High School Reunions: What’s the Point?

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In 2006, I went to my husband’s thirtieth high school reunion. Most of the men were now fat and bald and the women (who showed up) were skinny and pretty and nary a few were of any interest to me. I sat in the corner listening to insipid conversations about tedious jobs and clichéd real estate investments.

I skipped my own first reunion, attended the second, and just missed the third. I actually wanted to go to the most recent one; but when I looked at the list of attendees, they were just as my husband’s reunion was—all the cheerleaders and jocks. In other words, they were the people for whom high school was the highlight of their life, none of whom I related to.

I went to a high school of the arts with an acclaimed performing arts program that included journalism and media. My friends were bohemian, philosopher artists. They were a collective of individuals, an oxymoron, if you will—all very interesting and eclectic with original thoughts and opinions and yet accessible, warm hearts and gentle spirits. I had either heard from or about the ones who went on to have commercial success, although the rest seemed to have been abducted into obscurity. Where were these people now?

A few days after the reunion, a gossip gal who befriended me through an online reunion site sent me over 200 pictures from the reunion. In three of them I saw someone I cared for, albeit in the background. All the other photos were of the prom queens and kings (my group would have been the kings who are now queens). Most of the photographs were accessorized with various alcoholic beverages and poses, the likes of which one might run across in a Girls Gone Wild video.

I no longer regretted not attending. Instead I mourned the lack of apparent evolution and questioned if high school ever really ends. Why is it that time in our lives that is rewarded with reunions? Why not our first jobs, internships, European backpack vacations, or steamy relationships that get a reunion every ten years? Now those are events I’d consider attending with or without the overpriced dinner in a hotel ballroom with a DJ who has never heard of Hall & Oates.


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