Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reelin' In The Years

School Reunions. Love them...or loathe them?

I can't think of a single emotion that isn't somehow connected with my teenaged self, my current self, and the potential of the two of them to be in conflict. It's not easy for everyone to say "Yeah, can't wait for my school reunion". Inevitably, those who do are encouraged to stop living in the past. School Reunion survivors know that it's not like that.

Well, it wasn't for me.

Last year, I organised my 30 Year School Reunion. It took months, and through that, there were only a few stressful days. I enjoyed it - the organising, and the Reunion. I've never organised a wedding, but I imagine it's similar - venues, guests, budgets, decorations, allergies, rivalries, frocks...

Funny that I was the one doing the organising - I'd refused to attend our 10 Year and 20 Year celebrations. I wasn't ready. Some of my schoolmates aren't ready even now.

But when I was ready, I wanted quite badly to go home again. The sheer horror of high school was behind me at last, and I was ready to celebrate. 

I'm still amazed by how little we'd changed. There has been some widening of bodies, some broadening of perspectives, a definite absence of competition, and 30 years of living. It's that living that fascinates me.

Another surprise was that we didn't fall back into the same cliques; I wasn't a misfit any more. Apparently I never was. My teenaged self has a different view of that, but at least there's no bitterness now. Well, almost no bitterness.

There was one guest who was less delighted with arrangements. There's always one, isn't there? She hated the venue (too up-themselves), hated the food (canap├ęs are stupid), the drinks were too expensive (so she smuggled in a six-pack or two of Bundy & Coke). She thought the event should've been held at the pub half a block away. Guess who never got out of our little town? Guess who has spent every Saturday night for the past thirty years at the same pub? 

Don't forget Mark. Intellectually and socially challenged, Mark hasn't changed. He's still as sweet and earnest and awkward as ever. The one difference seems to be that he's developed a penchant for licking girls' ears. Not endearing, no. Cath and I both experienced moments of that specific irkiness. Take that as a warning.

The rest of us had a great weekend, back in our little home town: a few quiet drinks for a small group on the Friday night, coffee and decorating session the Saturday, followed by a classy do that night. Sunday featured a walking tour through our old school, lead by one of our teachers; the school has doubled in size, but feels so much smaller. We followed that with a family barbecue, complete with kids, dogs and parents. 

That was our Year 10 30th Anniversary Reunion. 

Next Year is our 30th Anniversary Year 12 Reunion. Here we go again. The time-consuming search to locate one hundred people you haven't heard from for thirty years has already been done. Back then, not everyone went to Year 12, so it's a smaller group; less than thirty.

Now we just need a date, a venue, a budget, and someone to co-ordinate it all. Oh...that'll be me. 

Some of the ladies are talking about a Reunion Cruise , but I've never liked the idea of being stuck on a boat with thousands of p*ssed idiots. I prefer the promise of a few days at a resort. Same sort of thing, but with more escape routes, more room, more escape routes, more options...more escape routes. 

I'm a believer now, a true fan of school reunions, but with one condition: if you aren't sincerely ready to face your high school memories and then leave them behind, don't go. No-one needs to relive high school, but there's a real joy in visiting old friends.

Steely Dan - Reelin' In The Years by manon42


  1. Ahhh Sal we had an amazing time. For me the rekindling of old friendships has been the stand out. 30 years of life has changed us all and yet not changed us at all.... the perception we have of ourselves as teenagers are often so different to those who surround us. We were so lucky to have lived in Wingham....to experience that home town closeness and so lucky to have the opportunity to move away and gather the jewels of life, the realisations of who we are and where we belong. We are also very fortunate to have lived in the time of social media, to be able to reconnect with each other and to reach out when we need support. The class of 1981/83 hold a very special place in my heart. I believe I owe you a vote of thanks for being the key to that reunion and am soooo looking forward to the next one....bring it on don't care where don't care when just know I am gonna be there!!

  2. I am proud to say I am one of the 30 that was in your Yr 12. I cant believe you thought you were a "misfit". I Sal thought you were one of the most intelligent people for all of your 17-18 years of age. You were ahead of your time is what I honestly thought. I, like Meryl, have the fondest and strongest memories of WHS and am so glad that I was privileged enough to do my senior years of high school with such great people.

  3. Short but sweet. Ditto to what Meryl and Marney said, bring it on Sal, I'm desperately looking for an outfit already :) Mandy