By this age, either you’ve been to a lot of class reunions … or it has been a lot of years since you’ve been to one at all. Steve Meador – Class of ‘72 – just went to one that his wife put together and wonders, in this piece for BoomerCafé, why it wasn’t better attended.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
I was in Ohio recently, for my wife’s 35-year class reunion, and I have since been thinking about how Dickens’ opening line is as appropriate today as it was in 1859.
I watched my wife invest hundreds of hours over several months as she called and emailed classmates, then smiled as her list of attendees seemed to grow. In the end though, only 75 of the class of 351, plus spouses, friends, or partners, showed for the event. Twenty-three have passed away. Which leaves about 250 who just didn’t come. It is hard for her and me to conceive that anyone would not want to see the people they grew up with. Could it be that high school was mostly the worst of times for so many?
We all know, there are numerous reasons for not going to a reunion. Work/vacation schedules, financial issues, previous commitments, bad health, concern over appearance, etc. They’re all understandable, but responses like, “Not interested,” “I already see everyone I want to see,” or “It’s the same old place with the same old food,” just seem to me to be foolishness.
I wanted to do a Top Ten Lame Excuses Why I Can’t Come To The Reunion, but it was forbidden. Now that it is all over, I have condensed the list to four and will do it anyway.
- I was going to come, but looked on the updated class list and found I was deceased.
- My money is tied up in gold and silver in offshore accounts. (Actually, the person who fits did pop in, but wrote the committee a bad check.)
- My husband (the classmate) has a big truck and he muds on the weekend. (I suppose there is a place where reunion-snubbing mudder truckers gather.)
- Our dog had puppies and someone might be coming over to buy one that night.
The number 1 reason is part playful and part truth. Information was provided that a member had passed away and the error was only discovered and corrected the day before the reunion.
Reunions have their trying moments, like when someone pulls out the frosty, plastic photo jacket and it unfolds to the floor while you stand and endure thirty-two pictures of kids and grandkids you know nothing about. Then there is the whispering in the corner about a couple of classmates who look incredibly better than ever, but certainly not by the hand of nature or by God. And there’s the member with the robust appetite who takes the last two pieces of your favorite dessert, while you are waiting at the end of the buffet line.
All in all, the way I see it is, a few short hours of the best of times where we engage our wisdom to analyze and rationalize our foolishness during the worst of times. It’s great entertainment, and for a snippet of time it allows us to be young again. Nobody should ever miss out on that.
In 2012 it will be 40 years for me. I hope everyone from the Defiance class of 1972 who reads this will attend. If you do, I will promise not to tape a KICK ME sign on your back, shock you with the capacitor taken from electrical shop, or blow a palm-full of pepper into your eyes. If any of those things ever happened to you in the past, this time we will just sit and have a pleasant visit. And I might even apologize.