My fiftieth high school reunion was held in August of last year. At first I wasn’t sure I’d go–I’d been to all the previous reunions: five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty–were there others? I even organized the first few before handing over the reins to our class president.
But this time, I thought–what’s the difference? I knew how it would go: the same handful of regulars would attend, and none of them would have changed all that much. Sure, there’d be grayer hair and a few more wrinkles. A divorce or two, new kids or grandkids. But we’d still drink too much, and stay up too late, and what was the point of doing it all again?
Our reunions have almost always been informal affairs: We’d picnic at a local park or at a classmate’s house. The event was usually planned on the same weekend as the schoolwide Alumni Reunion that was a dinner at a fancy restaurant and a lot of hoopla that, personally, I didn’t care about.
Oh, I’d already RSVP’d to say I’d be there. But then my partner announced he’d rather not go since he didn’t know anybody and felt a little out of place. And I hate to go places anyway, much less go there alone. But my conscience won out and I arrived at the venue in my hometown at the appointed hour.
I AM SO GLAD I DID.
I saw friends I hadn’t seen since high school. Thank goodness we all had name tags because I wouldn’t have recognized many of them. But the thing that made it all worthwhile was when Wendy, my best friend since first grade, showed up. The last time I saw her was at my wedding, 48 years ago. We’d only recently reconnected, via Facebook, but I didn’t know she’d planned the long trip from her home in New Hampshire to Central New York.
I think this year was the best reunion turnout we’ve ever had, and that doesn’t include the handful who had planned to attend before fate intervened (especially Libby, a “foreign student” classmate from Perth, Australia who had lived with my family a few months back in 1970).
Will I go to our sixtieth? Who knows where (and if) I’ll be by then.
But I sure am glad I went to this one.