More Bits & Pieces

What I Learned from My 30th High School Reunion

-Terrie Schultz

Well, let me just start off by saying I was not popular in high school. I didn't really fit into any of the cliques. I was too straight for the Stoners, not quite bright enough for the Brains, not quite athletic enough for the Jocks, and definitely not cheerleader material. I did have a handful of friends, but I spent a lot of time hanging out by myself in the vicinity of the library.
I had gone to the fifth year reunion, which was a painful déjà vu of an unsuccessful high school dance. No one had changed; the cliques were as virulent as ever. This didn't encourage me. I ignored all of the subsequent reunions, until the day a postcard arrived in my mailbox announcing the thirtieth.
At first I was horrified, then intrigued. Had enough time passed for all of the petty adolescent foolishness to be history? Was it possible that the Jocks, Stoners and Cheerleaders had all degenerated into a sort of middle-aged homogeneity? Would I actually not feel like a total outcast? 
I waffled about going, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take the plunge. I forced my husband to accompany me as a human shield. I didn't want to suffer the humiliation of standing in a corner by myself. My husband was safe; he had gone to a high school in a state 2,000 miles away. He didn't have to worry about anybody sniggering at him from behind their plastic cocktail glass. And admittedly, I didn't mind having everyone see the tall, blue-eyed hunk I had married. 
So we went. Smiling people came up and talked to me. Better still, people greeted me who would have never given me the time of day when we were in high school. I was relieved and actually started enjoying myself. 
But the real reason I'm glad I went was because of one person I saw there, and what it taught me.
He was a boy that I had gone through elementary school with, but I don't even remember seeing him in high school. I may be forgiven for this, since my high school was fairly large; there were over 600 students in my graduating class. But this particular kid wasn't someone anyone paid attention to anyway. In grade school, I don't think he had any friends. He didn't exactly get picked on, but for the most part, he was simply invisible. The situation wasn't much different at the high school reunion. He seemed to be alone there, too. I recognized him and went up to say hello. What he said to me just blew me away. 
He said, "I remember how you used to help me with my schoolwork when we were in fifth grade." I was stunned. I didn't remember helping him. I didn't even remember ever speaking to him. And yet, here it was, not just thirty but thirty-seven years later, and he still remembered that I had helped him, and how he had appreciated it. This, I think, is a small miracle. 
The lesson I learned from this is that our actions live on in ways we can never imagine. Before we act or speak, maybe we should stop and think: is this how I want to be remembered?


Chew on this - if you're struggling with the idea of attending the Reunion, this article is for you. Apparently the internal debate is universal.  I know I've had some of the same thoughts.  If I wait until I'm rich enough/thin enough/successful enough, you guys will never see me again! 

Read on and talk to your friends.  It would behoove us all to realize that our classmates don't care about what we look like, the size of our checkbook, or how fast we've climbed the corporate ladder.  

For a few hours, at least, we can all be 18 again!  Well, 18 with a few gray strings, anyways...
"Swallow your pride and reunite"
Not that we look old enough for this, but high school reunion season has rolled around,

There are a surprising number of fifty-somethings who insist on missing this incredible chance to face - and laugh at - the past.

Why? This is what we're hearing, and why we think they should change their minds.
The Top 10 list of excuses for avoiding the reunion..(the real reasons)
I am not rich yet. Or, my job is not high-powered enough. When will you be successful enough to face everyone? In 2016, at our 40th reunion? Please don't wait that long, life is too short to miss a chance to connect. Check your ego, and show up anyway.  Besides, it’s later than we think!

I'm 52 and haven't yet married, had kids, bought a house, written a book, sold my screenplay . .   (fill in your favorite personal disappointment here).  You have been doing something during these past 35 years. Come and tell everyone about it.

I'm too fat/going bald/have an embarrassing skin condition.
 You aren't alone. Not a good excuse. Pull on your Spanx, comb it over, slather on the Eucerin, and forget about it for the night.

I hated everyone from high school.  Everyone? Not one single person you can remember with fondness? Check your e-mail contacts list, I bet there is at least one faithful high sc
hool pal there. Message them and see if they are going. Ask if they would like to see you there.
Everyone from high school hated me. Or, I haven't been in touch in 35 years, so if they didn't hate me then, they hate me now.  And ignoring this problem will make it go away? Time to make amends. Show up at your reunion, make peace, and enjoy a special bonus - you won't spend the next 10 years being hated.

I can't remember anyone's name.
  That's why God invented name tags.

I'm afraid to see the one who broke my heart/whose heart I broke. Or, I'm afraid I won't see them.
  Suck it up, they probably don't remember you anyway.

I don't want my spouse to know what a loser I was in high school.
 They already know. They love you anyway.
I hate '70s music. I refuse to go anywhere where I might be trapped in a room listening to "Hotel California”  Our reunion committee has given you an opportunity to tell us what YOU want to hear.

I can't go because I (or someone very close to me) is having a baby, living more than 3,000 miles away, just declared bankruptcy..
.OK, in those very special cases, you get a free get-out-of-reunion card, and we wish you well.

But seriously folks, there is something to celebrate about where we came from and how far we've come, even if some of you are afraid it's not far enough.  We hope to see you at our 35th year high school reunion because "ONCE A Blue Devil, ALWAYS a Blue Devil" and our reunion won't be the same without you there!   See you there.


If you are NOT coming to the reunion, you need a good excuse and a note from your probation officer or whoever else keeps you out of trouble. The following reasons have been tried and are UNacceptable.

Excuse #1: I've gained a lot of weight!  Look around!! I doubt any of us could get back into our jeans from high school any more.

Excuse #2:  I'm a different person than I was in high school.  Lucky for you, we ALL are.  Let's face it; we could only have improved.

Excuse #3:   I don't look as good as I'd like. I (choose one or more) am bald, have wrinkles, saddlebags, grey hair and no one will recognize meYou won't recognize anyone else, either. Using the reunion committee as a representative sample, our whole class looks like a "before" photo in a plastic surgery ad.

Excuse #4: I'm not successful. I'm not (choose one or more) a lawyer, a doctor or rich.

You'll be pleasantly surprised to find how much everyone has matured. We may be plump and gray (see Excuse #3, above) but we're not stupid. Money is not success. Please note that any doctors in the class are very welcome. Any lawyers will need to ask for special permission to attend.

Excuse #5: I was not in a popular clique in school. Now that we're older and smarter, those cliques have dissolved just like the superficialities they were based on. The only cliques you'll notice at the reunion will be the sound of your joints as you walk around.

 Just Come!!!