School reunion: to go or not to go

I am not a big fan of school reunions, mostly because nowadays I reckon I probably don’t have much in common with most kids I went to school with – apart from my ‘besties’, who I do catch up with every now and again.

Plus, some of my old school classmates were the sorts I would steer clear of back in the day in order to avoid being taunted and bullied … days in the old school yard could be cruel and dangerous.

But something has changed recently. Bad memories have mellowed and recollections of the fun and carefree times keep coming back.

So when I was invited to a Facebook group of my former high school cohorts who were organising a reunion, I became curious. And I actually turned up for the pub dinner and drinks, and (cringe) karaoke.

My best friend, who I have known since age eight, was there, so I worried less about not having anyone to talk with. But the ‘mean girls’ were also there, as were the motley crew of fellows who teased me mercilessly during those delicate years.

What a revelation to see how everyone had transformed. There was no teasing or taunting, only hugs, kisses, linking of arms and more hugs. But what I saw did sadden me somewhat. I saw some damaged goods among my old classmates – physically, emotionally, family-wise and so on. Yet, there were many smiles bobbing up in the sea of dashed dreams.

I have to admit, I momentarily got a bit of a cruel kick out of seeing some of the meanies looking a bit more faded than I expected … perhaps Karma is real … but overall what I took away was a warm feeling of connectedness, uninterrupted by the four decades since I last saw my classmates.

It was one of the funniest nights out I have ever had. Each one of us remembered some oddball thing or two from our high school days, and the laughter made up for all those less than happy memories some of us still have.

A very grown-up and grey John asked me if I remembered why I had sneered at him on the dance floor of our graduation night. I couldn’t remember. He elaborated that during the whole time we were dancing, he was checking himself out in the floor-to-ceilings mirrors. Seems I had been miffed at his lack of attention and went on to enquire what he would do if the mirrors weren’t there. He apparently was very embarrassed at having been caught out flirting with his reflection. We were in stitches.

Deciding whether to go to a school reunion is tough, especially if you need to turn up on your own. You may worry that some things, some people, never change, but you may also be surprised. Don’t pass up a chance to see how your old classmates have fared … you just might make some new best friends.

Would you go to a school reunion? If not, why not? Do you miss your old high school classmates? Aren’t you curious what has become of the kids you went to school with?

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Written by Olga Galacho

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