolting in school. Sure they might have changed, but why do I need to care?

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We agreed that we already catch up with our closest school friends on a semi-regular basis. Others we’re friends with on Facebook so we get to see the occasional life highlight.

I’m a bit unclear as to what I’ll get out of the event. Some will be there to brag about their achievements. Others will skulk in corners possibly feeling like overwhelmed underachievers. As for me – I’d be somewhere in between.

Perhaps we just need a 30-years-Later Year Book. I’d be happy to receive a summary of everyone’s life with a couple of pictures.

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Or am I missing the point?

Do you do school reunions? Am I being unfair to this age-old ritual?

I’m blogging on Tuesdays with Essentially Jess again!

36 Comments
  • JM Peace
    May 13, 2014

    It’s a bit of dilemma. I was pleasantly surprised that some of the mean kids appeared to have turned into human beings… though that didn’t mean they weren’t talking about me behind my back…

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Ah yes… I have to say some mean kids I’ve since seen on FB seem okay and quite normal! 😉

      I guess we also need to ask, do we really care what they think of us? *sigh*

  • Emily
    May 13, 2014

    Our reunion was a bust because invitations went out two weeks before the event. I mean, really? We’re trying to organise an unofficial one ourselves. I would enjoy it. We were a small school so it would be great to see everyone again. Helps that hubby and I are high school sweethearts so I wouldn’t have to babysit him all night.

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Oh absolutely. My 10th was a bit of a fizzer. For some reason I committed to a netball carnival elsewhere so I travelled the 3 hours to my hometown for the reunion but couldn’t drink or stay up late, as I had to get up ultra early to travel back to the netball carnival for a 9am start the next morning. WTF was I thinking?!

  • Neen
    May 13, 2014

    There’s such pressure to attend these things! I went to my 10 year reunion….I can’t remember how many years ago now. I think it was 7 years ago. Wow, I’ve been out of school 17 years. Just realised this *panics*.

    But I’m with you, I left there not really feeling the need to connect with anyone that I’m not already connected with. There’s a reason you gravitate towards some people and want to remain in touch. And a reason you aren’t interested in seeing other people. Just because you have a shared history in some way doesn’t mean that you need to drop into each other’s lives now and again.

    I already struggle to find time to see friends let alone a bunch of old randoms!

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      There were a few people I enjoyed catching up with at my 10th – some people I knew outside of school for example but not my closest friends. But that was more it – just saying hello and finding out what they’re up to…

  • Me
    May 13, 2014

    I have never been to a school reunion (it would have been my 30th last year !!!) – leaving the country where I went to school certainly made it easier !!!! Personally, I have no interest in seeing what everyone has been up to – I didn’t particularly like school and I have no desire to catch up with anyone I was forced to spend time with over 30 years ago !!!
    Enjoy it when you get there – the hip flask of vodka should definitely help get you through the evening !
    Me

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      As I lived in a small town I mostly went to school with the same group between Yr 1 and Yr 12 – a few different people came to high school but a lot of us played sport together and socialised together. Even now when I get together with the group I’m still in touch with it’s like the last 30 years disappeared as we have a long history. But… as I said, we catch up anyway.

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    May 13, 2014

    Nup I’m not a fan really – prefer to catch up with old friends that I went to school with but not all of them, especially those who were horrible/snobby to me and now want to play nice – not a fan! Maybe when I’m 70 🙂 Em – also visiting as part of #teamIBOT xx

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Yes, same. Someone on Twitter just said that they hated their 25th but were looking forward to their 50th and suspected there’d be less bragging etc.

      I have to say the idea of the same tortuous questions: where do you live; what do you do; are you married; how many kids etc… will do my head in!

  • Caitlin
    May 13, 2014

    It was my 20th last year. I went to two high schools so I travelled to one which I found to be a mediocre experience but enjoyed catching up with my ‘group’ all in one spot, so I was glad I did it. I organised the other reunion, which I enjoyed so much more, but we were a small school and a small class and we had teachers and students at the reunion. It was fun, plus I organised a gourmet two course meal and had beautiful decorations, so it was a nice night out without kids.

    • Debbish
      May 14, 2014

      Caitlin I suspect this event will be quite big – unless a lot of people don’t go. I think we had about 80 kids finish year 12 and most came to the 10 year reunion I think… this one should be significantly bigger. *sigh*

  • Bek Mugridge
    May 13, 2014

    ooh I don’t know if I would go or not!!
    It feels like a good idea and fun but then wouldn’t there also be lots of people trying to pretend they liked each or showing off or awkwardness from people you may not have got along so well with back in the day? Hmmm!

    • Debbish
      May 14, 2014

      I suspect everyone would be on their best behaviour! Although it’d probably be more enjoyable if they weren’t!

  • Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    May 13, 2014

    I haven’t been to one and I don’t really think I’m that interested. That was so long ago, and I catch up with the people I like to know about. I don’t mean to sound horrible, but couldn’t really be bothered hearing about how “fabulous” their lives are, when it will probably all be edited anyway.
    Gosh I sound bitter, but there were some really awful types at my old school.

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      I’m a bit the same. Everyone will be on their best behaviour and their lives will be fabulous. Although I’m the sort of person who’d tell everyone my life sucked! 🙂

  • Mumabulous
    May 13, 2014

    I went to my 20 year reunion. It was a surreal experience. I felt like I was in a room full of strangers. And to add insult to injury I had purchased the most fabulous Jayson Brunsdon dress in a size 6 !!!!!!! (Its so vanity sizing) and promptly found out I was pregnant the week before the event.

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Oh no… so you couldn’t even get drunk to help you survive the event?!

  • Nikki @ Styling You
    May 13, 2014

    I’m going. I get nostalgic and still think I’m 17 or 18. Reunion of sorts for my college this year celebrating its Centenary. I’m counting on you going so I have someone there who understands blogging!

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Ha! God… you’ll get the same question again and again. “Blogging, what’s that?” Perhaps a summary yearbook thingy should be issued in advance to save all of the same questions being asked of everyone!

  • Lee-Anne
    May 13, 2014

    LOL the pics…didn’t quite need a hammer but the flask was mandatory…
    The curiosity factor drove me to one last year with a school bestie and it was fun but surreal. As some have suggested, there’s a reason why you weren’t friends back in high school and the intervening decades haven’t really changed this.

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Surreal is a great description. I feel a bit like that when I see people from school on FB. They either: haven’t changed; look like their parents; or are completely unrecognisable as anyone I should know!!!

  • EssentiallyJess
    May 13, 2014

    I’d be happy with a summary too!
    I always swore for my 10 year reunion I wouldn’t have gotten fat, and then it was two weeks after my 4th child was born and I had spent 10 weeks on bed rest, so I was bigger than I had ever been. It wasn’t that great. I have no real desire at all to go the 20th.

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      I’m a lot bigger than I was in school. My closest friends have seen me through thick and thin – literally – but I’d probably be more self-conscious around others!

  • Bec @ The Plumbette
    May 13, 2014

    To make you feel old I was BORN in 1984! 30 years is something! I’d go. But I’d go with a school friend for support!

    • Debbish
      May 13, 2014

      Oh, thanks for that!!! 😉

      Fortunately my closest school friends would be there, but we catch up every year or two in person anyway!

  • Rach
    May 13, 2014

    I didn’t go to my 10 year reunion I just sorta think I was in touch with everyone I wanted to see but I think curiosity would get the better of me at 30 years…..just remember the line from the movie Gross Pointe Blank “how was everyone at your reunion?” “they were the same just more swollen” xxx

  • Kylie Ofiu
    May 14, 2014

    I didn’t go to my 10 year reunion. (I only got to year 10 and that was in 2000). I had no interest in seeing people I have had nothing to do with since then. There are a few I keep in touch with on Facebook, but for the most part, I have no desire to go to one, ever.

    • Debbish
      May 14, 2014

      I went to my 10 year reunion and at that stage I saw my closest friends quite a lot (we lived closer and most weren’t married / with kids etc), so I made an effort not to sit with friends and just sit with others. It was okay but it was a bit like being at a wedding and having to be polite. I got to chat to a girl I was friends with through sport (more than school) but that was about it.

  • julia
    May 14, 2014

    I think you’re missing the point. If you don’t want to go that’s fine but if you’re just boiling it down to it likely being a bitch-fest on who’s fat and unsuccessful and who’s not then that says more about your own insecurities than anything else.

    I’ve been to a few and enjoyed them all. It put me back in touch with people I hadn’t seen for many years – I left school in 1979 – and I found that just about everyone was warm and friendly and happy to see each other. There were no “mean girls” in the corner criticism what people were wearing. You’ve seen too many movies if you’re expecting that. Everyone just enjoyed filling in the gaps with each other, dancing to daggy music, and having a really great night. I also discovered friends who had been through cancer (which I had no idea of), who had lived/or were now living overseas, who had stayed in the local area, who had children or not, who had failed marriages or relationships, who were high paid professionals or who grew avocados in Queensland.

    I realised that one thing about the reunion was that these were people who I grew up with, people who really couldn’t give a crap about how big or small my house or pay packet was – we all came from the same place and in that room we were all equal.

    Life is short. There is no point being a snob about it. “I’ve moved on from all that”. Really? I now have regular catch ups with these friends even though we live in different states. These people are friends for life. We get each other. As I get older (I’m 52) I realise how important that is.

    • Debbish
      May 14, 2014

      Oh so glad you’re enjoyed your reunions Julia. I’m like that with the group of girls I’m in regular contact with. We’ve all done very different things over the past 30 years and rarely lived in the same place, but when we get together it’s like nothing’s changed.

      I still remember a gathering in the mid 1990s when my SIL came along and she commented later that it was strange cos we were all so different but… we were also still so similar. As I think I said in another comment, I think it’s cos most of us went to school for all 12 years together and many of us went to the same kindy before that!!!

      PS. Think I have seen too many TV shows and movies about reunions though so I expect the worst! 😉

  • Vanessa
    May 14, 2014

    I’m 12 years out of school at the end of this year, and I can’t think of anything more boring. I keep in contact with who I want to and that’s fine with me!

  • Jo Tracey
    May 16, 2014

    I finished in 1984 too & so far haven’t heard a thing- which, I think, is good. I feel weird about it all as I only did year 12 at the school I finished at, and only year 10 and 11 at the previous one, and…well, you get the idea. I can count on one hand the number of people I still am in contact with- and that’s a total from the last 3 schools. So no, not a fan.

    • Debbish
      May 16, 2014

      Yes – completely understandable. Am very torn about the whole thing!

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