Monday, July 25, 2011

The Reunion

Although it happened almost a month ago, I neglected to write about my 19th class reunion that we held. Looking back, it is not surprising that I didn't write about it since it wasn't terribly exciting, earth shattering, etc., but of course it wasn't well planned out either which is just par for the course.

You see, I graduated in a class with seven other students and one foreign exchange student who didn't get a diploma and was destined for two more years of school when she got back home. We were a small class and when you only get a really good planner once out of every fifty or so people, our chances were small that we would have a planner in our class. We didn't and that is no surprise. But fate is cruel and the foreign exchange student tracked me down of all our class and played the it-would-be-easier-than-me-since-I-live-over-seas card if you gathered up the class and we held an impromptu reunion while I am back in the States for two weeks.

Although I thought the first part would be hard, it was actually pretty easy to track down all the students. Within an hour spent over two or three nights, I had tracked down five of my classmates. Of the two whom I couldn't find, I had the home phone number of one but evidently caller ID and a dislike of reunions kept her from responding. I later found out that one of our other classmates had contacted her and she said she wasn't interested. The other one I couldn't find I absolutely couldn't find them. Her parents and brothers didn't know where she was other than a blue house possibly in the town I live in. Not much to go on. But I found out that she too had been contacted and declined to come. Neither were surprising as both graduated at the bottom of our class and literally dropped out of society at that point. They probably didn't have much to show for the past nineteen years, not that it mattered, and decided they would perhaps catch us on our 38th reunion.

Like I said, we didn't have a planner so after contacting those I could reach, I solicited ideas for what we wanted to do for our reunion. All I got were cyber space crickets chirping back at me. I tried again with the same result and just dropped in until a few weeks before the agreed upon date. I tried again this time posting three broad general options and still heard nothing. So in the end, I took matters into my own hands. Since it was being held on a holiday weekend, the Saturday before July 4th, I decided to try for a lunch time reunion guessing people might be busy in the evening. Not knowing how many would show and knowing reserving for the maximum number of classmates, spouses and children would be near impossible at most of the restaurants in the area, I finally decided on one back in the town where we went to elementary school which is the only restaurant in the town, has a large seating area and few people ever eat there for lunch on a Saturday. Not a lot of effort went into my planning but I did call just to give them a heads up. Like I said, none of us were planners.

But five former classmates all sounded pumped to show so when only two of them actually showed, nearly 38% or 44% if you count the foreign exchange student, it was a bit disappointing. The three that didn't show, were all ones that I have briefly bumped into over the last five years along with one of the ones that did show. The other that showed was one that I hadn't seen since graduation day. Most disappointing, two that didn't show were the ones whom I shared most of my high school classes with since they too were interested in college after high school. But they had good excuses, one had to work and the other had a birthday party for their daughter.

The one student that I had run into a few years ago at his father's funeral (ironically I also saw two other classmates at the funeral), they were a neighbor to our farm too, was the same as always. He was never too ambitious in life and just wanted to farm his parent's farm. He never cared about learning which is perhaps one of the reasons he is on the states sex offender list for sleeping with an underage girl whose parents lawyered up upon finding out. Back in high school I could always make him laugh with any kind of low brow joke and that hadn't changed. But I did find it difficult to talk with him because after all these years, that is about all we had in common other than he is still a neighbor to my parents and farms. The other classmate was one of those whom I never really knew in high school. She was quiet and kept to herself and though not at the top of the class, was probably in the top half grade wise. She turned out to be the one whom I found myself mostly talking too because we had the most in common. We both had one daughter only one year apart in age and she was an RN and my wife is a doctor so we could talk a lot about the medical profession. She was also just easy to talk to on most subjects because unlike the male classmate, she was up to date on current events and knew a little about a lot, just like me. My wife and I and she and her husband got along great during our reunion. The foreign exchange student was also easier to talk too though at times I felt like I was grasping. We shared a year together in high school but I had shared almost a dozen with the other two. Plus, her husband and kids I don't think spoke much English which acted kind of like an anchor in conversing past them. Still, it was nice to see her again.

We ate lunch and chatted for a couple hours and then we all made our excused and left. Of course we all said we should do this every year when the foreign exchange student is in the States visiting her host parents but in reality, I think we all know that it probably won't happen before our 38th reunion, if again.


Bone said...

That is the smallest class I've ever heard of. We had one school around here that I think usually had 12-15 per class. But it got consolidated a couple of years ago.

I guess at least with that few people showing up, you don't have to worry about cliques forming :)

R. Sherman said...

It's too bad when people commit to something and then don't follow through. At least the two who originally refused to contact you indicated an unwillingness to come. That's better than saying you'll show up and then don't. I think people just don't have the guts to say "no" when that's what they're thinking.


Vince said...

If there isn't a continuity of contact over the years this kind of thing is a fr$%£&^% nightmare. Doubly so for women.

Ed said...

Bone - All through school there were always merger rumors though it never happened until three or four classes after I graduated. Now both my elementary and high schools are torn down and the land owned ironically by a coworker of mine.

R. Sherman - Yeah, I've seen that happen a lot. I usually at least make up a reason why I can't attend something.

Vince - Perhaps that is why most of the people who didn't show were the females. In my class we had 3 boys and 6 girls (counting the foreign exchange student) and two of those boys were fraternal twins.

Murf said...

Thankfully, my 20th reunion coincided with the increased popularity of Facebook so I could happily read all the issues as two people attempted to plan something - one a more laidback, economically friendly gathering at a bar and another at a hotel banquet room with the mandatory bad food and pantyhouse and not to mention the fact that potential racism was bandied about. I think my copy and pasting jobs from that time still appear in my spring/summer entries of 2009 here. Great times (although I lasted all of about an hour before leaving and heading home)!

Jeff said...

I missed my reunion last summer--it was a few more than 19 years--I was hoping to go this time (I haven't been to one since my 10 year reunion) but I had a son getting married on the other end of the country... I still can't believe your class size!

Ed said...

Murf - You don't know how many times your experiences flashed through my mind as I was planning this reunion.

Jeff - You aren't the only one. I've never met anyone who wasn't surprised at the small number. I once had a college enrollment person tell me to go back home and save myself the trouble of trying to make it in college when he found out that I only had eight students in my class. Needless to say, we didn't get along after that and I stayed to prove him wrong.