My High School Reunion Experiences

50th Reunion Picture of Burlington High School Class of 1962

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My High School Life

Although many people are getting reconnected on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, many more are still hesitant to attend their 30 or 50 year high school reunion. This hub will examine high school reunions through my personal experiences.

From 1958 until 1962 I attended a small high school in a rural area of Wisconsin. Looking back on those years, high school was not the most enjoyable time of my life. Even though I was on the varsity football team, an honor student, and active in drama and speech clubs, kids regarded me as a poorly dressed, socially inept nerd. Throughout high school, I never had a girl friend or attended school dances. Living on a farm, I had to help with the milking both early in the morning and early in the evening every day. There was no time or transportation to go into town and socialize with my classmates. My only motivation is high school was to be the number one student in class and get into college.

High School Reunion Experiences

Not Attending High School Reunions

Why haven't you attended your high school reunions?

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Reasons For Not Attending A High School Reunion


In the winter of 1992 mom informed me that she had received a letter from some of my high school classmates. They had contacted my mother, because they didn't have my current address at that time. According to Karen, the graduating class of 1962 was holding a 30 year reunion back in Burlington in August. I was invited to the reunion.

When hearing the news about the reunion, my first reaction was not to attend. I did not want to attend the reunion probably for the same reasons most people don't attend theirs. Yes, I was living out of state 800 miles away at the time. That, however, was not one of the main reasons why my gut reaction was initially not to attend. The reasons for not attending and why others are probably hesitant to go to their reunions are as follow:

1. Fear of Losing Face by Not Living Up to High School Expectations:

I graduated from high school as valedictorian of my senior class. Most classmates expected me to become a doctor, because I had told them all that was my profession of choice. In my high school year book, I can still see the entry of one student writing that I would have many degrees after my name in the future. No, I didn't become a doctor, and I have only earned a bachelors degree in my life. How could I face my classmates after having failed at what I set out to do as a high school senior?

2. Not Being Socially Active in School:

Throughout high school I was more or less a social doughnut. I had a handful of friends, and never had a girl friend. Junior and senior class proms as well as homecoming dances never meant anything to me, because I was a shy, socially inept person who had no self-confidence.

3. Kids Didn't Like Me in School:

I remember a lot of kids not liking me due to my personal appearance and body odor. Because I helped my parents with farm chores every morning, my clothes and body often smelt like cows. I still can recall one freshman kid calling me "smudge pot." A lot of kids also didn't like me because I was too straight and never misbehaved. Throughout high school I was one of only a few students who never had a detention.

4. High School Classmates Have No Place in My Life Today:

Before I attended my high school reunion, I hadn't seen my former classmates in 30 years. They weren't part of my life at that time, and how could they possibly be part of my life in the future.

Ellen Hosts Her 30-Year High School Reunion

High School Reunion Experiences

In August of 1992 I attended my 30 year high school reunion. On the eve of the reunion, I recall running into one of my classmates on the reunion committee in a bar in my hometown. Still recognizing me, she was very thankful that I could find the time to attend. When I told her I was at first hesitant to come to the reunion, she replied that other classmates had felt the same as me.

On Saturday evening I went to the reunion which was held in a supper club outside of Burlington. To my dismay, I couldn't recognize any of my old classmates, and I was calling them by the wrong names. In the end, it didn't matter, because everyone was given name tags to wear. To my disappointment, only 20 out of 125 classmates showed up at the reunion. During the two to three hour dinner and dance, I learned a lot about some of my old classmates which made the reunion a quite positive experience. I came away from the reunion that evening with the following positive observations:

1. It Is Not Important to Live Up to High School Expectations:

After talking to many of my classmates, it didn't matter to them whether or not I was a doctor. It didn't matter to them that my first marriage failed. They were just as interested and intrigued to hear about my work with the federal government in Washington, D.C.. This made me feel very good about myself. I also learned that a lot of other people didn't accomplish what they set out to do after graduation, and that others had gone through divorces.

2. Classmates Accepted Me Socially:

I had a helluva great time at the reunion party. Everyone intermingled with me in lively, stimulating conversation, and some of the unattached classmates even asked me to dance.

3. Many Classmates Can Still Have a Place in My Life:

It surprised me that many classmates had experienced the same career disappointments, family problems, employment, and travel that I had. Some of us had the same interest in sports, especially the guys who were my football teammates. I exchanged addresses and telephone numbers with some classmates, and they have been in contact with me up until today.

4. 50th High School Reunion

My 50th high school reunion was held in September of 2012. I was unable to attend due to a work commitment in Thailand where I was teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL.) My greetings were sent to my classmates, and they responded by sending me some pretty cool pictures and summaries of their life experiences after high school. Now I will be able to stay in contact with former old classmates.

Attending a 30 or 50 year high school reunion can be a positive, enjoyable experience. It is a lot easier to arrange today with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.


© 2011 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Comments 31 comments

PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

Hi Paul, here we are 10,000 miles from home and we what do we do? We think about those old times back home. I went to my 25 year reunion and the 50 is coming up in a few. With some folks it was 1965 again and with others I didn't have a clue who they were. The hardest part for me was not recognizing people that remembered me so intensely it scared me. Maybe the 50 will be better. Thanks for the memories, Peter


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for the comments, Peter. I am seriously considering going to my 50 year reunion, if there is one. We have an alumni website, but the latest I looked, only two other classmates and myself were members.


weestro profile image

weestro 5 years ago from Virginia

Great Hub, High School was a different experience for everyone. It's fun to see how different people are today, I went to my 10yr but decided I wouldn't be back for a while.


PaulGoodman67 profile image

PaulGoodman67 4 years ago from Florida USA

Great account. I have never attended a reunion, although I have been in touch with other people from my school via websites like Friends Reunited and more recently, social networking sites (I am a Brit living in the USA). I am happy to leave the past behind me in some ways. I enjoyed reading your account, however - I suppose a lot of people experience problems such as divorce and career setbacks, they are the trials of life, I guess.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for the favorable comments, Paul. I would like to attend my 50 year reunion, but there are only 3 out of 120 in my class who are on our school alumni website.


sally 4 years ago

haha nice article.. check this out, this is funny: http://sanialali.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/seven-co...


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for the favorable comment, Sally. Yes, the Third Eye article is funny.


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

I really enjoyed my reunion!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Angela, I'm glad you had a good time. My 50th is in Septembert, but I'll probably have to miss it due to a teaching commitment in Thailand.


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

I am sharing this!!! Perfect time of year for this!


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Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Angela,

Thank you very much for reading, your comments, and sharing this hub.


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 4 years ago from Cape Cod

Paul, thanks for the great read. I went to my 40th reunion and found that everyone else had gotten old. I skipped my 50th reunion because I found that I too had gotten old. My 60th will be in about six more years and I will probably go to that one because I will be in my second childhood by then.


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Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Bill. The way you are writing now I think it will be a long time before you reach your second childhood.


Doodlehead profile image

Doodlehead 4 years ago from Northern California

This hub was fun to read.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Doodlehead,

Thanks for reading and your encouraging comment.


Mohan Krishna 4 years ago

Hi Paul, Nice article. Actually I'm planning to take the charge of hosting the 1st Reunion of our. Hoping it will take off nicely......


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Mohan,

Thanks for reading this hub and your nice comments. I hope your 1st reunion is a smashing success!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

My siblings usually attend their class reunions, but I have been to only one and it was no fun at all. It was the 10 year reunion and everyone there was still feeling hoity-toity.

Haven't bothered to keep in touch with a single one and have no idea if they ever lost their pompous attitudes. Not to say they were all arrogant, but most of them were.

Given that many of my previous classmates remain big toads in a small puddle (population 6-700 YEE-HAW!), I think their self-importance is probably still a bit inflated.

Very good hub and nice that you shared your experience. Maybe other people will be inspired to give their class reunions a try if they haven't already. Voted up, interesting, and will share!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Au fait,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. My high school years weren't the happiest of my life because I was excluded from a lot of social activities because I lived in the countryside and came from a poor family. For a long time I resisted attending any reunions until I went to my 30th. At that reunion I found that many of my old classmates had moved away from the small town and had had some of the same experiences as me. Not many people brought up any of the old high school experiences. I'm happy you liked my hub and found it interesting. I really appreciate you sharing it.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

great hub. My ex-schoolmates organized yearly school reunion but I never turn up either. Had the same feelings that you had mentioned in your hub and up till now, I can't erase that feelings. Thanks for voicing out yr thoughts. Congrats that yr hub had been nominated as Hub of the day. Voted up


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

peachpurple,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy you liked my reunion experiences, and didn't realize that it had been nominated as Hub of the day. I appreciate your encouragement and support.


vandynegl profile image

vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

Good hub! It shows that we all mature as we age, which is a good thing!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Vandyneg,

I appreciate your compliments on this hub. Yes, we certainly do mature as we age, otherwise I never would have attended the reunion.


Joy Beer 3 years ago

Thank you for writing this, Paul. Your high school experience was much like mine, and I just googled to see how one handles this. I am going to my 30th in 1/2 hour, and I am sick with worry. I know they are grown up and kind women, but I am scared. I'll take some courage and go now.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Joy,

Thanks for reading this hub, and I really appreciate your comments. I hope your 30th reunion was an enjoyable experience for you. Please tell me how it went.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas

Think it was my 10 year reunion I attended and then only because the reunion was held in the same place as a wedding reception I was attending. Haven't had contact with many of my classmates since.

While all the cattle were gone by the time I was in high school, I still lived on the farm out in the country and wasn't allowed to go out and do anything with classmates. Not school sponsored events or anything else. The closeness a few of us had from starting out in the first grade was watered down by the kids we were mixed in with in high school. Several of my classmates have died in accidents. I don't think anyone has been super successful.

It's a long way from Texas to Wisconsin to meet with people who were never really friends, whom I never really knew very well. To make matters worse, they now mix 3 grades together for the reunions, and I knew the kids a year ahead and a year behind even less well.

You make some good points in this article. I think as we get older we fine tune what really matters and often wonder why we ever cared about some things in the first place. People are people wherever you go, which I'm sure you have discovered better than a lot of people having traveled a lot and living outside the U.S. I'd like to h0pe older people have more interest in substance and less interest in appearance.

Voting this up, UI, pinning to Awesome Hubpages, and sharing with followers.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 21 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

It looks like your high school life was very similar to mine. I basically was stuck on the farm helping in the barn and fields. Actually, dad wouldn't let me get a driver's license until I was 18 right before the start of college. At my 30th reunion, I also learned that older people are more interested in substance and less in appearance. Thanks for voting this hub it, pinning it, and I'm especially grateful for you sharing it with followers.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

I have never attended any of my high school reunions and they just held #50. I have kept in touch with several friends all these years from those days however. Enjoyed hearing about it from your perspective.

I have seen some photos on facebook and realize that I probably would not recognize any of them. Ha! I just shut down my facebook account after reading the following: GET YOUR LOVED ONES OFF FACEBOOK. You can Google it. I was never that active on it anyway.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 21 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Peggy, Thank you very much for your perspective on high school reunions and sharing your experiences. I will read your suggested article and see why you shut down your Facebook account.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 21 months ago from Niagara Region, Canada

Nice to see you had a good time. It's funny what we hold onto from those high school days. I've been out of high school for 27 years and still think the same about some of my classmates. It's amazing we don't realize people grow up and become great human beings.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 21 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&klidstone1970 Yes, it is amazing that as older people we look on others in a much more understanding way than when we were in high school. I regret missing my 50th reunion, but if there is another one, I am definitely attending. Thanks for your comments.

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