Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Old Friends and New Old Friends

by Maggie Sefton

Last Saturday I went to my first high school reunion. My high school was Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, VA. I'd never been to any of the previous reunions, mostly because our family no long lived in the Arlington, VA (Northern VA) area. We lived out of state and it was either impractical or too costly to spend money on a class reunion trip involving airline travel years ago. But my dear friends, Nancy & Diane, who grew up across the street from me in Arlington, VA, had gone to their first reunion a few years ago. They told me how much they enjoyed the occasions and encouraged me to attend the next scheduled get-together. The timing was perfect this year because the reunion date fell right in the middle of the time period when I planned to return to Northern VA to work on the Molly Malone mysteries and visit family and old friends.

I had read through the list of attendees and noticed several names jumped out at me, indicating that those people were most probably
class leaders or members of the Student Council. Our high school class was large like most of the Baby Boom Generation, over 800 students. I made most of my friends from my music activities, specifically the High School Choir. I had a lot of acquaintances in classes, but, most of my friends were in the choral groups.

I figured I wouldn't recognize anyone that evening, and that was true. Hey. . .we'd all aged, so we looked a heckuva lot different than we did years ago. But I did what I always do when meeting a group of strangers: I wandered around and spoke to people all over the hotel banquet room. There were nearly 200 people who showed up, not a bad turnout. I've always met great people in my wandering and chatting, and I wasn't disappointed this time.

When I chose a seat at one of the dining tables, I learned the husband and wife to my right, Jim and Rita, grew up close to my old neighborhood. Jim had attended the same elementary school my friends Nancy & Diane and I had. His house was several blocks away, so we never saw each other walking to school. Rita lived closer but attended the neighborhood parochial school for St. Charles Catholic Church. So, we never met either. But she did know my next door neighbors quite well because they all attended the same parochial school. She'd tran
sferred to Washington-Lee High School when we all did, and that's how she met her future husband.

We really enjoyed sharing old memories and establishing new connections. The lady to my left, Sandra, kept me laughing with her memories of former classmates. Add to that a surprisingly good hotel banquet dinner (I have to eat a lot of those in my line of work, so I've gotten pretty tired of the usual fare) and an excellent Golden Oldies Rock band making music, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. And---I made some new friends.

How about you? Have you attended a high school or college reunion yet? How was it?


Katreader said...

My 25th high school reunion was this year, but I didn't go. I've reunited with several high school people on Facebook and that's good enough for me. I didn't feel like driving an hour away for dinner, especially knowing I couldn't drink as I'd have to drive home.

Dru said...

I've never been to either my high school nor college reunions.

BusyMom said...

I have never been to any of my class reunions. After school I pretty much went my own way and moved. Never kept in touch with anyone. I have seen a few people over the past 30 years however no real lasting connections were made.

CindyD said...

I went to an early one (maybe 10th?) because I, like you, happened to be back in my home town for the weekend. Wasn't that great. A good friend of mine, however, chaired her 50th reunion last weekend and I am eager to hear all about it when we have lunch together tomorrow.

Aurian said...

I've been to the reunion of my pre-school? Age 6 till 12? Liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Had to go, as my twin sister organized the event.
Never gotten an invitation for my other schools, not sure if I would go. One of my old classmates works at a real estate agency, and we have a lot of work related contact nowadays, which is fun.

Carol S said...

My high school reunions have been a blast, 10th 20th and next year the 40th. There were about 300 kids in our class; we have lost many of them. The girls mostly look the same but the changes in the guys, from "boys" to men was really an eye-opener! One word of advise, if your significant other did not go to that school, leave him/her at home! You'll have more fun.
This past year's reunion, many of the people who were in choir in HS gave a concert that was open to all residents. It was a huge hit!

Maggie Sefton said...

Katreader----You've already made connections with high school friends, so you've done well.

Dru---I hadn't either. . .until this year. You never know.

Busy Mom---That's exactly what was happening in my life during all those years. This time, it simply worked out.

Maggie Sefton said...

CindyD---Wow, I bet she'll have a lot of stories to tell.

Aurian---a pre-school reunion. I love it. :)

CarolS---LOL about leaving the uninvolved spouse at home.