Surprise! Class reunions can actually be fun

April 24, 2012

We could call it a rite of passage. Definitely it’s an end of the spring, beginning of the summer classic. We are talking about the dreaded class reunion.

Okay, I know when you think of class reunions, you envision a sea of bald heads, powder-blue leisure suits and perms so tight not even an acetylene blow torch could penetrate the outer layer.

By the way, a lot of women at this event are still wearing that Mamie Eisenhower look, with that traditional row of upturned, flipped-out bangs that scream, “I haven’t been to a real hairdresser since the last time I was in this building.”

But these class reunions can be a lot of fun, what with all the catching up and memories you have to look forward to rehashing. Of course, it will be with complete strangers, because no one stays the same.

In fact, the last class reunion I attended, I wasn’t even sure I went to that high school, but what the heck, the flier came in the mail and it sounded familiar, so I thought I would check it out.

I love the sign-in table where you get those name tags and they put your class picture on it so everyone will be able to identify classmates based on the last time you saw each other.

I think this is amazing since I can barely identify my own car in a parking lot and most of my day is spent looking for a pair of glasses that are perched atop my head.

But anyway, to say that your class has been busy is an understatement. Many of those attending will have married, remarried and unmarried a few hundred times over. Faces will have shrunk, grown, been altered, been put through wind tunnels and turned inside out, then put back together so tight that an earlobe ends up under their nose, but only when they attempt to smile.

Usually there is a cocktail hour first. And I mean hard liquor. People are just throwing back any form of alcohol they can get their hands on, in a glass, no ice, nothing.

The last time I saw one of my classmates, Bobby Jones, we were exchanging graham crackers and cartons of milk. Now it’s scotch on the rocks. Where did the time go?

Yeah, you can expect to see a few trophy wives too. I sat next to one at the dinner table and listened intently as she explained all the diamonds on the bracelet her new husband gave her for her birthday. I remembered him well; he had all the personality of an industrial vacuum cleaner back then and I couldn’t see any change now. Lots of luck with that, I told her.

We laughed, at least for a while, until I realized I had been married more than 45 years, and the last birthday present my husband gave me was a wicker chair. At least I think it was real.

But the real shocker at these class reunions is the midlife crisis guy. You all remember the class president, then he was college valedictorian, then he made law review, and then he joined a prestigious law firm. We all followed his career. And then one day he awoke and realized he really wanted to open an herb farm.

That’s what he always wanted to do. So today he sells herbs and worms in a rural area of New Hampshire.

The guy who took his place at the law firm was the head of a motorcycle gang I used to date, someone my father was sure would lead me straight to hell. He woke up one day and realized he always wanted to really stick it to people; today he’s bringing in six figures.

The great thing I concluded is that high school reunions can be interesting and still fun, especially if it’s not the school you attended, which I found out later, but really it didn’t matter. They are all the same. Just saying you might want to try it out.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.