I will admit right away that I have never been to a reunion at Lynnfield High School in suburban Boston. Since I graduated 45 years ago I imagine I've missed several. I should add I have never been invited, but I prefer to think that is because I have never given the folks in charge my various addresses.
My junior and senior high school years in Lynnfield were good ones. I was active in the band, school newspaper, and student council. I was on the track team for one year until I realized that throwing up after every 100 meter sprint was not a lot of fun. But, overall, I had an enjoyable time. I certainly wasn't in the most popular clique of kids at school, but I had lots of friends.
So, do I feel I have missed anything by not going back for a reunion? No. I have not been in touch with anyone from those years in over four decades. I'd be lucky to identify one or two people, much less have any meaningful discussions beyond the "My job was..." and "My family is..."
I know many folks my age have traveled back to their own reunions over the years. When asked, they tell me it was worth the trip. Old friendships were renewed and memories strengthened. Sharing pictures and a bit of bragging were fun. Still, I have never been motivated to go. Besides, isn't that what Facebook is for: having exchanges with old friends without the hassle and expense of travel?
In doing a bit of research for this post, I discovered I am not alone in this question about the relevance of reunions and their place in the age of Skype and Facebook. An article on Boston.com from a month ago gave a plausible reason why attending reunions makes some sense. The author, Farah Stockman, said "Maybe.... we go back to our reunions to see how far we have come." Of course that implies a comparisons of society-defined versions of success and failure: the lawyer or doctor will probably feel he or she has come farther than the unpublished poet or small store owner. But, for someone who was not very popular during those school years, coming back does allow for validation and a boost in self-confidence.
While figures are not terribly reliable, many businesses who organize reunions and all that goes with them have reported a noticeable drop in attendance over the past few years. They speculate social media has been a major player in that decline. Basically, the feeling is why travel to meet someone who you have already established regular contact through Internet options?
Not willing to give up without a fight, one company that sells reunion services has provided a list of 31 reasons why you should attend your reunion. Aimed at folks much younger that us, there may be some valid reasons to you. Another site actually has hints on what to do and not do if you go: How-to-attend-your-high-school-reunion.
Since I have never been to a reunion I'm going to turn this post over to you. I have a few basic questions that I'd love for you to answer:
1. Have you ever been to a high school reunion?
2. Why did you go?
3. How did it turn out?
If you have not gone to a reunion, then:
1. Why not?
2. Do you regret not attending?
Consider this post part of my continuing education. Maybe I will realize I have missed something important in my life. Or, maybe not.