Hanging Out at the HS Reunion

Here’s the story–Twenty plus years ago, I attended a high school my freshman and sopohomore year. I was fairly involved with school and activities, and had a decent amount of friends. One month before my junior year, I did the most incredibly stupid thing of running off to another state and getting married and eventually dropping out of school. (That’s a whole 'nother thread though.) I didn’t keep in touch with anyone from high school, mainly because I was 1200 miles away, and partly because I was ashamed to a degree by how stupid I’d been.

Fast forward 20 years. I’m back in the area (although not in the same town), and my 20 year reunion is coming up in October. Or, at least it would have been my 20 year reunion had I stayed in school. These are the same people I was friends with in my first (and only) two years of high school, and I’d love to see some of them again.

However, I didn’t actually graduate (from that school, or at all–although I did later get my GED and go to college).

So, do I go? Or should I just leave it be? I’d like to go, but I hesitate because it isn’t really “my” graduating class.

If you want to go, then go. I’m sure they won’t mind receiving money from selling one more ticket to the event, and people will probably be happy to see you despite the fact you are technically not a graduate of that class.

Go, by all means. You’d be amazed at how little people will judge you for the past, and that they’ll be happy to see you.

At our last reunion, we had several people there who like you, started with us, then left for one reason or another chose to come back and visit, and it was actually a pleasant surprise.

I think you should go. If you had friends back then that will be there I’m sure they’ll be happy to see you and find out how things turned out for you. That’s what these things are all about, and after 20 years I don’t think very many people would really care if you graduated with them or not. Heck, most of them won’t even remember.

Your OP struck an interesting chord with me…

I first had that same feeling I have always had whenever 20th reunions are mentioned – that’s grown up talk, old folks, something that happened in the Sixties…

Instantly, I was brought back to the reality that my own 20th reunion is this year as well.

I then remembered a girl from my literature class who dropped out; she was a stoner type and didn’t really care about school at all. I then thought “What would I think if I saw her at the reunion?” (no, I was never attracted to her)

Here is my take: Of course, I would remember that she dropped out – how could I not (“Oh, that’s the girl from my lit class who dropped out.”) – but I wouldn’t care one bit. I would be far more interested in hearing how she turned her life around (hopefully) or what cool adventures she had. It never would cross my mind that she doesn’t belong; she’s from that part of my life, so she belongs at our reunion.

In other words, go to your reunion! You’ll have a good time, and folks will interested in who you have made yourself and not critical of who you were.

After my junior year in high school, I started college instead of finishing high school. So, I didn’t graduate with my class. I’ve been to two reunions so far, and no one has cared one bit that I didn’t actually share their senior year. The organizing committee even got a picture from a previous annual to put on my nametag.

Go to the reunion, if you want. It’s always the “different” people who have the interesting stories to tell. In this case, that would be you!

I actually just went to my 20th reunion last night. Like minor7flat5 , I figured that was for old folks…but I guess I am one of the old folks now.

Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised by how time has leveled the playing field. I spoke with people I was never particularly close to, and I was genuinely happy to be talking to them, and vice versa. It’s always nice to hear about what people are doing and what’s important to them in their lives. However, it is sort of an artificial situation, and that’s OK. I mean, I told people what I’m doing now, but didn’t really give them much information about the intervening time. And everyone does that, to a certain extent, because just about everyone has had situations and experiences they don’t really care to mention.

There wasn’t anyone at our reunion who didn’t actually graduate with us, but there were a few people in that catergory that we mentioned and wished had been there.

Just go. I know someone who didn’t graduate with us (moved away between sophomore and junior year) but she’s been back for every reunion and it’s great to see her.


Just back from my 20th. It was nice, but I left feeling weird, wondering how far I’ve really come.

Alma mater is a suburban Detroit private school renowned for its architecture and hockey teams. I actually had a pretty good time this reunion, while it lasted, even though it was hot as a barber’s towel all weekend and my best linen sport jacket had apparently been Scotchgarded instead of cleaned - it felt like I was wearing the plastic bag it came in. Then again, I was suffering from a certain degree of psychosomatic hyperhydrosis ($20 words for “flop sweat” - why? Read on.)

The Class of 1985 definitely leads the pack in kids under 7 - we had something like 10 moppets in attendance, and by no means all of the class came out. We also have a surprising proportion of stay-at-home moms, perhaps because many of my classmates came from an affluent, conservative set (think car executives, and people who country-club with them). As for occupations, we have the expected doctors, lawyers (one guy’s a doctor AND a lawyer! top THAT!), plus a 747 pilot, a rabbi, four or five clothing retailers, a TV producer, a social worker, a pollster and an architect-turned-restaurateur. All in all, a much more interesting bunch than I remember from our callow, cliquy teenage years.

I was the only never-married male (kudos to me for showing up at all, I guess). There were two never-married females (one agonizingly anorectic, the other perhaps doubled in weight since I knew her), and four divorcees (two male, two female). One of the divorced guys had been a real fuck-up in school; now he’s had his life totally broken up, yet is so much more mature and insightful because of what he has been through. My hat’s off to him. I hope he does well.

The one cloud hanging over my reunion was the probability of running into Liz. Liz was a girl on whom I had developed a seriously toxic unrequited crush during our junior year. I didn’t approach “stalker” territory (too shy), but for a year I made a complete fool of myself in front of her, her friends, my friends and several of our teachers. My grades suffered; Liz suffered; I suffered. With the help of a great school counselor, I gradually got over her, but the damage was done. My first few breakups with real girlfriends were very slow to heal, and I wallowed in cynicism and self-hatred for months after each relationship.

I’d seen Liz briefly at our 10th, with her husband, a very decent-looking fellow. She spoke only curtly, and with some nervousness, to me. There really wasn’t any point, I didn’t think, in saying “I’m sorry” to someone who didn’t really want to talk, so I didn’t. At the afterglow at a classmate’s house that year, Liz drank so heavily that hubby had to carry her to the car. I wondered now and then whether I might have been the reason, then finally decided I was flattering myself to think so. I put her out of my mind.

Flash forward ten years. I’ve been having a pleasant time at the 20th, largely because of no Liz. She’s in the back of my mind and I’m trying to keep her there. That night is the class picture. Several more of us have shown up by now, and the sport jacket is really starting to soak. Nonetheless, I keep up my cheery aplomb, steeled by several gin tonics.

Then suddenly an ash-blonde head spins around on the steps below me and two huge, plaintive green eyes flash. It’s her. Damned if she doesn’t look a day over 18, either. Still. “Oh hi, Liz!” I beam. She beams back, her smile sort of taken-aback, fading quickly. Or am I flattering myself again?

Afterwards we knot up into little groups. I come to Liz’ side and tell her what I’d been thinking just then: “How is it you never get any older?” A nervous(???) laugh again: “Thank you, Doug. Thanks.” Then, like a shot, she whirls around to speak to someone else. I’m left holding the bag with her hubby, Rob, trying to be pleasant. “So, where you guys at these days?” He names a nondescript suburb. “Whatcha doing down there?” I’ve obviously made it sound a shade accusatory, because Rob takes a beat and says, “It’s near the office.” Some economic development whatchamacallit; they’re both economists. Ya da ya da, nice seeing you both again, catch you at the afterglow.

I do, too. We don’t talk again. But I get their picture. I get a whole lot of people’s pictures. I don’t know if I’ll keep theirs, but I don’t know why not.

That night, even after getting one of the divorcee gals’ emails, I can’t stop thinking of Liz and her damn beautiful green eyes, and all I put myself through because of them. You think you’re over something. And maybe you are. But in some ways, deep down, you never get over it.

Don’t get me wrong: Liz seems to have married well. She never had a romantic bone in her body, and I was a mooner, a dreamer, a heart-on-the-sleever, singing songs to a girl who didn’t want songs sung to her. Her dream guy is mild-mannered, clean-cut, and crunches numbers for a living. My dream girl is – no, it’s not Liz anymore. Or any of the others I hoped it would be. Maybe I don’t have one. Maybe I need one.

Anyway, I wish you love, Liz. And I’m sorry. Please know I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll see you at the 25th.

Nicely written, *Doug.

And poorly coded, Uvula Donor.


'Sawright. Thanks for reading one man’s internal blather.