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Dang! I Don't Feel This Old!

High school reunions and classmates change over the years, especially when it has been 40 years since graduation.

Awesome. That's all I've got to say. I attended my 40th high school reunion this past weekend (, Class of 1971). We've held our reunions every ten years. Since I haven't missed one, this was my fourth. And I've got to tell you, they are all different.

It's funny how each reunion has its own personality. It seemed like the first one was more about partying with the old gang. Lot of hookups. There were these two girls (former best friends) who married the same guy. Well, one he HAD already divorced. The lasting memory of that reunion was that a cat fight ensued. A bunch of folks stayed in the Hospitality Room till daylight. Fortunately, I was married at the time and went home somewhat early.

Seemed like at the second, most everyone was raising kids or finishing up their first marriage. Lots of folks were either really impressed with themselves and were caught up in trying to impress their old classmates. Lots of classmates trying to entertain their spouses while reminiscing with old friends. That didn't go over too well with my wife at the time. That was probably the least fun I had at a reunion.

By the time the 30th came around, some folks had already raised their kids and were firmly set on their life course. Most everyone was in the late 40s and didn't really care what anyone else thought. New friendships were made and old ones renewed. It was so funny, though. We had started having monthly get-togethers locally in advance of the reunion so we'd have a chance to recognize a few faces when the time came. I've got to tell you, that was one strange experience! 

Some of the folks you had run around with in school either looked totally different or WERE totally different people. Half the folks had divorced. Several two times. A few even more. Interesting. The thing I remember about the 30th is that it was just so relaxed. Part of that could have been that it was the Saturday after 9/11 and many were either contemplating life's meaning, being grateful for being alive and American or simply refusing to give in to the folks whose mission it was to disturb our way of life. The 30th was my favorite.

This reunion was interesting. Obviously, we're all approaching 60. Dang, I hate even saying that. Most folks who had had kids had grandkids. A couple even had great grandchildren. It IS the South, after all. Many had retired. Several had been downsized and lost much of their savings in the market or the real estate collapse. Some had done fabulously well.

One fellow in particular had had an amazing life having won two world water skiing championships, put on an Olympic exhibition and gone into business with Dolly Parton. Interesting thing was he was one of the most humble guys you'd ever want to meet. I'll take him up on his invitation to let him take me marlin fishing this Winter.

While many looked good for their age, some are really starting to show their age. One friend (a fullback in school) has Parkinson's. Heartbreaking to see how it's slowed him down. I wish I had done as many had asked and taken my portable table and adjusted some of my old friends.

A couple of observations for those of you who might get roped into working on your own reunion.

1) Keep it simple. It's OK to be a little expensive in order to be nice. Just keep it simple. 

2) Go to a resort close enough that some folks could drive to the venue within an hour but far enough away that many would choose to stay overnight. 

3) Use a DJ instead of live music. DJs would be more certain to have your kind of music and cost a lot less. We made the mistake of having a live group (headed by a classmate) perform during dinner. They were offended that people talked and walked around during THEIR performance. They seemed to forget, it was OUR reunion! 

4) Make sure you allow for people to talk and walk. Some will dance. Mostly the girls, though. 

5) Just know there will always be ONE terd in the punch bowl who has to make a fool of himself. Sorry, it is usually a guy. Plan on it and know in advance how you're going to deal with it. 

5) GO. So many people don't go because they don't think they have anything in common with those folks. You'll be amazed at how much you DID and DO have in common. You'll be amazed at how much fun you can have.

In closing, I would just like to thank the folks at the Evergreen Resort at Stone Mountain Park for doing such a fine job with our reunion. It is a great place to hold a meeting or convention. It's also a great place to take the family for an affordable local weekend getaway.

Pam J September 25, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Hi Tim. I graduated from Osborne in 1971 too. I haven't been to any of the reunions, though. I just had a handful of friends in high school and I really had no contact with the "popular" people. Plus, there were a lot of us that year. How many people actually attended?
Tim Langley October 09, 2011 at 04:16 PM
We had about a hundred attend with their spouse or significant other. Thanks for asking.

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