Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The school reunion I just returned from was held for anyone who ever graduated from the school, which was open from 1941 through 1989. There could have been thousands of people attending, but the pre-registered number was about 1500. I opted to attend on Friday evening only; passing up the dinner dance on Saturday night so I could spend that time with my hostess, a long-time friend. On Friday, only 7 of the people from my class showed up, while 33 had registered for the events. This was out of a total of 447 grads in my year (1958). Our regular reunion is coming up in 2008 - the 50th - and we are hoping to have record attendance.

Some Suggestions on How to Run a School Reunion:
A. For the planners:

1. Print name tags large enough that older people can read them. Do not put women's maiden names in quotes, as if they were nicknames. The proper format is First Name - Maiden name -- Married name.

2. Do not hire a band, no matter how good they are, for the first night of the reunion. People cannot talk and get reacquainted over loud music. This is especially true when the reception is held in a cavernous room with very high ceilings, where the acoustics are horrendous.

3. Mark tables by specific years, not decades. When you have 15+ tables per decade, it can take a long time to find your crowd (when you cannot read their name tags without peering at them through squinting eyes from one foot away). This is very true when you haven't seen some of them for years.



1. Take your camera! (Sadly, I forgot mine in a friend's car, but I got it back.)

2. Wear comfortable shoes, unless, of course, you are trying to impress your classmates. There is no call to wear strapless dresses and strappy high-heel slides, especially if you are 60+ years old and have skin that is wrinkled like parchment with age spots and varicose veins everywhere. Have some compassion and cover up. If your arms resemble the Pillsbury Dough Boy, wear long sleeves. If you haven't treated your feet to a recent pedicure - don't show them to us, please!

3. How many times does it have to be said? Men should not wear hats indoors! If you are bald......deal with it. You are not fooling anyone. Granted, there were only three hats in a room of a thousand people, but they stood out like a sore thumb! Two of them were baseball caps and one was a suede gaucho's hat, complete with leather chin strap. What the heck? Did this 1943 grad just ride in from the pampas in Argentina? I rather doubt it.

I don't want to be too snarky. I know how much work and dedication it takes to mount an event of this magnitude, especially when you are trying to do it on a shoestring. My advice is to ask questions of everyone who has ever attended a reunion before you begin planning and to provide event critique sheets for mailing in later or dropping into a box at the site.

Despite how it sounds, I had a nice time. I did enjoy seeing the few people I knew and watching the ones I didn't.

What has your experience been at reunions? Do you attend? If so, what have you noticed that should have been done differently?


ET said...

I am almost elgible for Medicare and have never attended a High School Reunion, but I am considering a mini-unofficial high shcool reunion up the mountains to hear an old time class-mate friend in concert.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I think I might blog about the ONE reunion I went to sometime...but I think ALL the points you mentioned were well taken...The BAND one in particular, and frankly, if there is only one night of a reunion...I would opt for no band at all! Maybe a...just M-A-Y-B-E a teio..but NOT Amplified, please!!!
Otherwise...what's the point...I mean Everyone has danced five million times, what they haven't done is catch up with people they may not have seen for 40 years!
Glad you had a good time Judy...!

Sue said...

Hi Judy,
I think I may have commented once before, but I do stop in from time to time to read you :-)
We have our 40th reunion coming up next month, so this post was of interest to me. Our class was close to 500, so it will be interesting to see how many attend...

Jamie Dawn said...

I attended my ten year reunion, and I missed out on my twenty year. Our ten year reunion was held at a local waterslide park. Classmates brought their spouses and families. It was great fun.
My thirty year reunion will be in 2011. We have an alumni website where people can post photos and give info about themselves. I check it sometimes to see if some of my classmates have posted.
Your suggestions are good ones. Good planning makes for a much more enjoyable event.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Biggest mistake from my high school reunion: It cost $100 a person (not per couple) and it was a CASH BAR! I'm sorry, but for $100, I deserve a couple of drink tickets at least.

So I went, but I crashed (i.e., went in without a ticket).

Jennifer said...

I read all about the reunion in the papers there this weekend. Even had a few people at the funeral who were attending the various events. Three of my cousins went to school there, too; am anxious to get their take on the big doins.

Our 25th is supposed to be in July. But only 11 people signed up by the deadline, so the committee cancelled all the formal events. Shocking, really. At our 20th, we had a stellar turnout.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Well, I wouldn't have had as many frogs.

Or was that yesterday's post?

My reunions were lovely. But we have quit having them because we are all so old and in the way.

Wordnerd said...

Welcome back! Glad you had a wonderful time. And great suggestions!

Tracie said...

I have never done the reunion thing (of course I didn't really go to high school, so that might contribute to it...) but my husband has one coming up soon and we might go to it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You asked what I would call that picture...."ME" If you look closely in the bottom left hand side you can see a person (easier in person than in the photo of course) and there are some other images hidden as well over and under layers. It is the first itme I have ever been artsy and liked the outcome-it really expresses a lot about my life in a lot of ways.

WordWhiz said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! I have a good reunion story. I'll make it a post because I've had absolutely nothing to say lately! Thanks!!

And I'm glad you had fun. You're suggestions were great!

Mamacita said...

I went to a class reunion once, but it wasn't much fun. My class wasn't friendly; they were mostly creeps and drunks and they hadn't changed. I walked in and immediately became shy and scared and uncertain, just like I was back in high school. We ate and ran away. Too bad I couldn't have run away back in high school! I'm glad you had fun at yours, though.

I'm here from Michele's tonight.

Raehan said...

You are never snarky, but spirited. I love your tips.

srp said...

I don't go to reunions, except family ones. In fact I think I posted about this topic last year.

My folks on the other hand, have gone to several of their college reunions. Mom's 55th is this week in fact and she has been moaning about not being able to go. I'm sorry but a 30 hour drive to Illinois for one anniversary and an 11 hour drive the next weekend for another church anniversary is all I can take. The trip to Wilmore, Kentucky would be another 20 hour fling. They went to Dad's 50th one year and then her 50th the next.

I must say that the people in their class keep in close touch by phone and e-mail. She talks to her first college roommate who lives near here every week. We stopped to eat breakfast with another close friend on the way to Illinois.

Merle said...

Hi Judy ~ Great to see you back with us,
and I am glad you enjoyed the reunion.
Your tips sound quite helpful also. I
have only been to family reunions, and am starting to think about organising another one. Take care Judy, and welcome home. Merle.

Laura said...

I don't go to mine, as the school was mostly Cuban and the ones I miss, i'm friends with now and see them several times a year. There are only a handful that I might enjoy seeing, but not enough to go to a hispanic reunion. I much prefer family reunions instead!

Your suggestions sound great.. why not post them on Classmates.com? I wonder if they have a "reunion tips" link for organizers.

Weary Hag said...

I never attended reunions because I went to three different high schools inside of two years then quit. Having "left" each school, I never felt I really deserved to go to a reunion - although friends have invited me through the years.

I did, however, attend Ed's Coast Guard Academy reunion and it was fantastic! Even though I (personally) didn't know a soul, I felt as though I belonged there. It was done very nicely, a couple of more subdued evenings then a dance blast on one night.

I agree with you about the band. A nice jazz trio or quartet (unplugged) would have been far more appropriate and easier on the ears.

Great suggestions and welcome home!

Beverly said...

I love this. I'm going to send it to the chairman of our reunion. Our 50th is 2009. I thought only old people graduated from high school that long ago...

bonnie said...

You are too funny! It would be good to greet old friends. I have not attended my high school reunions, but I once won a prize in absentia for having the most children, and that was when we had only six! ;~)

Terri said...

What great suggestions, Judy! All of it made sense.
I only attended my 10th reunion...didn't see much change in the people. The snobs and braggers were still the snobs and braggers, etc.
But I reconnected with a good friend from high school about 4 years ago and I was dying to go to our 40th in 2004....unfortunately, I was in Washington, DC on a book tour, BUT, she called my hotel room and had about 20 of the kids (?) get on the cell phone to talk and say hello. So that was great and I "almost" felt like I was there with them. Really looking forward to our 45th, as I'll be there.

Beverly said...

Comment to Terri, by the time you reach the 45th year, the playing ground is pretty level. All those cheerleaders and football starts don't look any better than the rest of us.

Mildred Garfield said...

I second what "oldladyof the hill" said. Who needs music if all you want to do is talk to people you haven't seen in years.

The same can be said when you go out to dinner with friends and the music is so loud you can't carry on a conversation.

Unless, of course, it's Sinatra singing in the backgroud! ;)

panthergirl said...

LOL.... hats are bad, but toupees are WORSE!

I haven't been to a reunion since my 10th High School one. It was fascinating. The girl who had been voted "Most Likely To Succeed" was married to the president of Harrah's Las Vegas, who had given her a Haagen-Daaz store for her birthday. That just cracked me up!

Glad you enjoyed yourself!

Here via michele again!

Anonymous said...

If women can wear hats in the workplace, and men can't, isn't that discrimination? If some employers allow some employees to wear kufis indoors because of religion, and don't allow everyone the opportunity to wear them, isn't that discrimination?
I think everyone should be allowed to wear hats or kufis. Or nobody should be able to wear hats or kufis. That is the only way to stop this discrimination in the workplace, training environment, or any inside facility.
Please give your opinion and ask others what they think about it. If you have the guts, ask your Human Resource Department what is their policy on this issue?