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August 31, 2011




For many adults, high school is a time they would rather not revisit. Some remember their adolescent years as traumatic and cringe at the prospect of seeing their peers ever again. So when a high school reunion rolls around, people come up with all kinds of excuses for not attending.

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page admits that it took him two decades to work up the courage to attend his class reunion — but he tells NPR's Neal Conan that he's glad he finally did it.

"The thing about reunions," Page says, "[is] you can clear a lot of the air with them."

Old humiliations keep too many people away from their reunions, he says. But if you find the courage to go, you might be surprised to hear some very heartfelt mea culpas from old nemeses.

"It's amazing how many apologies I heard," says Page. "One fellow came over — a white classmate — out of the blue, and apologized for being so racist 40 years ago."

On a lighter note, Page says he was also approached by two female classmates who wanted to apologize for bullying him whenever the teacher wasn't looking.

"Of course, I had totally forgotten this," he says. "Your parents are right when they say time heals all wounds, and wounds all heels ... The person who's the big shot now, or the cool girl ... 40 years later, it's Archie and Edith Bunker."

Of course, Page says, when it comes to angst-ridden teenagers, those platitudes often fall on deaf ears.

"This is why I think the [20-year] reunion is so important. Because by then, you've had kids of your own," Page says, "and you start to see how high school is always ridiculous, regardless of what generation happens to confront it."

If you do decide to go to your high school reunion, Page has one piece of advice: Never ask an old classmate if they remember you.

"First of all, if the other person does remember you, you don't need to ask because they're going to make it quite apparent," Page says. "If they don't remember you, then they are busily — with a big grin on their face — trying to talk their way around the fact that they don't."


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Replies to This Discussion

Just attended my 40th H.S. reunion - What a blast. I've gone to several earlier 10yr, 30yr, 35yr and now 40yr, damn I must be getting old!

I had some poetic justice delivered to me. I no longer drink and at the end of the evening one of the guests of one of my classmates had put away a few too many. I discovered him in a painfully awkward position - half in, half out of his date's SUV with vomit on the running board and unable to move - has a very bad back - after getting him out and flat on the ground his lady friend ask (ordered) us to get him in the truck - took 3 of us to lift him, screaming into the back seat.

Kinda sad story Charlie.  Yea, we might have done something stupid like that when we were in HS, but, good grief, he should know his limit by now...  But I'm curious why it was 'poetic justice?'  Give us the scoop....

I never go to highschool or college dos because the first thing i'm asked is ohhh what are you doing now ???

and I'm ashamed to tell the truth: nothing.

well, never been to one of these, primarily because i live 5000 miles away from my last high school. i dont remember what anyone i knew looked like or anyones names, cept for one older teacher, Mr Marx, lt commander in the naval reserve, who taught english, and is the only reason i still remember anything of shakespear.i wouldn't mind meeting him again. but that was over 40 years ago and the odds are hes passed away

my wife had a unpleasant experience at one and hasn't been to one since. 

i really dont see why anyone wud go. i can only assume that  after years the people have changed, and are different,  so i know longer know them. if i wanted to drink with a bunch of people i dont know, i can just go to a pub

and marianne, haha. nothings wrong with nothing

ah, no problem.  Many possible replies:

"What are you doing now?"

"I'm sipping this red wine, how about you?"

"I'm living my dream life, JOB FREE! WHOOOT! *TRY* not to be jealous."

"This week, i'm redecorating my living room, but next week, who knows?"

"I'm CEO of Barton Street, apt 1a, how about you?"

"Trying to find the ladies room.  Be right back."

"Thinking how good you look!  What do you do?"


...think up silly stuff, lol.

"I was just thinking how much fun it'd be to start tossing a large balloon across this crowd."

"I am a master synchronized swimmer, specializing in doing that all by myself though."

etc etc 

"I am working for world peace."

"Well, i resigned as head of Harvard University Law Dept, to spend more time with my dog.  How about you?"

etc etc etc. 

get them talking about THEM, lol...

I must say that I have zero desire to revisit people I went to school with nearly 40 years ago.  Zip interest.  I still have dear friends from HS, and friends that I've lost touch with over the years who I seriously doubt would show up at a reunion.  I hated my high school and 90% of my fellow classmates - period.


One of my HS friends tried to get me to go to the last reunion.  She's reconnected with lots of her fellow classmates on FB, and has struck up new friendships with them.  She remarkably remembers most ALL of them.  A few 'friended' me but I just pretend that I remember them...  They were just fellow classmates, not any of the real friends I had back then, some of which I would like to check up on.


My friend Beth is on the right, don't know who the other old ladies are, but they went to school with me...



OLD HS Classmates



I actually recall the lady on the right - Merle.  Would never, ever recognize her without her name-tag.



I remember the middle guy - David.  He does resemble his old self somewhat. 


Honestly, it's a SHOCK to see these photos, since they all look so very middle aged.  I never think of myself looking like THEM, except when I see that stranger in my mirror!  'Time Marches On'.....


awesome pics, Sydni! loved 'em!

This is not a formal HS reunion (these things do not exist back home in Uruguay), but a year ago we got together at the house of a friend in Montevideo, during one of my visits. This was the year we all turned 50. A few of these are really good friends and i have seen them on and off in my visits back home; but many of them I had not seen since we graduated. I would have recognized all of them with no problem. No big changes, except for a little aging. We posted this picture in Facebook and a few of our male friends from back then piped in to say that all we are missing is the uniform (yes, we had to go to school wearing a uniform) and we would look the same.

Nice looking group.  It's interesting to me that the women in the photos I posted look considerably better than most of the guys...  Hair dye, face lifts, miracle creams do wonders - haha

if i shaved id look much younger, my wife hates my beard, but i  figger, "why look younger"?if i give the impression, "i dont really want to talk to you" that's fine, i prolly dont. heh heh

great pic, looks so fun!

i LOOOOOOOVED my HS reunions, everyone should go!  total blast.  

absolutely fun fun fun evening.



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