School reunions are a tricky subject, some think they are good, and some bad, but that’s life all over. The main theme against is the ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ type of thing, to the downright ‘I didn’t like them at school so I won’t like them now’. On the other hand there are those who would love to catch up with old friends, yes to see how they look now and how they have fared in life compared to themselves.
So what’s the deal? Well I’ve organised 3 up to now and its been a few years since the last one, but that’s the rub you see, I’m being asked to do another, for the not so subtle reason that we are all getting older, as in old. I put a lot of work into organising the other 3, with the help of the internet but mostly through word of mouth. It was a hard slog to track down long lost school buddies, not least because a lot of the girls got married and changed their surnames.
I can’t remember the amount of time it took to assemble the first one, I wasn’t alone, I acquired a ‘committee’ a group of old school friends I actually kept in touch with and so could start the ball rolling so to speak. In fact the original idea wasn’t mine at all but a girl from our year who had tried, and failed, to get any response to a newspaper advert for a school reunion, so I said I would help and gradually took over the organisation.
The first one was in 2000 and exceeded all expectations, I even managed to find, and persuade a number of teachers to show up, they were elderly to say the least but all agreed to come along. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for was how emotional it all was, there was genuine affection for the teachers and the feeling was mutual. So many old school friends were glad to see each other after an absence of about 40 years that the whole evening went way over the arranged time.
Then there is the delicate nature of ‘how can your recognise anyone without making a total fool of yourself?’ Well I seem to have the ability to do that, only one person caught me out, and that was because I remember him with blonde hair and it was now dark so it took me a few minutes to work it out. We hired a couple of pub/bar rooms, one for the get together and the other for peoples school reports/memorabilia and old pictures which I thought about during arrangements.
The response was amazing, pictures I had never seen before, and definitely don’t remember even though I’m in them. A lot of school reports, yes mine did say ‘must try harder’ along with other memorabilia which was all worth seeing. But the main theme was, yes it was a good school, it was old and lacking in even basic facilities, outside toilets but we loved the place and the teachers who taught us and that showed through on this particular evening.
During my many hours tracking down people, only 2 refused outright to attend, out of about 70. One just said ‘not my thing’ the other said they would be on holiday at the time, maybe they were maybe there weren’t. But all the others had no such qualms in fact they seemed grateful someone was bothering to do one.
The evening ended with a promise to do it again, and I have known this well intentioned scenario before, it just never happens. But this time it did, twice more and now its time to do another, next year. So I have to dig out all my all correspondence, type out a news letter and get the ball rolling once again. I will hopefully reconvene the ‘committee’ and see how it goes from there.
But its tinged with sadness as two teachers, who previously attended, have passed away as have a couple of old school friends so as not to put too fine a point on the subject, time is of the essence. Maybe the response may not be so overwhelming this time, I know from experience that events in our lives means that its just not possible to meet up again for whatever reason, but it won’t stop me trying.
And then there is the unknown, I don’t actually know who is still with us to be blunt, I have the old names and addresses, telephone numbers and the such, but all that information may be way out of date, its like fog, you move along slowly as you can’t see what’s ahead, I just hope that when the fog clears I can organise a reunion as good as the previous 3.