Um...I invented Post-Its
May 30, 2013 8:28 AM   Subscribe

My first double-digit high school reunion is quickly approaching. I have no idea what to expect, although I'm guessing that, like prom, TV and movies have given me a skewed idea of what these events are like. Did you go (or plan to go) to any of your reunions? What have your experiences been?
posted by C'est la D.C. to Society & Culture (45 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Never went. I left that town behind the day I graduated college, and I have only been back once in the 26 years since I left.

I kept in touch with the few people I really cared about, so I had and have utterly no interest in reliving high school social drama for a weekend, especially since I was on the bottom end of that particular totem pole when I was there.
posted by The Blue Olly at 8:31 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my six-year high school reunion (yeah) and it was... well, fine, and awkward but mostly fine.

The most notable thing was that people whose names I did not even remember ran up to me and started talking. I felt a little guilty about that.

I am still in contact with most of the people I was friends with in high school, and most of my old friends who I'm NOT in contact with weren't there. So it was actually not that interesting, except in a "gosh, how we've all grown" sort of way.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:31 AM on May 30, 2013

I never went to mine.

My mom's gone to all of hers.

She says she mostly hangs out with the people she knows now rather than the people she knew then (she still lives in the same town her high school is in). She uses it as an excuse to get nicely dressed up and get a few free drinks and some free food.
posted by zizzle at 8:32 AM on May 30, 2013

Mine was at a bar where I had some beers with my old classmates and caught up. It was unlike what is depicted on TV and movies where they rent out a dance hall or use the high school gym.
posted by deanc at 8:35 AM on May 30, 2013

My high school's 50th anniversary is coming up...I don't really have an interest in going, re-living those memories. I had an "okay" time (better than elementary school), but sometimes it's just not worth going back again. I wasn't popular (forgettable, actually), so that's where that is at...

I've reconnected with friends on facebook, but no long-term friends from H.S. that I actually see on a regular basis.
posted by MeatheadBrokeMyChair at 8:35 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 10 year a couple summers ago and dragged my husband with me. I had a mediocre time at best, and he had only the minimal fun of meeting new people, which he always enjoys. I keep up with the people I want to keep up with via facebook, so there wasn't much real news or anything. At 10 years, everyone still looks the same, the people who stayed in my small hometown all have babies. Those of us who left town, well, way fewer babies, and I think my 2 hour drive was probably the greatest distance anyone traveled to get there. The more mysterious folks who I was friends with but am not great at keeping in touch with because they moved across the planet or something... they did not come. I won't go to another one until maybe 25, just not worth it I don't think.
posted by hungrybruno at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 10 year reunion. Totally could have save all of the money and time. It was a complete bore and I didn't attend my 20th.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:39 AM on May 30, 2013

Jon Stewart said that the way to make high school tolerable for people would be to allow them to visit their 10 year high school reunion and see that everything turns out alright.

Most likely, the people that were gods your high school will be wash-outs.

Or it might be just another boring night with people you realize you don't care about, and don't need to waste any time on any longer.
posted by dry white toast at 8:42 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 10th and it was awkward. Everyone grouped up into their old cliques. But Facebook wasn't available to us then, so that was my only real shot at seeing my old classmates.

By my 20th (what the what?!) Facebook was huge, and those of us who wanted to reconnect already had. Instead of paying $70 a person to go sit in a firehall and listen to music from 1990, we all went out on our own on the same night and had a fantastic time.
posted by kimberussell at 8:43 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I haven't been to a single one of mine (and my 25th is coming up this year; haven't decided on that on) but I did go with my husband to his 10th. It was super fun. He left his town the day after graduation and literally didn't set foot in it again until the reunion and everyone was like, "HEY! It's YOU!" and they were really friendly and nice. This was pre-facebook days, mind you, so no one was connected the way they are now.

I think it was fun for me because all these people were new to me and they seemed to really like my husband, even though he hadn't been one of the popular kids in school (and they were great to me). I never saw the point in going to mine. I kept in touch with the very few people I wanted to keep in touch with, and then facebook came along and I was able to remind myself why I didn't keep in touch with the other people...and now we're here.
posted by cooker girl at 8:44 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 10 and my 30. I had a good time at both.

At my 10 it was a bit awkward because we were only slightly older. Some folks were in Med School, or recently practicing lawyers. Some were married or starting families. The thing that threw me was how many people didn't move away, so they were all still hanging out and the reunion was just another get-together for them. This one wasn't that well attended because if folks had moved away, it was a reach for them to be able to afford to return. I acutely missed the people I had hoped I would have seen. Also, it disquieted me that a few of our fellow graduates had died. (One in a police car chase.)

The 30 was much cooler. I loved the hotel they choose, and I went with two of my girlfriends. We all flew from Atlanta together, and it was so nice. A lot more people that I wanted to see were there, and I reconnected with some very good friends. We're all palsy-walsy on Facebook now and I'd have to say that we are a very hip group all things considered.

So, if it's no skin off your nose, go to your 10 but be prepared to be disappointed. Look forward to your 30, that one is DA BOMB!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:45 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 10 last year. It wasn't as organized as it should have been-- we did a tour of the school, which was nice as there had been extensive remodeling and gave a nice activity to ease the 'who the hell are these people' qualms, and then had the top floor of a bar rented that night (appropriately, the bar is called Glory Days).

I loved it. It was great catching up with people I hadn't talked to in a decade. I wouldn't want to see them every weekend (that's why I moved :) ), but it's nice seeing people talk about their kids and partners and jobs, as well as reminiscing about childhood. I caught up with some people I don't think I had had a conversation with since elementary school, drank cheap beer, and at closing time my mom picked me up, drove a friend to the ER (she is fine, but what reunion doesn't involve *someone* drinking too much and faceplanting?), and drove me home. (Maybe she won't be as willing to drive her drunk 37 year old daughter around as she was her drunk 27 year old daughter, though...)

I organized surveys for the reunion, with the intent that by the 20th, I'll have copies made & bound & more surveys to fill out. Questions were: Name, partner, kids, where do you live, how far away, what do you doooo (I tried really hard to word this well-- what are your hobbies, what is your occupation, what has been your favorite job in the last decade, did you continue with more schooling/ what & where), proudest moment, best vacation, favorite song when you graduated, favorite song now, what else do you want people to know. I think it will be interesting to have this longitudinal information in the future, but I'm sentimental.

I think it's what you make of it. My wife graduated with me, and didn't attend, although lots of people asked about her. I plan on being more involved in the planning for the next big reunion (so that it happens and is a bit ... more). My parents help plan and attend all of theirs, and my mom says it gets better each time.
posted by worstname at 8:51 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to one of my high school reunions (probably my 10th?) and it was OK - it was free food and free drinks, which I don't know why they did it that time and they sure as heck don't do it anymore. It was a catered dinner in the school building. I hung out with some of my friends from high school. We hung out in an upstairs classroom talking for a while. It was good to reconnect with them.

I had a good time I haven't been back, though, and my one friend who does still keep going says it's pretty cliquey and that one of the "popular" girls still tends to hold court!

I think high school reunions vary wildly from school to school, class to class, and year to year. But I don't know anyone who's been to one like in Romy & Michelle or Grosse Point Blank.
posted by mskyle at 8:53 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 20th. Skipped my 25th.

5 and 10 seemed too soon. Scars hadn't yet healed. By my 20th I was ok with who I was and went mostly out of curiosity and to prove to myself that I could be normal around those people.

Mostly it was boring, because since I didn't have a lot of good friends to catch up with I had no good stories to share or talk about. I did enjoy chatting with a few people I was sorta friends with but I could have gone my whole life without doing that. The music was too loud.

Jocks were mostly fat and had become accountants. A couple people had become raging alcoholics. One woman, who was pretty much The Hot Girl in high school, looked like she'd been doing heroin for 20 years. It was sad.

In the time since my 20th Facebook has become the norm so I can pretty much get in touch with anyone I care to get in touch with, and I can also see who has become a right wing asshole.

Really I think what you get out of your reunion depends a lot on your high school experience. The people who seemed to be having the best time also seemed like they used up the Best Years Of Their Lives back in high school.
posted by bondcliff at 8:55 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Two summers ago I went to my 10 year High School reunion. For the most part, I was kinda surprised how little people had changed. I was expecting it to be a little awkward and a bit of a drag, but it was actually a lot of fun.

I went with my girlfriend and three friends from school, one of whom had transitioned since graduation and went incognito as the date of someone else. Initially, we were worried about how people would react, but in the end, we just had fun with people seeing if they recognized him, and the night was mercifully free of any overt or hostile transphobia.

For my part, I was able to reconnect with my best friend in elementary school, who I hadn't seen in years. We had a great time catching up. He died unexpectedly a few months later, so I was happy to have had the chance to see him that one last time.

If there will be anyone there who you are looking forward to seeing, especially people who you have otherwise lost touch with, I would recommend going.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:55 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I went to my tenth. It was fun. Some of the assholes turned out to have grown up into interesting people, and vice-versa, and everybody looked like themselves but slightly thicker somehow. We got drunk and I found out about two women who had had crushes on me back in the day but never told me because WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME GODDAMMIT I THOUGHT I WAS A FRIENDLESS NERD BUT NO and it was sort of interesting to see who had moved and who had stayed and who had changed and who hadn't and who had turned out differently than expected and who had turned out exactly as predicted and what lines of work we'd all ended up in and so on, and it was very very interesting learning how incorrect my understanding of my own social status had been all along, see above in re WHY OH WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME, and a wildly mixed cross-clique group of us wound up staying out all night and having predawn pancakes and a long conversation and I never saw any of them again after that.

This was before Facebook existed, note. If I'd been "friends" with them all along there would have been fewer surprises in store.
posted by ook at 8:58 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I went to my fifth (which was more of an all-ages cocktail party) and it was actually pretty fun, because most of the popular and beloved teachers were there as well. It was nice to catch up with people, though I also really liked my school, so there's that. I wouldn't have come back to DC just for it, but I'm actually looking forward to our tenth reunion.

And yeah bonus: free cocktails and food!
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:02 AM on May 30, 2013

I didn't go to my 10th and I can foresee nothing to motivate me to attend my 20th. I have one friend that I still talk to from high school and even that is difficult sometimes as she has 4 kids and a nice house out in Jersey and is super grown up and normal; in contrast, I'm just like "putting pants on every day is a huge hassle".

On the other hand we did a summer camp reunion a while back and that was awesome and fun and hilarious. It really depends on the peer group in question and your feelings towards them.
posted by elizardbits at 9:06 AM on May 30, 2013

The first high school reunion I went to was my 20th, last year. I think your experience will depend on what your experience was in high school, and what kind of baggage you bring with you; in my case, I was sort of the 'pet weird kid' that managed to get along with most of the cliques without really belonging to any of them. Most of my close friends were a grade or two behind me, so for me the reunion wasn't really about reliving glory days, it was about seeing just a handful of people who I knew would be there thanks to Facebook. It was only a 35 minute drive for me, so why not?

It was really good to catch up with that handful of people, but they were pretty much the only people I interacted with in any meaningful way all night; I made the rounds and found that most people barely remembered my name, much less whatever classes we might have had together. My full beard probably didn't help matters there. (And then there was the drunk guy who stumbled over on two separate occasions and said "No waaaaaay it's awesome to see you man!" - I still have no idea who he was.)

The old dynamics emerged pretty quickly; the popular/student council/athletic crowd clumped together, and the party crowd proceeded to get falling down drunk. It was interesting to see who had gotten fat, who had gone bald and/or grey, who had gotten skinny, who looked exactly the same. More than anything it was a startling reminder of the passage of time, and bittersweet because I realized that if I hadn't really kept in close touch with that handful people in the last 20 years, that probably wasn't going to change in the next 20; Facebook is better than nothing, but it's shallow.

I am definitely glad I went and will be there for my 25th (if that same handful of people are there) but the overall experience for me was definitely bittersweet. It put me in a state of deep reflection for a few days after... not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by usonian at 9:27 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my five-year reunion. They held it on the second floor of a bar attached to an office building in downtown Boston. The room was dark and small, though some windows to the right offered a good view of the courtyard by the entrance. Everyone got a free drink. The friends I had in high school weren't there. Either they hadn't been from my school or they had decided not to come. I wasn't interested in anyone there, and no one there was interested in me, so I said hello and left after twenty minutes or so.

On the other hand, I have Social Issues. Everyone else seemed to be having a good time.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:34 AM on May 30, 2013

On the other hand we did a summer camp reunion a while back and that was awesome and fun and hilarious. It really depends on the peer group in question and your feelings towards them.

If you can go to or organize this sort of topical reunion, they can apparently be great. My high school music department has had at least one, attended by both of my brothers. I did not go, but I would have if I could have. (Not the case with my class reunion.) Our now-retired music director also has put together music department alumni choirs in various years. They sing at the larger all-school alumni banquet and such.
posted by jgirl at 9:36 AM on May 30, 2013

My 20th reunion is this Saturday, and I'm super EXCITED!

Because I will not be in attendance, and will instead be going on a rented disco trolley with some new friends in my adopted city hundreds of miles away from the reunion.

I actually struggled a bit with the decision, but ultimately came to the conclusion that I can safely skip the reunion because 1) I have nothing to prove; and 2) zero curiosity about how other people are doing. I don't remember half of my classmates (not just their names, their very existence).

My hard-earned boozing money is much better spent on disco trolleys than on alumni donation shakedowns in the old gym.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:39 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I went to my 10th (pre-FB).

It was interesting to catch up with people I'd known & liked but who were not in my core group of friends; one was working for a Senator in DC, one was a mother of 5!! (she even had #5 in tow, he was a fairly newborn at the time). So that part was interesting. But overall, like others said, I'd already stayed in touch with my core group, I didn't make an effort talk to anyone I hadn't gotten along with when we were still in hs, and since I went to a large school, there were a lot of people I didn't really know and didn't talk to. I think around half the graduating class showed up (there were around 400-500 at the event, including spouses). It was kind of like being at a small nightclub.

Overall, it was underwhelming and I decided not to go to any subsequent events. Plus, we're in the FB era now, and I'm in touch with those I want to be in touch with.
posted by vignettist at 9:42 AM on May 30, 2013

I've never changed my name, and with the exception of a couple years, I've lived in the same town ever since high school graduation; plus, my parents had the same names, owned the same house and kept the same phone number right until they died decades later..... in other words, I've probably been one of the easiest people you could ever need to hunt up. But did any of my classmates, in a graduating class of almost 850, ever contact me? That's a giant NO: not a single one of them has EVER called, written, returned my letters or calls, anything.

So. When the notice came about our 20th reunion, I did not go --- I saw no reason to waste time or money on people who cared that little for me. Ditto when they sent notices about the 30th, which was held in a private back room at a pizza parlor --- apparently, from the photos they sent to the local newspaper afterwards, there were less than 20 attendees out of that giant class of almost 850.

WERE there reunions for the 5th, 10th, 15th, 25th or 35th? I have no clue, but the 40th anniversary of our graduation is next year, and if they bother to hold a reunion, I'm not going to that one either.
posted by easily confused at 9:48 AM on May 30, 2013

My 10 year reunion is in a few weeks. I won't be going (live too far), but sure, I would go if I lived within a few hours of the place. Facebook has really changed what people expect of these; I already know who is doing what, who has kids or great jobs or three divorces already. I don't think there will be much scandal, suspense, or excitement -- if it's anything like our 5-year reunion, or will just be a slightly boring dinner party.
posted by third word on a random page at 9:48 AM on May 30, 2013

I didn't go to any of mine. All those friends and acquaintances that I thought would last forever... it turned out not one survived the massive changes that life threw at me. I don't miss them, either; I'm sure they underwent the same or greater changes and are living full lives just like me. And, frankly, if they didn't change, then good God I don't want anything to do with them, because I remember what a pack of jackasses we all were at that age.
posted by Sternmeyer at 9:54 AM on May 30, 2013


All caps, to rise above the crappy time almost everyone else had. Parity of experience, that's what I say! Our reunion was Friday to Saturday night, and we were not a particularly close class or anything. Rural, Small, Poor, etc.). Let me give you some bullet points:
• So many people who were jerks in high school grew up and mellowed out. Just amazing. The ones who didn't learned how to pretend, which was a little creepy but still appreciated.
• I got to talk to people I knew, but never really hung out with in high school. And they're like real people, with interests and concerns and lives and everything. Also awesome.
• People changed; I got to see that. That was really valuable to me. People make some surprising decisions and changes, and a lot of them are really good! How can that not be fun?
• I found that people who actually, memorably had a bad time in high school showed up (and that was really brave and amazing). People who had what to all appearances seemed to be a fine time in high school, but not the one they wanted or who wanted to be cool like the people on TV who hate their reunions, showed up for an hour or just stayed home. And that was fine, all things considering.

My only regret is that the kid who had absolutely the worst time in our class came (and I mean that as Career Record of Bad Times, from 1st grade up), and we didn't scatter rose petals in front of her as she walked.
posted by Poppa Bear at 10:03 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I didn't go, and have no desire to see any of the people again. I keep in touch with the people I care about. I have felt no life-damage from this decision.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:05 AM on May 30, 2013

My SO goes to all of his and enjoys himself but he's a gregarious person who enjoys talking with random people. Other than adding them all on Facebook, he doesn't interact with his former classmates in-between reunions but he clearly enjoys keeping up with their lives.

I've never gone to any of mine but I seriously considered attending a big milestone one until I netstalked the handful of people who had RSVPed and discovered they all were very vocal supporters of various social and political causes that were diametrically opposed to my own various social and political causes. I figured the evening would either be dull because we had nothing in common to talk about or punches would be thrown. Even then, I might have gone if I recognized any of the names, but I did not (I went to a huge HS).
posted by jamaro at 10:15 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to an unusual school in that it was SUPER small (my graduating class had 34 people in it) and in a community where a most folks never leave and are also related to each other, and most of the ones who previously were not related have since gone and married each other.

Instead of class reunions they do alumni reunions. I live 1000 miles away and have never had even the slightest desire to go back (not out of ill feelings, just...complete and total lack of interest), but these folks are all big on facebook. It appears that the attendees are almost solely people who have stayed there. Every once in a while I'll see the face of someone who escaped, but it's rare.

It's basically the same group of people who still go to all the football games and hang out with other anyway, so the only thing that makes it a "reunion" instead of "any other random day" is the fact that they make a facebook event page for it.
posted by phunniemee at 10:17 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my ten, sort of. The people nominally in charge of the reunion rented out a party room and asked something like $75/head for dinner and two drinks, and all of the people I actually wanted to see said "fuck that" and picked a bar to hang out at instead.

I mostly wanted to see the one friend I actually keep in touch with, but I like meeting random people and hearing about their lives and that was pretty much what this was. Even people I was pretty friendly with in high school were almost complete strangers after ten years. It was totally fine if you like that sort of thing, but if you hate small talk it would have been agonizing.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:27 AM on May 30, 2013

Going to your first reunion is like watching a movie and waiting for the epilogue that explains what happened to all the minor characters. It's actually entirely pleasant to see that most everyone turned out alright. Contrary to the stereotype, there's nothing much to be gained in starting trouble or scene stealing displays. People have mellowed out and are on their best behavior. Some people who were total wash-outs got their stuff together. Some of the ones you totally expected to be doctors and lawyers are now doctors and lawyers and some people surprisingly bucked their reps and are on that track, too. Like most things in life, it's pretty mundane and you get out of it what you put in to it.

I worry about the people who are carrying around old wounds and refuse to go, in as much that it could end up being pretty cathartic. Odds are good that some small new information you learn could reframe an old memory or let you see someone in a new light.

That is all to say, soak it in as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and show up with a good attitude. But I wouldn't make a big deal about going, either.
posted by Skwirl at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2013

I only went to my 25th high school reunion. My experiences were that age is a great equalizer, everybody had some medical issue even those who were athletes in high school, and the worst looking woman was far more attractive than the best looking man. That said, you should go to a reunion oif the opportunity presents itself IMO.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:31 AM on May 30, 2013

I happened to be in my hometown during my 10th, so I went. It was almost exactly like a sad, awkward middle school dance, except that: 1) there were fewer decorations; 2) the music was a tiny bit better; and 3) people were making more efforts to interact (most hilariously: one girl, upon failing to recognize anyone, assumed my boyfriend—from another state—was the one she'd gone to high school with and attempted to strike up a conversation with him).

So, awkward middle school dance + low key frat party. Less than 50 of my graduating class of almost 400 showed up, and most people spent the whole night standing around in little clumps, trying to make small talk.

We stayed for maybe 30 minutes, then split. We might have stayed longer if "open bar and light appetizers" hadn't meant "boxes of free pizza, a couple of trays of vegetables, and a keg" (to be fair, I guess, tickets were only $10) or if I had done a better job of staying in touch with people from high school after graduation, but...I got bored. Which, actually, was kind of nice: no drama, no self-consciousness, no cliques. Everyone was just...normal.
posted by rebekah at 11:36 AM on May 30, 2013

Two thoughts (on both HS and college reunions):

1) it's not the people you would think to keep up with, but the other people that make going in person worthwhile -- especially people you had forgotten about but had a fun class or couple of summer internships with, whatever. you get a couple of events to catch up and see what they're up to, and then back to the real world (and your real Xmas card list of actual friends). if you already feel like you're getting this from indirect social media, then it might not be worth it. if you're curious about what happened to a bunch of people, or might get a buzz from being in the gym again, then perhaps it's still worthwhile.

2) don't go too soon. at five or even 10 years, a good number of the people will still be in some form of school, which mean that they're not much changed. by 20, people have moved on to new phases of their lives, will have more interesting stories, have evolved into what they're more likely to be. it's more interesting in that regard, less awkward and forced.
posted by acm at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2013

I went to my ten-year HS reunion and absolutely hated it. I'm from Silicon Valley, and the ten-year occurred during the dotcom bubble, so half the people there were new millionaires... and very showy about the fact. Also way too many smug new mommies.

I intended to skip my 20-year reunion, but an older co-worker told me that by this time, most everybody had been punched around a little by life or at least kicked down a notch, and they were going to be a lot humbler. I know that may sound really cynical, but it was what convinced me to go, and it was true. I wound up having a mini-reunion with people I went to kindergarten with, and had a great time. I'd recommend going.
posted by queensissy at 12:14 PM on May 30, 2013

Gross Pointe Blank came out shortly before my tenth and made me curious about what people had been up to, so I wanted to go. No one bothered letting me know about it though, despite the fact that my mother was living in the same house whe lived in when I went to HS, and was the only person with that last name in the phone book.

I had fair warning when my 20th rolled around but I was slow to book plane tickets and then horrified by the cost. I took a closer look at who had RSVPed. There was really no one I was really curious about, none of the people I realized, in retrospect, might have totally surprised me. I didn't go. That was 5 years ago. no regrets so far.

I should add though that most of my closest HS friends (all of whom I've lost touch with) are either older or younger than me.
posted by Good Brain at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2013

I graduated in 1987 and haven't been to any of mine, nor do I expect I ever will.

I hated my high school experience; being one of the few poor kids in a rich school district made me an instant target for torment. I wished every day that I would just wake up dead.

While I have forgiven the people who made my life awful, I know myself well enough to know that seeing them again would rekindle a bunch of emotions that I have no interest in revisiting.

I don't regret skipping them.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:21 PM on May 30, 2013

Went to my 10th and 25th. I had a small graduating class of 135 so I knew everyone there. The 10th was really interesting. Mostly talk about things you weren't told in HS like who had the secret crush on you and what really happened that night when the cops showed up, etc. The 25th was great. Everyone was confident and comfortable with whatever they had done to date in life, and we really just caught up, told stories and drank beaucoup. An anonymous graduate (ahem) put up $500 towards an open bar, which was a great decision. A few teachers even showed up, one of whom I am now friendly with. We have played golf a few times when I am in his town.

I now measure success in such a different way than I did at the 10th. It is all about happiness, not material possessions or job titles, etc. It was neat to see who was genuinely happy and why. Oh, I got to kiss a world famous model who graduated in the class above me. (She told me she had a crush on my older brother and...I have a big enough mouth to ask to surrogate for him I can say I kissed a super model all approved by my wife.)

Worth going, you never know what will happen.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:32 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I went to my 10th and 20th. It was enormously interesting to see how people had, and had not, changed. There was one aspect that was surreal and very unnerving -- everyone's voice seemed wrong. Voices change subtly over a decade or two. It was very odd to hear a voice that you recognize on an emotional level from your childhood come out of a face you could swear you'd never seen before; or to recognize someone instantly based on their looks, but when they open their mouth the voice is weirdly wrong. It felt like being transported to a parallel universe or something.
posted by Corvid at 1:38 PM on May 30, 2013

I went to my wife's 10th. We were due to get back to her home town to see her family (which was really nice), but the reunion was odd. It seemed like everyone was more interested in sizing each other up than having any meaningful dialog. I tried to be gracious as an outsider but it seemed like everyone was just figuring out who had better careers, marriage or waistline over the past decade.

I've never attended reunions for my high school.
posted by dgran at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2013

I went to my 10-year last year. It was pretty boring and lame. People were a little friendlier than they had been in high school, but still mostly stuck to their old friend groups after some brief, awkward "what are you doing now?" conversations. The jerks that I had been hoping would turn into washed-up losers had instead turned into successful, accomplished masters of the universe (I, meanwhile, was unemployed at the time of my reunion), so no satisfaction to be had there.

For some sick reason, I will probably go again in 5 years anyway.
posted by naoko at 3:52 PM on May 30, 2013

I think the takeaway from everyone's stories is that a lot depends on your school experience:
1) Ten years isn't nearly enough time: too many people are still in flux.
2) If you attended a giant school like mine (as I mentioned, a graduating class of over 850), then what percentage of those people could you honestly say you knew enough about to care how they turned out? If you attended a smaller school, with a correspondingly smaller graduating class, perhaps you'd know each person well enough to be (at least mildly) curious about their lives.
3) And the community matters, too: was yours a school with a relatively-stable student body that basically all knew each other from kindergarden; or was it in a highly transient area, with a low percentage of students who attended that one school system together from the beginning?
posted by easily confused at 4:01 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I went to my ten year reunion and wish I hadn't wasted my time. The really interesting people didn't show up, and those who did come were basically the same people they'd been in high school. Some of my friends started fawning over the guys who were popular back in the day... I didn't think they were good looking then, and they definitely hadn't improved since. I was a little dismayed to see my friends revert to giddy idiot schoolgirls, like they were trying to relive missed chances in high school. All I wanted to do was get back home to my husband (we weren't allowed to bring spouses to our reunion) and get on with my life. I admit high school wasn't the greatest time of my life, so I don't feel nostalgic about those days as others might.
posted by keep it under cover at 10:59 PM on May 30, 2013

I went to my tenth and had a great time. My twentieth is this fall, and I'm not well enough to go, or I would in a heartbeat.

Brief on me: A lot of my friends were in other years and I was not one of those people who thought high school was awesome. My class was almost 600 people in a secondary school of almost 4000, so there was always a place to fit if you wanted to, and going back to the reunion was not likely to be Mean Girls Redux.

At my tenth, the cliques were pretty much dissolved. I ended up talking mostly to people who had moved in slightly different circles, or were other members of the larger honors group that I knew, but not well. I talked to some of the student government types whom I don't think I'd exchanged six words with all through high school. I really enjoyed finding out what people had done with their lives.

It was interesting to see that all the guys who were deemed the best-looking then had pretty much peaked. The women, on the other hand, were uniformly better-looking. One of the former hot guys, who barely deigned to give his female classmates the time of day back then, said to me, "I had no idea there were so many good-looking women in our class."

The highlight of the night was when a klatch of people in the same general subcultures as I was (theatre, visual art, mods, hippies, etc.) finally got the DJ to play some of our shared cultures' alterna-hits, and while we were dancing, a visual artist wearing a hot pink paisley shift and big stompy boots leaned over and yelled in my ear, "ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO MADE FUN OF ME FOR WEARING BLACK ALL THE TIME ARE WEARING BLACK TONIGHT!"

That alone was worth the price of admission.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:05 PM on June 1, 2013

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