Thursday, November 14, 2013


The mere mention of the word “reunion” sends many people running for cover. Of course, some people love them, as I often do. Naturally, it depends upon the kind of reunion that’s up for discussion: family, school, neighbors or the old gang from that job you had ten years ago. Those last two usually revolve around some social opportunity like a wedding or a funeral.

Some reunions I skip right off the top (they have to sound like fun), some are conflicts on my schedule, or the effort is  just too much to make them worthwhile (ROI analysis). If the event has passed the screening process and I can make it happen (and I want to make it happen), I go. I’d be hard- pressed to think of any reunion I attended and regretted. These events are the epitome of the old adage: It is what you make it out to be.”  But a word to the wise: don’t subject your spouse to these more often than once, if you want to stay married that is.

The family reunion I attended recently was centered on my aunt’s 90th. The actual reconnecting with her and my cousins was just as warm and affirming as I’d hoped. The pleasant surprise was how much fun and interesting it was to meet their relations from the other side of their family, those who are unrelated to me. The common platform that brought us together was enough to break the ice and more. Soon we were sharing stories and perspectives, feeding off of one another’s enthusiasm. It was great fun.

The classic vision of a reunion is school-related. Some dread these like the plague: “I didn’t like those people when I was in school,” “I’m afraid my ex will be there,” or the ever-popular “I feel too fat.” My favorite is “Who else is going?” Why don’t you go and find out? Heavens knows? It could be as whacky as that classic comedy, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (click on the link to refresh your memory).

With my fraternity Little Sister Susie and my roommate Kevin

Just last month was a reunion at my college. University of the Pacific no longer has a football team (sadly), so they don’t focus on a football game. They can get creative. For years this meant holding the event in June, but I (for one) complained that it was too darned hot for outdoor activities in Stockton that time of year. Add to the above list of complaints: “I don’t look my best bathed in sweat.” And don't we all want to look our best at a reunion?

With two of my Theta sorority favorites, another Susie and Luann 

Recently, my college reunions returned to October. Hooray! Of course, it now conflicts with other reunions as October is just that perfect time of year for such things. This year shouldn’t have been a conflict with my high school's reunion. However, the university rotates events to focus on selected fraternities and sororities. This year, they featured my frat and the sorority where I worked in food service (Yes, I was a “hasher” at the Theta house). I love my frat brothers and my Theta girls.

Was it fun? In the words of my best bud Mike, “I wish I could’ve been there.” The pleasure I get at a reunion is not so much “reliving old times,” it is reinvigorating the positive connections with people whose friendship and company I enjoyed (and still do). There were satisfying connections with old friends, catching up on newer times.

But what of the high school reunion that I blew off? I followed up with another friend and old neighbor John, who did attend. Even though we were blended with the rival high school surprising number of my old high school classmates had attended. Hearing some of the names made me smile and think, “”I wish I could’ve been there.”

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