Conklin: Be sure to attend class reunion


Most people like them, but there are others who wouldn’t attend if you paid them. I’m talking about high school class reunions. Chances are, if you had a good high school experience, you will be at every one of your class reunions.

Usually they start out as every five years, but by the time you are up to your 60th, lots of members want to meet every year.

Having a good high school experience could mean you feel that you, and several of the others of your class, came to be as close as brothers and sisters. And the teachers came to be like your parents. If you were in the same school system for the whole K-12 experience, you may have become closer than some siblings.

After all, you watched each other grow from being a shy first grader, to being part of a group who survived puberty together, and then went on through high school and were ‘‘thick as thieves.” During those growing years, you had the experience of enduring junior high, and we all know how bad that can be.

You remember getting crushes on other classmates, who may have acted like they didn’t even know you existed. But the most confusing part could have been your growth spurts. Some students matured as early as the sixth grade while others didn’t mature until their junior, or even senior year.

So, what happens when you all get together as adults? Name tags help identify those who had moved away. It wasn’t until our 15th year out of high school that our class had its first reunion. As several of the couples came in the door, no one knew either one of them.

A lot of changes had taken place during that 15-year period. A common occurrence is that each elementary school group seems to still stick together as adults. It seems that the kids from one part of town feel more comfortable with others from their own neighborhoods.

There is something to that quote about old friends being your best friends, and that it takes a long time to grow one. So, those years in early elementary may have been more influential than we realized.

And then, you may have someone show up in your 50th year, who had never been there before. When a girl in our class did that, she admitted she had spent all week getting ready with having her hair styled, getting the right dress, and had been on a strict diet ever since getting the announcement of the date of the reunion. When she came in the door, no one believed she had been in our class.

But there she was, a beautiful 40ish looking woman with a great tan. She was escorted by a much younger looking guy, too. I told her that we need to get name tags, because I didn’t know what her name was. Two seconds after she told me her name, she transformed into that same young girl I sat through fifth and sixth grades with.

She said we had been good friends back then, but in high school, we seemed to go in different directions. And she was right. My older brother had told me to sign up for college prep classes. Little did I know that my college life wouldn’t start for another 23 years.

She and I had a little time to talk, and she managed to remember a lot of things I had forgotten or never knew at all. She told me I was the teacher’s pet in the sixth grade. No, not me! She had to have me mixed up with somebody else. Maybe it was that other kid in our class whose name was also Kay, but he was a guy.

My younger brother has to be the king of going to class reunions. He was invited, and attended, three 50th year class reunions. He is the type of guy who made a lot of friends and was asked back by the students he was in elementary school with, also the students he was in junior high with, and of course, his own high school class.

That came about because of our family moving so many times. Those three reunions were held in three different schools in three different towns.

The lucky people are the ones who never moved away from their hometown, because they get to plan the reunions. So, if you didn’t have to plan it, be sure, at least, to attend it. That’s because everyone will be glad to see you when you walk in the door.

It doesn’t matter if you have put on a few pounds, or if you have lost your hair, or that it’s a different color, or even if you forget some names, because all the people you will be seeing, are in the same boat as you are. They just want to get together and laugh about the stupid things you all did as kids when growing up together in the same school.

And, who knows, you might even meet up with that same classmate you had a crush on back in junior high. Enjoy.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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