Attending That High School Reunion – Guest Post by, John Maberry…

What with social media, why would anyone go to a high school reunion? Especially a 50th one! Well, there’s the web and then there’s face to face, rather than Facebook. The latter is OK for casual updates; in person is real. In the end, I went.

Nearly everyone encouraged me to go. I remained ambivalent. I had positive memories of a hip and inspiring English teacher. I learned to write up lab reports creatively in an advanced physics class. The reports confirmed expected outcomes, despite the experiments failing to do so. That came in handy later in college and for doing budget submissions at work.

Then there were the negatives. I had few friends and didn’t get to know many people well. Teenagers can be cruel, as we all know. But it’s been 50 years. I have grown; the tormenters will have aged and undoubtedly mellowed, I thought. I attended the school only my senior year, living with a brother and his family that took me in after my mother passed away during my sophomore year. We moved from Midland, Michigan to suburban New Jersey so he could commute to a Manhattan office. I didn’t like the move but had no choice in the matter.

In the end, I chose to attend the reunion. How had they all changed? What could they offer me? What could I offer them? Would we inspire, amuse, entertain or confound one another? Which would it be, in the words of Bokonon (from Cat’s Cradle), a granfalloon or a true karass? I assumed the former, but went anyway. To my surprise, it seemed more the latter. Forty or so people showed up, including some spouses that didn’t attend the school. A fair turnout 50 years later. Why did it seem so worthwhile?

The school had a mix of locals and outsiders. Rural kids from the area. Children of NYC commuters. Many who grew up there remain. Most who went to college elsewhere, moved on. Some retired to Florida, only a few, like me, moved far west. They were scarce at the event. I came from New Mexico, others from Colorado and the like.

Everyone was friendly and open. Some humorously recounted their misbehavior fifty years before. Despite the long ago escapades, most had achieved some success in life. Those who planned and executed the event did well, with few mishaps. We went on a pontoon boat tour along the Intracoastal Waterway, past the homes of some rich and famous who have winter homes in Jupiter Beach. Here’s a photo of a few of us older folks on the boat. I’m in the center, before my successful diet of 2017.

Try as I might, I couldn’t recall who among them had troubled me back then. They might have been attendees or not. As could be expected, time smoothed out the wrinkles of life and added them to faces. I had the opportunity to share my book, Waiting for Westmoreland, with a few and told others how writing had become my retirement avocation. In a weekend, I learned more of the people than I had in a year so long ago. I am glad that I did. We had laughs, good conversation and more. I had few friends then; I have more now.

John Maberry’s Writing

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14 thoughts on “Attending That High School Reunion – Guest Post by, John Maberry…

  1. John, I am going to my 50th high school reunion in about a week. It is in rural Springfield, Illinois. Like you, I have moved on in life. I look forward to sharing my life experiences with previous high school acquaintances. I can only imagine how everyone has changed. Most of my class mates “never” left their home town. I, however, enjoyed life as a traveling military wife, mother, R.N, educator, blogger and finally an author. It may be very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The only reason I even knew of this one was that an energetic co-organizer went searching through social media–including LinkeIn, where he found someone that might have been a classmate. We too had a small class; only 126 people. If I had known of prior year reunions (there were a number of them) I never would have attended even when I was within 500 miles of them. I didn’t sell any books; I gave four away. I’m hoping for sales down the pike. 🙂

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  3. I’ve attended a few. My tenth, my twenty-fifth and my first fiftieth. The educational establishment offered me an opportunity to take grade twelve twice so I was richly rewarded with a second fiftieth. (Almost made that one.) The tenth was the most interesting. I was with a somewhat younger girlfriend and the class voted me the most changed. Always an honour. The twenty-fifth was the most enduring in that I connected with a long lost friend and we still correspond. The fiftieth…perhaps I was worn down by memories. The list in the hotel corridor that itemized many of those who had departed this mortal coil was a stark reminder that I wouldn’t, likely , be attending my seventy-fifth. Mores the pity. John, I did enjoy your post. Thanks.

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  4. High school reunions can be challenging! I’m lucky because my class was small and we’ve reuned every 5 years for the 50 plus (the 50th was a blast!). We enjoy each others company, and I thank them for being so generous in buying my books!

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