He Says/She Says: High School Reunion


51 Comments
He Says/She Says: High School Reunion

I remember sitting in a ceramics class. My teacher was waxing poetic about an out-of-body experience she had while visiting a Native American tribe. Some classmates were finishing up the final contours of interesting looking “vases” that included strategically concealed holes. As I looked around, I remember thinking what it would be like to see all of these people 10 years from now. Who would they be? What would they be doing? What would I be doing?! While 10 years seems inconsequential now, it seemed like a lifetime away then.

And here we are, a mere month away from my graduating class’ 10-year reunion. I’ve always assumed I’d go (doesn’t everyone?), but I had no clue what circumstances I’d find myself in when that time came. Now that picture is a little clearer: transitioning into a new job, married six years, dad of nine months, and still wearing Vans shoes and thrift store t-shirts.

Given the fact that my decision to attend now includes a second party, I nonchalantly broached the topic with Joanna.

So my 10-year reunion is next month. I think I’d like to go. It’d be fun to say hi to all the people I occasionally Facebook-stalk.

Seriously? Why? Is there even anyone you want to see?

I think so. I grew up with all of those people. Little League, TP’ing, first awkward dances. Those people made up some of the more formative years of my life.

If you think it’s worth the money… and the ten hours in the car… with a teething child… both ways.

I wasn’t prepared to have to defend my proposal. A long-weekend road trip to Southern California, smack dab in the middle of chilling season in Utah? It didn’t seem like the worst idea I’ve ever had. And moreover, I didn’t think anyone thought so little of high school reunions. I suddenly felt like I was Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, grasping at any opportunity to relive my past. To be fair, Joanna moved a lot in her youth, but I’ve since talked to other people who agree with Joanna’s anti-high school sentiments.

The logistics are worth debating. The cost of admission is $65. How it costs $65 to mingle in the same social circles and call everyone “Hey you!” because you don’t remember their names is beyond me. The cost for gas will likely put us out $140-$160. The cost of hotels (which we’ll snag using my Name Your Own Price strategy) will probably cost us a total of $200 for three nights. Plus food and random expenses at another $80. All for a grand estimated total of $500.

If that was the cost for me to do that trip solo, I’d probably nix the idea. BUT, since it’s a chance for us to get away as a family for a weekend, create some Southern California memories, and face our fears of traveling with our little teether (which has limited us to only a single excursion thus far), I think it’s a worthwhile fall vacation.

But what say you, wise sages? Is it worth the money to mingle with people I haven’t talked to in 10 years? Or, like Joanna, would you rather see that $500 spent on a trip that excludes a walk down high school memory lane?

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51 Comments

  • Reply Brian October 23, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I live probably 15 minutes from my high school and didn’t go to my 10 year reunion. I guess I figure the people that I would want to interact with I can already do that. So I would totally not spend extra money to travel to one.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:27 am

      If I lived closer to my high school, especially 15 minutes away, I don’t think I’d be as interested. But having moved on from my hometown and only visiting a handful of times, the nostalgia is there. The real question is whether the extra dough is, too.

  • Reply Ray Ray October 23, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I can see my husband and I one day having this same discussion! I’m sure he’ll want to go, he’s kept in touch with several people but I would definitely rather spend $500 elsewhere. I guess we have a few years to figure it out 😉

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:13 am

      I probably would have been better off thinking about this a little earlier than the month before. I definitely didn’t realize Joanna would think differently than me on the topic, but that’s basically the story of our entire marriage. :)

  • Reply mindy @ just a one girl revolution. October 23, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I went to my 10 year reunion last summer, but admission was $25 and I live less than an hour from my hometown. It was fine, but kind of overrated. I’ll probably never go to another one. I say, use the money on something else!

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:15 am

      Yeah, those factors would have made the decision a little easier. I don’t have high expectations, but because I have literally seen no one since I graduated from high school, I figure it’d be worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, this trip will require more costs than just admission.

  • Reply Stephanie October 23, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I skipped my own (um, I was giving birth that weekend).and went to my husband’s 10 yr – we went to the same high school actually but different years. I can’t actually believe he wanted to go to it. I’d say skip it and get on fb instead. Use the money to have a cool weekend with your family.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:31 am

      I guess that’s a pretty valid reason. You probably could have made the extra effort and attended… joking. That’s cool that you could attend a time-shifted version of it with your husband, though.

  • Reply Emory L. October 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

    My husband and I have talked about this a little. We both still have a few years to figure out what we want to do, but I think I would like to go to mine. Even though I see what everyone is doing on Facebook, there is something that seems special about visiting with those people in person. We both live about 10 hours from our separate home towns and it would be a trip to travel to either reunion. But personally, I am hoping mine would be worth it. Those people were a special part of my life and I don’t get to keep in touch with them or see them often. Maybe my tune will change by the time it comes to my 10 year reunion though.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:34 am

      I’m pretty much in the exact boat. 10 hour drive. Haven’t seen anyone since the day I graduated. It seems worthwhile for a weekend trip, but I don’t know that I’d be particularly interested to attend Joanna’s either, so I see her point.

  • Reply Kasey @ Debt Perception October 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Facebook pretty much killed my 10 year reunion. Everyone knows what’s going on with everyone through FB. I think less than 30 people ended up going (200-300 in our graduating class). Instead of a simple potluck picnic where people could bring their kids or a not-so-expensive bar/restaurant gathering, they opted for a Brewer’s game on the Fourth of July. No way was I going to buy plane tickets around a holiday! It wasn’t worth it. $500 is a lot of money, I’d probably save it for another time.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:38 am

      For whatever reason, my group of friends never really embraced FB. I know a little bit here and there, but the majority of my friends haven’t updated their FB profiles in years. That’s definitely the biggest motivating factor. That and an opportunity to spend a weekend back “home” in Southern CA.

  • Reply Jodi T. October 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I REALLY wanted to go to my high school reunion. I still talk (via FB and sometimes in person) to most of the people I went to school with. Granted, I went to school with these people from K-12. My husband WAS.NOT.INTERESTED, and really wasn’t interested in my going alone… So… we didn’t. After the fact, I heard that it wasn’t that great, but I still wish I’d gone. To be able to see everyone at once would have been fun. If you really want to go, then I think the cost is justified.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:40 am

      You catch my drift. I get why Joanna (or your husband) would be bored by the idea. And I’m sure whatever low expectations won’t even be met. But I still feel like it’s an opportunity I’d regret not taking.

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone October 23, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I don’t know! I just went to my 10-year college reunion, 2 weeks ago and it was LAME. BTW, I had to fly across the country to go. (Okay, I was really flying across the country to see my family and run a marathon, but the reunion may have influenced my decision to go). However, I don’t think a normal reunion would be so lame. I went to a religious college, so when a normal school would probably just have mingling, drinks, and food, my religious school tried to compensate for the lack of alcohol by making us sit silently and listen to the stories of all sorts of alumni and what our alma mater is like now. I was with a friend that I hadn’t seen for 3 years, and I barely got to speak to her because they wouldn’t stop talking. I don’t understand why they would set a reunion up like that. Am I right to say that people go to reunions to catch up with old friends, not to listen strangers talk about themselves??? But, I’d say the trip to SoCal might be worth it just for Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, no?

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:45 am

      That sounds terrible! All I care to do is walk around, talk to someone for 3-4 minutes, and then move along to another familiar face. If I was forced to sit and listen in a setting like that, I’d ask for a refund and invite my group of friends to join me at Wahoo’s (or In-N-Out) where we could catch up.

  • Reply Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby October 23, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I still live in the same town I did growing up and I regularly run into people I went to high school with. Due to face book, I probably wouldn’t want to go to my reunion because if there is anyone I want to catch up with I can. $500 is a lot of money, would you also be able to see your family? If you were also able to spend time with family I would definitely say that it is worth it. Then again we are talking about taking a 30 hour car ride so that Emmett can meet family in Maine (I know, we’re crazy).

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:50 am

      I’d be able to see my grandma, so that’s another perk of the trip. And since we’ve been out on the east coast for so long (until recently), I haven’t been back “home” for a while.

      30 hours… I can’t even begin to imagine that with our girl. Driving time is definitely one of those things that gets exponentially worse after you cross 10 hours.

      • Reply Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby October 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        Since you are able to also see your grandma, I would definitely say go. Grandmas don’t live forever. And it’s probably even more important to see your grandma if she hasn’t met Baby Girl yet.
        We have only taken an hour trip with Emmett so I am definitely leery of how 30 hours is going to go. Emmett loves car rides so hopefully 30 hours won’t be too bad.

  • Reply J.Mill October 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

    My mister dragged me to his reunion last year. He gave every reason in the book for wanting to go, but ultimately the real reason was he wanted to brag. We ended up going, despite my aversion, We only hung out with people we’ve seen several times since he graduated and just felt awkward/sorry for everyone else. There was only one other person at the reunion who got out of that small town and made a life for himself. He was just as stuck up as I’m sure we seemed.

    Overall it was an awkward, sad waste of money. We weren’t headed to a destination town, however, so maybe coupling yours with a fun SoCal trip would be different.

    I wouldn’t go to mine (next year) because all of my good friends have moved all over the country and it’d be more fun to see them in cooler places.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:53 am

      That’s actually a good point about seeing your friends in the “cooler places” they’ve landed. Lucky for me, most of my friends didn’t go anywhere, so LA is an A-OK place for me to take a weekend trip and get out of the winter chill in Utah. That aspect of the trip is definitely a major motivating factor.

  • Reply Mrs PoP October 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

    We had no desire to go to our reunions, but Mr PoP does spend about $500 every year to travel for a long weekend with his old HS crew. (They all went to separate schools, so a school reunion would be moot.) Figure out who you want to see and spend the money to see them. My impression was that the only people who went to the reunions were those who never moved away… And we never cared to keep in touch with them anyhow.

    • Reply Johnny October 24, 2013 at 2:56 am

      In this case, I’m more or less the lone outcast that moved away — which I’ve always been OK with. It seemed like a good deal to be able to see everyone in one fell swoop at a reunion. I’d much rather have a “bros” weekend, but I get the feeling Joanna would be even more opposed to that idea than the reunion.

  • Reply Emily @ evolvingPF October 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    We’re attending my 10 year HS reunion next month! I’M SO EXCITED! High school was great and I don’t see my friends from that period of my life nearly as often as I want to because we are scattered around the country. The tickets were pretty expensive ($190) for what we’re getting (just an evening, not even dinner). It’s over Thanksgiving weekend and we were planning on being in town anyway to visit my parents so there are no additional travel costs. It was really not much of a decision for us.

    My husband’s 10 year HS reunion was last month and we didn’t attend. We had a more important event going on that weekend, plus we would have had to buy the flights, plus he was not as pumped about the event as I am about mine. His friends mostly still live in that area so he gets to see them when he visits his parents, anyway.

    Our 5 year college reunion was last spring and we paid to fly out for that and had an amazing time. That was also an easy decision because of our shared experience at that school.

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:55 am

      You and Johnny are on the exact same page! His reunion is over Thanksgiving as well. So although I’d rather not be traveling over the break, it will be nice to not have to use much in the way of vacation days for the trip. And I think he’ll have a fun time!

  • Reply Rob October 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    We’re originally from Montreal (but years ago moved to Toronto). My younger bro (and family) still live in Montreal and once or twice a year I get down to see him and my mom, who also lives there. Over the years my bro has gone to a few school reunions but I’ve never gone to any of mine. Some of his old school buddies still live in Montreal but most of my old friends have, like me, long ago left the province of Quebec (due to various reasons) and are now all over the country. So it’s a toss-up. I would say that if you both are not on the same page on this one then it might be better to give it a pass (but later try and get some feedback on how the reunion turned out in case you might wish to later attend future reunions). Sound like a plan?

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:48 am

      I wish it were that simple! After talking this out extensively, we’re leaning toward going. It would mean a lot to Johnny, and I really love road trips. And since it only comes along every 10 or 15 years, I think we’ll probably end up going. But, I’m with you… I don’t see myself attending any of my own!

  • Reply Michelle October 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    My class hasn’t hosted any reunions yet (they keep skipping over them for some reason), so I’m not sure what I would do. I haven’t talked to anyone from high school in over 6 or 7 years though so it might be pointless.

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Well, I guess it’s easy to make the decision if there’s no reunion to begin with! :)

  • Reply Meghan October 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I really wanted to go to mine, but I was unable to. Many times, people don’t go when they live close. I don’t live near my old hometown, so I wanted to reconnect face-to-face, which is so much easier to do in a group environment than it is by scheduling 20 different get-togethers with friends that you’ve reconnected with via FB.

    My Mom went to her 40 year reunion and re-connected with all kinds of people. In fact, her old high school friends are her best friends again. One person in her group got cancer, and the entire group of ladies (and a couple gentlemen) went to California to help cheer her up and take care of her after chemo. They see each other at least once a year. I think it’s definitely worth it in many cases to go if your gut says to!

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:43 am

      Wow, that’s a really cool story about your mom and her HS friends! I think Johnny would really enjoy reconnecting with many people he used to be close with. And, like you said, it’s just easier to do it in a group setting. He’s always planned to go, so I don’t think it’s fair for me to keep him from it, even if I can’t really relate. So I guess we’ll be going!

  • Reply Tarynkay October 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    My graduating class didn’t hasn’t hosted any reunions, which is weird. I guess they started to plan one, then there was some epic fight about whether or not children would be allowed at the picnic before the reunion proper and it all fell apart. Then the high school was destroyed in a hurricane. I didn’t mind not going, I am still friends with the people I want to be friends with from high school.

    But if it is important to you, you should go! I don’t think this is really a money question, though if you are going to spend money on something, introducing your wife and child to your hometown is a really good something. Your ten year reunion happens only once.

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:37 am

      It sounds like your reunion was just not meant to be! 😉 But I’m glad you keep up with your good friends from high school… I’m terrible at that!

      I’m starting to realize that this is a one-time thing, so if Johnny wants to go, he should go. I declare Johnny winner of this debate!

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget October 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I didn’t go to my reunion and I live about 45 minutes away. While there were a few people it would have been nice to catch up with, there were definitely people I preferred not to see. That being said, I see my two really good friends from high school pretty often so I’m okay with not doing the high school reunion thing.

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:33 am

      That’s awesome you’ve been able to keep up with two of your good friends from high school. Johnny and I both moved far away and have never lived near our hometowns since. And while I don’t care to go to my own reunion, I think Johnny will have fun at his!

  • Reply EcoCatLady October 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Ha! Well, even though I still live in my hometown, I boycotted my first few high school reunions. High school was kind of a hard time for me so I didn’t really have any desire to relive it. But as time marched on I found myself wanting to reconnect with some old friends so I did go to my 25th.

    First thought. $65 is dirt cheap for a reunion! Mine was closer to $250, and that was just for the reunion itself – if I’d had to pay for hotels and transportation it would have been at least twice that and probably more. So kudos to whoever planned your reunion.

    Second thought. If you are gonna go, I’d do some advance planning and make sure that the people you really do want to see are going to be there. Because it would totally suck to spend all that time and money just to go hang out with a bunch of snobby jerks who wouldn’t give you the time of day back in high school (hmmm… perhaps my bad attitude about high school is showing?)

    Third thought. I wonder if all of those “vases” are being put to good use now that California has “medical” marijuana! :-)

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:30 am

      Good to hear his reunion price isn’t too outrageous. And great idea to make sure the people he wants to see will be there. I think he’s winning me over, so there’s a good chance he’ll be going!

  • Reply Diane October 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Personally, I’d go for it. I was pretty shy in high school, but I had fun at my 10 year reunion, seeing people I’d gone to grade school with, as well as high school. And it should be a fun family trip! $500 dollars is not that much in the big picture, given that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    • Reply Joanna October 24, 2013 at 2:20 am

      Good to hear, Diane! I think we are going to do it (he’s convinced me). It’s a one-time thing, and I think he’ll be happy he went.

  • Reply Caitlin T. October 24, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I didn’t attend my HS reunion as I was about to pop (with a baby!). However, I would say go for it! You’ll be able to make memories as a family in addition to the reunion aspect of it as well as get a little more confidence traveling with a baby, especially one that is teething. That alone is worth it! We’ve been taking long road trips with our son since he was 2 weeks old and that first trip was 12 hours in the car! He’s 22 months old now and we don’t even think twice about getting in the car for long periods of time and he’s a true road warrior! Enjoy!

    • Reply Johnny November 8, 2013 at 3:41 am

      I’m liking your thinking. I’m afraid to find out if our little girl is a road warrior or not, mostly because I think we might already know the answer… she’s not! At least yet. So there’s yet another good excuse to make this trip and begin whipping her into shape (figuratively, of course, just in case child services is lurking out there).

  • Reply Chris October 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    “Some classmates were finishing up the final contours of interesting looking “vases” that included strategically concealed holes.”
    I see what you did there.

    I’m 4 years away? Wow. Anyways, I haven’t thought about it much since I still live within walking distance (spitting distance, really) of my high school. I probably wouldn’t pay the price of admission. I didn’t participate in high school much. I worked a lot and sure I had friends, but I talk to 0 of them now (I think they are all ceramic vase specialists now). I made my real friends in college (because I was involved, you see). So my answer is no, I wouldn’t pay that. I would take the $500 and invest in something way cooler like…IDK DISNEYWORLD? or is it land? Maybe you can still go to Southern California but for something less John Cusack-y.

    Side Note: John Cusack is awesome though, amirite?

    • Reply Johnny November 8, 2013 at 3:45 am

      Once a ceramic vase specialist, always a ceramic vase specialist. And I was with you on putting the money into Disneyland until you threw out the Cusack reference, and then I totally swung back on going to the reunion. You blew your argument, man.

  • Reply Erica October 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I don’t think you have any justifications to make. In the end, is this important to you? Can you afford the trip without jeopardizing your financial situation? Can you remain unattached enough that even if your high expectations are not met, that your family could still create meaningful and lasting memories, even if it’s at the hotel pool? Then you should absolutely go- what else can you, or your wife for that matter, ask for?

    • Reply Johnny November 8, 2013 at 3:51 am

      Can we afford the trip — yes. Can we create a meaningful and fun trip, regardless of the reunion — probably, mostly depending on our little one’s ability to handle an 8-hour road trip. What else can we ask for — you stumped me, so we should go.

      That was really therapeutic, thank you. Please do this for every decision we have to make from here on out. :)

  • Reply Eve October 25, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I am facing something similar. I have my *40th* HS reunion next summer. I’m debating on whether to attend. It’s on the East Coast in the small town I grew up in, but I have lived now for over 35 years on the West Coast! I am in touch with most of my closest friends via email or Facebook already…so why should I go? I havent attended any of the reunions in the past…but something seems momentous about 40 years. I sure as heck don’t feel that old! I say skip it (yours) at this point– 10 years is too soon. Wait til your 20th… Your kiddo will be better able to handle your absence if you decide not to make it a family thing, and you both will appreciate the chance to get away. Love reading your blog, by the way.

    • Reply Johnny November 8, 2013 at 4:39 am

      Something totally seems momentous about 40 years. How cool! And it certainly puts into perspective my measly 10th. A 20th would definitely be much more interesting, so now I’ve got to weigh that out.

      Thanks for your comment, Eve!

  • Reply Anesha October 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I’m with J-Dawg (can I call you that?)

    But I had terrible memories of High School, and I moved to a new state my Junior year…So the people I grew up with are not the people I graduated with. Not only that but I was SO excited to get to “Adulthood” that I commonly deny the FaceBook requests from people I went to HS with. (Does that make me LAME?)

    I’ll take the mortgages, utility payments, and working for ‘Tha Man’ over text books, peer pressure and lousy youthful decisions any day of the week.

    Going to a reunion (my 10 year is next year) is not on my bucket list.

    Save the $500 to do something that’s actually fun.

    😉

    • Reply Johnny November 8, 2013 at 4:43 am

      Depends who you’re calling J-Dawg… :)

      Similar to you, I moved out of state in high school, but I was a senior. Not the most ideal time to be a new kid. I think that’s part of what makes me want to attend is that I didn’t really have any closure when high school was over because all my friends were graduating together and I was off in a different state with a bunch of kids I hardly knew.

      I certainly don’t dwell on that and I really haven’t thought about high school or the kids I knew until the 10-year invite came along. So if I don’t attend, I probably won’t think about it again until the next invite comes along in 10 more years.

  • Reply Yvann April 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Found this looking around some old posts on the site… I’m in suspense here! Did you go?

    • Reply Johnny May 10, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Hah, we did NOT end up going. I think work ended up getting in the way, so we didn’t have to make the hard choice. After looking at Facebook photos, it didn’t seem like I missed out on much, so mark a win in the Joanna column. :)

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