Saturday, June 19, 2010

Class Reunions - To Go or Not to Go - That is the Question

One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Berg.

She lives in a suburb of Chicago with her dog and cat. Elizabeth loved writing from the time she could hold a pencil. At the young age of nine, she submitted a poem to American Girl magazine. When the rejection letter came in the mail, she threw herself down on the bed and proclaimed that "she was NEVER writing again!"

It took her 25 years before she submitted anything again. It was for a contest in a magazine....and she won! She wrote for magazines for 10 years, then moved onto novels and 22 books later (one of which is a non-fiction book on writing) hasn't looked back.

I just finished reading her newest book, "The Last Time I Saw You."

It is about a 40th class reunion and centers around five different characters - their preconceived notions of what will happen at the reunion, how their lives changed from high school, what actually happens at the reunion, and how their lives change from it.

This led me to think of the reunions I have attended.

When you receive that invitation to the reunion in the mail, do you stop and wonder if you should attend? Who will be there? What will they look like? Will you old boyfriend(s)/girlfriend(s) be there? There is a lot of angst in attending a reunion, I think. At least with my class reunions, I can go with my twin sister, Pam. Plus I still am friends with a couple of people from high school. So I don't have to walk in not knowing anybody.

At our first High School reunion (10 years), Pam had painstakingly picked out a dress that she thought flattered her figure. She found out she was wrong the hard way.

She went into the restroom and entered one of the stalls. A woman in the next stall (who happened to be an ex-"Rah-Rah" - what we called the cheerleaders) and someone whom Pam disliked all through high school, piped up, "So, Pam, when are you due?"

Pam, being ever the clever one quipped, "Due for what? A vacation?"

"No. When is the BABY due?" The Rah-rah insisted on continuing this bogus point.

"I'm not pregnant."

"Oh, I'm SO sorry." Rah-rah replied. (NOT)

"Not as sorry as you're going to be when I get out of here!" Pam hissed. She heard the toilet suddenly flush and the clickity-clop of heels as Rah-rah hurried out of the bathroom.

Pam had a good laugh. You may remember her in my post Meet My F***ing Twin Sister.

Later on that evening, everyone was trying to figure out who the lady was with gray hair cut into a bob. Was she a teacher? Nobody seemed to remember a teacher looking like that. Then you could hear the whispers. It was Dee Dee So-and-so! Oh My God! When she was in high school, she had the most beautiful blue/black hair down to her waist. Ten years later? Totally gray and short. Now that's radical.

At 10 years, everyone's still out trying to prove themselves and the clicks are still in existence.

At 20 years, people are getting more settled and less clickish and more plump.

At 30 years, you don't recognize ANYBODY (thank GOD for name tags) and pretty much everyone has let go of their dreams.

At my ex-husband's reunion, a former classmate named "Paul" came back as "PaulA". Yep. Had the whole sex change and everything. Paula was married and had three children (from her husband's first marriage.) Gotta give the old gal credit for showing up. One problem - the name tag had Paul's high school picture on it. "Paula" did win the category for "Most Changed", though!

It's awkward to bring your spouse to your reunion; yet I didn't want to send Jim alone to his. Hmmmmm......

We went to a couple of Jim's class reunions. The last one made me a wee bit angry.

Let me explain.

You see, there was this divorcee name Gladys.

I KNOW. Who names their kid Gladys?

The only Gladys I know is Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor from Bewitched.

Back to my story.

So this hussy woman set her sight on Jim, even though, hello, I'm right there, AND he's married. Did this stop her? Uh, NO.

We ran into her the first time and Jim introduced us, badda bing, badda boom. Done.

We mingled with other people, ate, then Jim said he needed to get some coffee. I sat there waiting, with a smile pasted on my face, since I didn't know ANYBODY, and I wasn't even FROM the area.

Oookay, I can do this.

A few minutes ticked by and no Jim.

About 10 minutes had passed and now I'm ticked.

Where the heck was he? I cranked my neck around looking for him. I saw small groups of people laughing and talking. No Jim. Finally I spied the coffee pot, and there was Jim talking to - you guessed it - the whore Gladys.

Now you might think I'm coming down a little hard on her. No, no I don't think so. Because here's what happened next.

I immediately jumped up and ran over to rightfully claim what was mine. I didn't pack my Wonder Woman suit or I would have thrown that on for good measure.

Jim saw me approach and said, "Oh hi Hon!" like nothing was the matter. (Boy men are sure stupid!) (Sorry to all my male followers.) (Course Jim was doing nothing wrong here - Gladys was the one licking her lips.)

I threaded my claw arm through his and faced Gladys with a look that said, "Bring it on, Biatch!"

And do you know what she said?

She said, "Jim is one wonderful guy!"

I spit back, "I KNOW. Why do you think I MARRIED him?"

I'm sure Jim was loving every minute of this. He was just waiting for a cat fight to break out.

But it didn't stop there.

Gladys continued. "So Jim, do you ever travel to the Minneapolis area?"

"Yes I do," Jim answered as my nails dug into his arm.

"Well, you should look me up some time!"

Oh no she didn't!

Why, yes, yes she did.

Now I've told you all in the past that I'm a complete wuss, but at that moment, I really might have punched this woman in the face over my man. I.Kid.You.Not.

Jim kind of laughed awkwardly and then we turned and left.

But the story doesn't end there.

We were staying with Jim's parents in a teeny tiny town, population of 100. During the night someone came and stole our tire right off of the car. Not only that, but they went behind the house and gathered up some firewood to put under the axle so we wouldn't know that the tire was stolen till we came out of the house.

It happened to be the day we were leaving, the morning after the reunion. Jim and his dad carried out our bags. I walked around the car and saw the missing tire.

"WHAT?" I screamed. "Why didn't they just take all four tires?"

Jim and his dad dropped the bags in the driveway and walked over to me,then looked on in astonishment.

Meanwhile the garbage truck pulled up and mistook our luggage as garbage.

Luckily my mother-in-law was on the ball and yelled out for them to stop.

I can not make this crap up.

My brother-in-law heard about the tire incident. Nothing EVER happened in the small town. This was BIG NEWS.

"Wow," he said to me, "Who'd Jim piss off at the reunion last night to make them steal your tire?"

"Only me, only me!" I replied.

Note: Because we didn't have a full size spare, we ended up driving two hours on the little "donut" tire, taking one lug nut from each of the other tires,just to get to a place that had a used tire and rim. Fun times.


Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

OMG - that is so funny - sorry to laugh, but you do find yourself in the darndest situations. I would have loved to have seen your face to find that tire missing. Wonder if Gladys did it, for real... Probably, or at least she knows who did it.

My 10 year reunion was much like yours. My 20 year reunion there were girls who were having their first babies. heck, mine were half grown and I was very thankful! Couldn't imagine choosing to start my family at 37-38. (Not saying things to those who, for one reason of another, had to wait or fate kept them childless that long, but these girls were the ones who didn't want to mess up their bodies by getting pregnant. I have relatives who longed for babies from very early ages and those situations are very sad and no matter their age, we all welcomed their babies.)

I didn't go to my 30 year reunion.

Nancy said...

LOL! OMG - I think I would rather move again then go to a high school reunion! I have absolutely no desire to revisit high school, even though it was really okay, not nasty or anything. I'm just happy to leave experiences and people behind when the time comes.

Rae said...

I have never been to a class reunion and now I know why. You have cited every reason to avoid them. Just a bunch of gossips standing around wanting to pick you apart behind your back. No thanks - I don't need it. Too bad about your experiences, but it sure gave me a laugh. I love how you tell a story.

Brian Miller said...

omg. lol. this is why i have never been to a that and i have no real desire to see anyone that i dont make it a point to.

Mary said...

For the most part my experience was just the opposite of everyone else. I was a nerd in 10 year reunion was proof I was no longer a nerd. I didn't go to my 20 or 30 year reunion. My 40 year one was 10 years ago and I had an AWESOME time. Everyone sheds all their ideas about everyone else...we were a small class (less than 150) and most everyone came. And there wasn't that clickish feeling that went with H.S. or the nervousness of the first reunion or trying to impress anyone. Now we are all planning our 50th (YIKES, are we really that old?) and we're all in touch with each other and great friends.

Eva Gallant said...

She was one forward hussy! I don't blame you for being pissed! Now you've got a new follower!

Mama Zen said...

And that is why I will never attend a reunion!

Betty said...

Bad experiences indeed, sorry but they made me laugh.
Your sense of humour unfailing, Pat.
Great read!! :)

~B xx

A New England Life said...

I didn't go to the 10 year reunion because I knew it would be too clicky. My husband and I went to the 20 year one though and had a great time! Funny but I socialized with women who I had nothing to do with in high school. Had even hoped we would have a 25th year reunion but that didn't happen.

You're right though, it was difficult to recognize some people, especially the men!

Girl, don't be so jealous. Jim wouldn't mess around on you. He knows he's got a good thing! My husband and I try to take that stuff as a compliment ; )

Allen said...

OMG - that is just too crazy. It sounds like you should have punched her in the face. At least it would have been worth the stolen tire.

I have never been to a class reunion. I am glad too. LOL

Bossy Betty said...

Oh my gosh! You really know how to tell a story! I believe ALL of it though!

Joann Mannix said...

OK, first of all, that is one crazy-ass hilarious story. I love stories like that!

And Elizabeth Berg? I kiss her books when I finish reading them. They're like a treasure just waiting to be opened.

My class reunion is coming up in July. My class was a very tight knit group which is weird because we were huge, one of the largest classes in the nation at the time, over 1200 kids. We've been having reunions every 10 years and my husband and I have been to every one of them. He has as much fun as I do, but that's him. I didn't have any fun at the one of his we went to. It was bad, his entire class looked like they'd forgotten to leave the 80's with their big, oversprayed hair and bad fashion.

I'm furiously trying to get back in shape for the July reunion. Now, if I just had time for that face lift...

Valerie said...

Ooo Pat, you haven't changed at all while I've been AWOL. Loved this post. I've so missed reading about your (hilarious) travels. Thanks for finding me, I had to give up the Ramblings blog because of an annoying blogger. Notified a lot of people that I was moving but not too many continued visiting. See you on your next post. Reunion hugs from me.

Jingle said...

Happy Father's Day to Dads in your life!

SquirrelQueen said...

Jim had to love the experience of two women fighting over him. Your reunions were what I imagine mine would have been like. Of course I moved to Alaska to avoid all of mine!

charmine. said...

Pat!Long time NO see,lol.Hope your doing good.Loved THIS POST,soooooo funny!

We don't have reunions here.But to answer your question....yes,you should go, be yourself and enjoy the party. Buy a great dress,high heels and style your hair to look hip & fab.You can do this.

btw...Jim won't be able to take his eyes off you...and do let us know how it went.

Meeko Fabulous said...

You're a riot! LoL! :) And what important lesson did I learn from this? Don't go to class reunions. :)

Snowflake said...

I loved the book, just finished reading it a couple weeks ago!!!
I have had 2 school reunions, went to both, didn't take my husband either time!!! I had a great time with old girlfriends (actually at our 30th reunion none of us took our spouses) and had a few surprises.
At our 30th my dearest friend and I went to the registration the first evening and there was a crowd mingling outside. We hugged and greeted everyone including a " male stranger" without a name tag. He seemed to know us but neither of us could place him. As the evening progressed we watched this male trying to figure out which of our classmates he might be (we didn't recognize his wife so decided it must have been his reunion). Other girlfriends arrived and they joined us in our stalking of this poor guy. Eventually he came over to visit with our table and the mystery was was my friend's high school sweetheart!! We never did admit that we didn't know him when we arrived!!

becky said...

Why do some women (and men) behave that way!? (I'm talkin' about Gladys) I went to my 10 year... but haven't been since... holy crap, I just realized I've been out of HS for 25 years!?! What!?!!