Open Thread

Open Thread Update: Class Reunion

Last time I shared some thoughts about my 50th high school reunion; it was wonderful to see some comments from my classmates.

Virge (aka Ginny) you captured the experience so well that I’m smiling all over again! The reconnecting was soul soothing and had me reflecting on who I was and how far we’ve all come since then… 

-Fredi B.

It was especially nice to read comments and thoughts about other’s high school reunions. Some were wonderful

…Sat at a table with women I’d gone to school with from kindergarten through high school. Renewed connections that continue to this day…

-Kate W.

Others less so….

I went to my boyfriend’s 50th class reunion with him. We both got Covid.

-Marian

There’s a beautiful comment from reader James H. about how different and welcoming the world is now from the 70’s.   I won’t digest here but you should read it, and I hope he reports back to us how it went.

I hope he follows Cleta B’s good advice “..just go, you won’t regret it.”

I think reader CLT summed it up pretty well…

…Got there and everyone was lovely, and as a bonus I realised the path I’d taken was actually the right one for me. Now with the 50th coming up I think we’re all beyond feeling inadequate and just pleased to still be alive!

CLT

We’ll keep comments open for a while so feel free to add your recollections and experiences. Below is the original post:

CLASS REUNION

I went to my 50th high school reunion recently.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Had a great time.

I felt like the “It Girl.” Apparently my zany reputation started back then; I was the only one who remembered the pep squad song and I wasn’t even a member – and I went to only one basketball game! There’s video of me singing it in the restaurant for them floating around the web now.  OMG.

Down Memory Lane

It was a very moving experience. I last saw some of these women 50 years ago: Melinda, still cute as a button; Rita with the 1500 watt smile; Joanne AKA Bubbles, still effervescent; Lucretia, sassy as ever, and Anita, who every day had a new story in the locker room about the guy she had a crush on or the concert she went to.  I reminded her of a few of those things and she started crying because I remembered (how could I not? I thought she was a rock star!).

I felt ‘seen’ in a way I haven’t for some time. 

And I knew exactly how Anita felt. I felt ‘seen’ in a way I haven’t for some time.  It’s powerful to renew acquaintance like that; like slipping into a pair of comfortable penny loafers (ahhhhh) after fifty years of wearing high heels.

Bumps on Memory Lane

The funny part is there were events and activities my classmates did that they didn’t remember. just as there were things I did but don’t recall – but my classmates do. And I hope they keep some of ’em on the down low!

I’m happier trying to remember who sang what at the Talent Show.

Memory is a strange and powerful force – what it loses and what it keeps is so random. I think it’s better than keeping events recorded on a video camera.  What am I saving the brain space for – some depressing new fact about the world? I’m happier trying to remember who sang what at the Talent Show.

Reconnecting

It was wonderful to see each other and just pick up where we left off (some of us) in 1972.Of course, we couldn’t know in 1972 how life would treat us even as we tried to shape our destinies: the struggles to balance family and career, the miscarriages, the houses bought, or sold, grandbabies or premature widowhoods, the upswings and reversals.  Many of my classmates are caretakers for aging parents, or for spouses who are sick or facing dementia – but they bear it with good grace and admirable composure.

I’m proud of my classmates and the amazing, warm and accomplished women they became.

I’m proud of my classmates and the amazing, warm and accomplished women they became. I’m also so touched by the number of classmates who told me they heard I was doing “really well” – thank you Lorraine! – and who were clearly proud and happy that I made writing my career. (Starting, of course, with editing the high school newspaper – we even had a gossip column called ‘Smattering Scatterings”).

One gal – name of Anne – told me she googled me, read all my works online, and said she was glad I was writing, because I was really good at it, even back then.

For fifty years I occasionally remembered how Anne got the medal I really wanted – for English.  Yesterday she said she was happy that I was still writing because I was good at it.

That was way better than any medal.

Thank you to Estrella, Gloria, Terri Ann and Rita, for making it happen and big hugs to all my classmates. I love you all!

 

Anyone have any high school reunion stories to share? Let us know in the comments!!

 

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to editor@seniorplanet.org.

 

 

COMMENTS

14 responses to “Open Thread Update: Class Reunion

  1. Mine was great. Reconnected with my old boy friend. We worked together on the school newspaper and now we are both authors. But now I’m gay. (Almost everyone knew that already.) Sat at a table with women I’d gone to school with from kindergarten through high school. Renewed connections that continue to this day. A small group of us meet every summer at the Jersey Shore. Felt sad when I looked at the photo of classmates who had died. Overall, it was a fantastic experience.

  2. Mine is later this year. I went to a 20th and 40th one, and now the 50th. I dreaded going to the first one as I was never very happy at school and thought everyone hated me. Also felt a failure because I hadn’t followed a conventional path. Got there and everyone was lovely, and as a bonus I realised the path I’d taken was actually the right one for me. Now with the 50th coming up I think we’re all beyond feeling inadequate and just pleased to still be alive!

    1. Good for you! Thanks for sharing!! High school is such an odd time, isn’t it? On the cusp of destiny…knowing that there are lifelong habits and decisions being formed but your biggest problem is sometimes deciding which of the Monkees is the cutest…for me, anyway. Woolcap Nesmith FTW, Peter Tork for runner up!

  3. My 50th is in Sept. and, sadly, I don’t intend to go for fear of Covid and crowds. I haven’t been anywhere where there is a large group of people. My fear is too great.
    I’ve been to other reunions so this wouldnt have been my first.
    People saying things like, “Don’t worry! You’ll be fine! really don’t help. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to go in a restaurant, on a plane or a cruise ship again.

  4. Virge (aka Ginny) you captured the experience so well that I’m smiling all over again! The reconnecting was soul soothing and had me reflecting on who I was and how far we’ve all come since then. At the time I really had no idea about the “real” world but our little microcosm at Holy Cross was a wonderful introduction. I discovered different kinds of people, different outlooks on ideas and new friends. The reunion reminded me how formative those years were and just how grateful I am.

  5. I wasn’t going to go to mine, but a classmate reminded me that I promised her two years ago that I would go. This will be my first one. Being a gay male, there were a lot of fears. Another classmate, a lesbian whom I’ve been corresponding with for quite a while told me the last one was great and that I would be surprised to how my classmates would react. Not the 70’s anymore! I’m looking forward to attending in October and reconnecting with old friends…and not having to hide my true self.

    1. Hi James. Do Go! I think you’ll find that no one cares; they’ll just be glad to see You. There will always be the gossips, but guess what, others will probably be wondering why they haven’t changed in 50 years. After our 20th, my class began having them every five years and there were some whose first attendance was the 50th and they wondered why they hadn’t come before. Trust me, most of the women got fat and most of the men got bald. So just go – you won’t regret it.

  6. Virge,
    Thanks for this story, which — no surprise — is wonderfully written. You’ve provided us with more pleasant memories with your words. It was such a wonderful reunion, so much so that for the weekend, it didn’t seem like we were celebrating our golden anniversary but still in that historical red building in Times Square talking and laughing and perhaps waiting for our next class to begin. Thanks for your personal reminiscences, Virge! You’re quite a treat!

    1. right back at you, Terri. It was awesome! Talk to you soon! xoxo
      v/
      PS I should mention for the unaware that our high school – a Catholic girls High School – was located in Times Square of all places. By 1972 the neighborhood was a real trip. The school was built in 1847 when Broadway near 42nd street was a dirt road. It was sold by the diocese and we were the last high school class. so our meeting was especially poignant. There’s a high rise on the spot now with a Rite Aid on the street level…

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