Life is funny. I waited a long time to get a Facebook account, and I’m still totally lame when it comes to working all the technology and keeping up with stuff that changes on line… But who knew that it would be the big ice breaker for my 30th high school reunion. Nearly a year ago, two of my ex-classmates started planning our class’ 30th reunion, back in my home state of Massachusetts. Part of the planning was a Class of 1981 reunion page, and that’s where the party started.
I grew up on the south shore, in the small town of Scituate. The reunion is in Plymouth, because here weren’t any hotels in Scituate, that could manage our group. We’re all old enough and wise enough to not want to drink and drive; and we’re all old enough and wise enough to know we’ll drink. This is and always was a party crowd. Some things don’t really change. What has changed is that we all started the party on Facebook and then got to just pick up mid-sentence, in person. The FB reunion page that our Prom Queen and King (hailed such for all the hard work they did to organize all of us) started up, has been a place for all of us to initially check in and discuss whether we were coming. We then began posting old pictures and sharing tales from our youth.
For a while it was like we were back in school as everyone fell back in to their initial tribes. However, as the weeks flew by and we all began to make reservations and book the hotel, the dialogue took on a new feel. People who hadn’t been friends in high school; who hadn’t kept in touch for all these years; people like me, who maybe hadn’t thought much about any of that, began to ask “what have you been doing?” “Where do you live?” “What’s up?” I found myself up late at night “chatting” with people who I felt tied to by a shared, ancient history, but who were now new friends for all intents and purposes. We began to fill in the blanks and forge new alliances and bonds. We began to connect on a new playing field.
So, when we got together last night at a classmate’s house, near the beach in Plymouth, it was like walking in to a room full of old friends and picking up mid-sentence… mid-Facebook sentence. People were commenting on so and so’s latest pictures, the comment so and so posted earlier and the funny responses, and we all felt like we’d passed go and were jumping right in, where we left off. Only, for some of us, it was a whole new jumping-off point. I don’t really remember a lot of the same things some of my classmates remember from high school; I was not there or have forgotten. However, I was there when they posted their latest vacation pictures or laughed about losing weight before the reunion tonight.
Very few are bringing spouses, a smart thing it seems. It’s strange enough bridging the 10, 20 or 30 year gap that exists, depending on which other reunions you came to and who you connected with then,without trying to make your spouse or partner feel comfortable as well. Who would? I know that when I attended the 10th and 20th (a decade girl), I felt pretty out of my own little loop. I had been in touch with 4 people since high school and I stuck like glue to them. With no electronic ice breaker, we didn’t have all this pre-reunion catching up and I just didn’t know where to start. So I pretty much stayed in one spot most of the night, enjoyed the people I already knew and didn’t take any steps forward.
I was also still working through old high school anticipations and issues and probably wasn’t ready to see things with a fresh perspective. The FB angle has done away with so much of that. I came in to this knowing that I’m not the only one who was feeling a little bit grayer than I’d like to be; I’m not the only one who doesn’t weigh what I did in high school; I’m happy to joke about that and have some fun with it. These shared insights, helped level the playing field for so many of us. We arrived at the bonfire last night, ready to start fresh and not judge. By the time our pre-party ended last night, we had become a whole new tribe: having spent an entire night laughing our heads off and breaking the ice that we would have broken tonight. By the end of the night we were all “friending” new old friends and waiting to see each other tonight, for the real reunion.
While I may think that FB isn’t the greatest thing for everyone, it’s a real benefit to the whole social networking aspect of re-connecting with people who you may never have wondered about again, or ever seen. It’s a pay day for reunions. As I iron my dress and get ready to go downstairs, I’m excited and ready to continue the dance. When I get my first cocktail, I wont be worrying about who to share it with, or hoping (honestly) that it loosens things up. When we’re all dancing to the band and then the playlist I put together from our era (AC/DC, Aerosmith, Blondie, Bay City Rollers, Cure, Depeche Mode, The Police, etc) , I wont feel as concerned about how silly I look. We’re all going to be silly together. I am looking forward to catching up with all kinds of people I loved in high school and just as many I hardly knew then. Now, they all seem like old friends and I can’t wait!
Have you gone to a reunion recently? How did it go? What was good or bad about it? Did you find that re-connecting on line first, helped? Weigh in and share a comment. If you liked this post, please hit the Like button below, or pass it on, with Share button.