Monday, December 17

Fifty Years Later



In 1958, I could not imagine attending my 50th reunion. That seemed a lifetime away...and now it is upon us. I had a phone call today from an old schoolmate; he is the twin brother of our senior class president and he lives nearby. They are planning our fiftieth class reunion for next August, and in an attempt to get as many of the original class members to attend as possible, some of us are being asked to give a phone call to a few people. They hope that the personal touch will be just the prodding that some need to make plans to attend.

Our graduating class had 447 people in it. From the first reunion, five years after, they had about 1/3 in attendance, plus some spouses. That percentage has held fairly well, but we have lost quite a few to illness or accidents over the years.

What has always puzzled me is the number of people who still live within 40-50 miles of our hometown who have never attended a reunion. I suppose they have good reasons, or think they do. The first time I attended was the 20th reunion. Young children, a husband who travelled extensively for business and some reticence on my part all contrived to keep me at home during the first 3 reunions. All I could think was...."What if they don't want to see me? What if they don't remember me? What if it is all a big mistake? What if all the other girls look great, and I don't? Once I made the decision to go, I was excited and looking forward to seeing old friends and maybe some rivals. Part of me still had a little trepidation at the prospect.

Once I got there, I was so very glad I had made the effort. Old friends met me at the door in welcome; people I thought would not remember me, did as well. Of course, there were some I didn't remember - which was embarrassing. One thing I didn't have to worry about was meeting any old boyfriends, since one had died and the others didn't go to my school. That takes a lot of pressure off!

I have read a few other blog posts from people saying they would never attend a class reunion, either because of the way they had been treated in school, or at a previous reunion. But doesn't everyone have at least a few bad or embarrassing memories from school? I surely did. But I am so glad that I didn't let those bad memories keep me from going, because the experience was so gratifying, once I got there, that I couldn't imagine never attending again. I was able to renew friendships, some from as far back as elementary school and tap dance classes. There is something so satisfying about being in contact with people whom you have known since you were children together. It speaks to the continuity of life and wonderful childhood memories. You can let your hair down, so to speak, and no one cares.

Of the seven people I have been asked to call, I know five. I plan to get out my senior annual before I make the calls, just to make sure I am remembering correctly. I am hoping that I can be persuasive enough to make all of them want to attend the 50th reunion. After all, shouldn't we be glad we are alive and healthy enough to go?!



Note: the drawing of the school was done by one of my classmates.

27 comments:

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I hope that you have a lot of fun at your reunion. :-)

Betty said...

My 50 year reunion is next September. I'm looking forward to it - sort of. lol

Mar said...

I was a foreign exchange student my senior year in an American high school. I have been back to 3 reunions (I think!) because I love winning the prize of the one coming for farthest away! This is one lovely tradition and I have heard too that the ones living in town or nearby are the ones who never attend the reunions... Wish you a great reunion, kenju!

Marty said...

This year was our 40th reunion and we only had 150 people come (including spouses.) Most of them were from out of town. It was fun, but disappointing. I wanted to see an old boy friend or two, but none of them came.

Seamus said...

I've had both good and bad experiences at reunions. I'm not sure about any upcoming ones, we'll see when it comes time.
I hope you do enjoy yours though! :)

Star said...

I have never gone to a reunion. I have some fond memories of those years. I currently live in walking distance of the building , and our yungest graduated from there. If there is anyone I wanted to stay in touch with, I have done so. I have just never felt the need to go.This year was the 35th reunion, if there was one. I didn't hear anything.

Changes in the wind is said...

The school I attended is so small that they do not have a class reunion, they have an all school reunion. Have only had two since I graduated and went to both. Was stressful but yes, am glad I went. Hope yours is a huge success.

tiff said...

I went to my 20th, skipped the 25th, and will probably go to the 30th.

We should be glad we're able to go...the alternatives are not good, you know?

Diane Mandy said...

I think it's great you have enjoyed your class reunions! I am looking forward to hearing about your 50th.

gemma said...

It's great to re-connect with all those memories - good, bad and otherwise. Reaching all the way back to childhood days is quite a trip. Hope you have a great turn out.

Beverly said...

I didn't attend early reunions of my class for a number of reasons. Generally, it was because I was out of the country.

In later years, though, I have been to several, and I wouldn't miss them. As one gets older, the playing field is more level. We're all the same. The pretty cheerleaders have gotten old just like the rest of us. We've all had life expriences that make us empathize with each other.

My fiftieth is in '09. I used to say that I thought only old people graduated from high school fifty years ago, but I guess that really isn't true. LOLj. We're still young, aren't we.

Kristi said...

It's so nice that your reunion experiences have been good ones. Have a blast at your 50th. I haven't attended any of my HS reunions (even though I live in the city where I went to HS) not because of any bad experiences, but because the close friends I made in HS are still my friends now (13 years later) and I still see them all the time.

LZ Blogger said...

Judy - I went to my 5 year reunion with my then fiancé, (now bride) several years (read decades) ago. She (Mrs. LZ) didn't know anyone there and refused to go to the 10 year, 15 and 20 year reunions after that. By the time the 20 year came around, I told her I was going to go either with or without her. She still refused to go, so I went by myself. When the 25 yr rolled around, she decided to go! Amazing how that works sometimes. Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ jb///

PI said...

I have been to one school and one hospital reunion and found it tremendously exciting and was buzzing for days. Because of the distances involved and because nothing could ever live up to the first time I'm content not to go again but am happy to have renewed friendship with friends of both sexes.
You will enjoy it I'm sure.
MTL stopped going back to Oxford when everybody seemed to be falling apart. He said it was too depressing.

JeanMac said...

The first time I really felt sorry for myself dealing with W's Alzheimer's was in July this year. Our reunion was 10 hours away and I would have gone in a heartbeat. He said to go and he would stay home. Can't allow that.
Have a wonderful time!!!

Heather said...

Hello from Michele's. I caught your comment about rain in Raleigh. I'm over in Rocky Mount and just wanted to say, "Hi!" The rain on Saturday was much appreciated.

Jean said...

The folks with whom I went to high school believe in including everybody whether they graduated or not, inviting some who moved before we graduated, and encouraging those who don't want to come for whatever reason.

Some who still live nearby discovered that the ashes of a classmate who died ten years before had never been claimed. They arranged for the release, found a burial site and held a memorial service. We had a tenth, a 25th, a 40th and then a
47th reunion in case we didn't all make it to the 50th. Those who are local have informal get-togethers and those of us farther away manage mini-reunions.

RHS1960
We keep a blog for any news, and fun stuff. There have been a couple of recent weddings. Maybe it's because we came from a small town in the South?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Exciting, Judy! The whole thing of class reunions is fascinating---all the mixed feelings so very many people have....The only one I went to was my Fortieth. I did NOT go to the 50th and in 2009 it will be the 6oth...GOOD LORD! (lol)

I hope you are able to reach those people and I think they are right that the personal touch WILL make a difference...!

About M.C. It would not surprise me if she did have something done...but she always was a very attractive good-looking gal..and woman! And that was over 6 years ago now...I must ask Betty....! (lol)

Evil Twin's Wife said...

It sounds like fun. I've been to all my reunions (5, 10 and 20 yr so far), and I've noticed that the buttholes back in high school are still buttholes. I didn't even recognize half the people at my 20th 2 summers ago.

Omykiss said...

Mmmm, I'm not sure ... I've never attended any kind of reunion ..... I did look at my old graduation class photo the other day ... I only remember the names a few of my fellow-classmates ... maybe i wasn't very matey!

rosemary said...

I have gone to all of my reunions up to this year. I passed this year, the 45th. My high school years were miserable....I was on the social ladder fringe. All of the reunions have been spent sitting with my husband, a few folks remembering me, me remembering all of them and pretty much having a high school time all over again. It's a good thing you are going. You have a great attitude. maybe by the time my 50th rolls around I will have a change of heart.

Awareness said...

I have never attended my high school or university reunions, I have attended ones connected to the summer camp I went to for 12 summers....the last one was for 200 staff of all ages and it was one of the most wonderful weekends of my life. LOVED it.

enjoy your reunion Judy....and I Look forward to reading about it through your eyes.

colleen said...

Our class was more than half that. I love going to my reunions. I love everyone I shared that formative time with. All cliques and imagined grudges are gone. I too, wonder why some who still live in the town don't come. They don't know what they are missing. It's very heartwarming!!

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I didn't even notice before that it was SJHS. The Evil Twin graduated there in 1977 - but unlike me, he has never attended a reunion.

Maria said...

I would have had to travel from California to Minnesota for my 50th and in some ways, I wish I had. So go have a great time and I will read all about your reunion and hopefully feel even worse for missing mine. LOL

Jamie Dawn said...

A 50th reunion is a BIG deal, and I sure hope that many of your classmates will attend.
How great it will be to get together and hear about everyone's lives and families.
I hope you can persuade all those you talk to to go to the reunion.
I said "to" three times in that last sentence.
:-)

terrilynn said...

A few years back at her 50th HS reunion, my mother reconnected with a friend from as far back as junior high days, maybe even earlier. She now lives in Chapel Hill.

Fast-forward to 2007. This classmate gave my mother the key to her home with instructions to come and go as she needed for the entire 2 weeks I was at UNC Hospital. Now on chemo days she drops me off at the front door and heads off to meet her friend for coffee, which is so much better for her than watching the drugs slowly drip.