by Anne Rodgers, West Palm Beach, Fla [Reprint AARP magazine March, 2012]
AARP Magazine or Join AARP
Some people faithfully attend school reunions. Others scoff and wonder if it isn’t a bit crazy to fly halfway across
the country to see folks who, except for maybe three or four, are not acquainted with who you are now and certainly
don’t care. So why go?
My high school experience is best summed up as awkward and interminable. Though adulthood has shown me to be a
clear-cut extrovert, I was unable to access that quality amid the agony of self-consciousness that drowned me in high
So — once a decade — reunions have become that rare opportunity for a do-over. I can mingle with people I was once
too shy to speak to, be friendly, be the person I wanted to be in high school. It’s a chance to spruce up outdated
recollections steeped in angst-filled teenage introspection and self-absorption. Rewriting history this way has become
a big lure of reunions. But it didn’t start out that way.
Because I have not lived in my hometown since I left for college, I went to my 10th high school reunion out of
curiosity. I was depressed and a bit horrified to find many classmates still clinging to their outdated cliques:
Cheerleaders were still with cheerleaders. Same with the band kids and athletes. I went to my 20 out of perversity, I
suppose, with low expectations — and was delighted to discover my fellow grads had come to see that what bound us
together was much more important than those small differences that separated us in high school. It was a fun night.
My recent 40th reunion included a tour of the old neighborhood by my best friend from grade school. I was shocked to
see that the lawn space between his house and the next-door neighbor’s was tiny, 4 ot 5 feet. I remember flying kites
from that spot and learning to twirl a baton there, in what I’d recalled as a vast expanse. How could all those
bright memories fit into such a small space?
At our high school, where my friend and I were part of the third graduating class, I teared up as we pulled into the
parking lot. “Just think, 40 years ago this was brand-new,” he said. And so were we, I thought. We were embarking
on complicated lives we could in no way predcict. In that moment, the passage of 40 years was an exceedingly difficult
concept to absorb.
But those experiences are why I’m willing to make the long journey home. What a gift it is to come face-to-face with
the tangible reminders of youth, which rekindle those priceless memories.
Please post the following information [if you have it — [if not post what you have and come back later to update
it as information becomes available.]
Title of Notice MUST include your School and Class Year.
Name of Event School/Event Class/Classes Date of Event Time of Event Location of
Event/Events Do/Do not need to pre-register Date of deadline to pre-register Cost Description of
Event Contact Information [name/names, email address, and/or phone number] Url of your Reunion Website, if
any Do/Do not Need Volunteers for the Reunion/Event