Attending your High School reunion…yes or no?

So the other day I got an email inviting me to my 40th High School Reunion.

Yeah, I know. That was my reaction, too. I was like, 40 years??!!! You’ve got the wrong chick, dude. I graduated, like, a minute ago.

Um. No. No, I didn’t. The invitation was correct, much to my disgust. I really did graduate from high school in 1978.

Egads. Where did that time go? That’s best left for another blog post, I feel.

Anyway, the invitation.

I’m gonna be honest and tell you my gut instinct was to delete the email. I haven’t gone to one reunion yet and seriously, don’t plan on ever going to one. High school was an absolutely miserable 4 years of existence for me that basically just dragged on until I could graduate, get the hell out of there,  scream “See ya, soul-suckers,” at my classmates, and start the life I’d been dreaming of. Why, oh why, would I ever want to go back to revisit that horrible time?

My teen years were not, to be brutally honest, my glory days. I was grossly overweight; wicked smart; the teachers liked me because I was smart and the kids all hated me for the same reason. I had no friends to hang out with during or after school. Needless to say a boy never liked me as a girl. In truth, no boy even ever pretended to like me so that I would help them with their homework, or study for a test. It kind of makes a huge statement when a guy doesn’t even pretend to be nice to you so he can get something out of it. Think about that.

I wore thick, ugly, cheap eye glasses because we couldn’t afford anything nicer; I’d never been able to have my ugly, mal-aligned teeth straightened because we couldn’t afford braces; and my last name was different from my mother’s during a time that wasn’t the norm. Most of my clothes were bought at the Salvation Army or GoodWill, and my hair was not what it is today: namely sleek and cared for. Back then I went completely gray at 16 and had begun dying my hair using crap over the counter products that would lead to my loosing all my hair years later. Again, a blog post for another time.

So. High School. Not my favorite part of life.

When the 10th reunion invitation came in the mail ( and yes, it came via pony express because no one had email in 1988) I tore it up and tossed it immediately. I was 28, newly married, and couldn’t be bothered reliving those horrific days.

When the 20th came along, I was 38, a mother and couldn’t even think of leaving my young daughter or my husband for a weekend in which I’d feel all those feelings of inadequacy again. Same thing when the 30th rolled around.

I did toy with idea of going to the 30th though, but it was for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to reconnect with old friends ( didn’t have any, remember?) No, if I was going to go it was purely to shove in the faces of everyone who’d been mean to me  back then what my current lifestyle was. Gone was the obese, myopic, shy and scared teenager of old, replaced by a thin, confident, contact lenses wearing, spouse of a famous and revered doctor and a respected member of my community. I’d sat on several boards of directors; I’d gotten my Masters degree; I was a many-times over published non-fiction/magazine article writer. I was a success. And I wanted to go to rub their noses in it. I wanted those cliquey- uber popular, cool-set girls to choke on all the nasty names they’d called me, gag on the times they’d whispered and laughed about what I was wearing, and to basically feel less than, just as they’d made me feel all those years ago. I wanted all those boys who’d never noticed me to, well, notice me now!  I wanted to tell them: see? Look what you missed out on, dude. You could have had all this! But…I didn’t  because those were the wrong reasons to go. I’m not a spiteful person, or at least, I try not to be. If I’d gone with that attitude I figured I was mimicking all that bad high school behavior I despised, so I stayed home instead.


Remember I told my initial reaction when the 40th invite came was to delete it? I didn’t. I let it sit in my email box for a few days before I opened it. Then I clicked on to the electronic RSVP. Attached to the invite was a list of people who’d already committed to going. I scrolled through the hundreds of names and you know what? I didn’t recognize one of them. For the women, the maiden and married names were listed, so I was able to see the name they’d had back then. Not a single name -nor picture – was familiar. I dug out my high school yearbook from the old trunk I’d stashed it in years ago and put the back-then faces to the names and faces on the rsvp. Still, no recognizable ones. I started to think about what I would do if I did, in fact, recognize someone who’d been mean to me back then. Time and wisdom are amazing, because it dawned on me that I’d feel nothing. Nothing acrimonious, nothing negative. These people don’t mean anything to me. They didn’t then and they don’t now. So, I asked myself, why? Why would I go? Why would I give up a weekend to sit and visit with people who mean nothing to me? It would, in all honesty, be a waste of my precious time. Time I could spend with the people who do mean something to me.
The answer is : I Wouldn’t.

I deleted the invitation after ticking off the RSVP box that said:  NO/Will not attend.

It was the right thing, for me, to do. It will be interesting to see how I feel in 10 years when the 50th rolls around.

Hmmm…. another blog post for sure about that.

I can’t be the only person on the planet person who hated high school, nor can I be the only one who’s never gone to a reunion.  Thoughts? Stories? Comments? Feel free to comment below.


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8 responses to “Attending your High School reunion…yes or no?

  1. lydiaschoch

    No, you’re definitely not the only person who had a tough high school experience or who feels this way. I happily skipped my 10th reunion and at this point am planning to do the same for all future reunions.

    Like you, it’s simply not a chapter of my life I have any interest in revisiting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa Keir

    I didn’t attend my 5, nor 10, nor 20. You get the idea. I graduated with the class before me since I was so smart to graduate at 16. My town was small, so I knew them but what was the point in going. I was in another state and had a different life. I went to my 30th because of one person (he went and I did) and now am roped into organizing my 35th. Sucker, right? I’m not looking forward to the whole thing. I have a handful of people I want to see and many aren’t coming, but I’m organizing it so I guess I can’t back out now. Life hasn’t changed that much for many of them. But it has for me. Now I’ll do the service and be on my way….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Melissa – unlike you I attended a large school. My grad class had over 400 kids. I don’t know if that made it better or worse for me!


  3. edward soul

    How funny. I was a tall, fat, big-glasses wearing, wicked-smart… (with an extra dose of wicked sarcasm), scared, confused, high school senior in ’78. Most girls would only talk to me if they were asking me to move out of the way. And when I got my 40th reunion notice, I was still tempted to go. What? At some level, I still think I crave the acceptance that I thought was being offered. Ya know, friendship. It’s funny, I had to pick up my son from his high school last week, and when I walked onto the campus, I realized I was totally uncomfortable walking around all those students. Again, WHAT? WHY? Sorry, didn’t mean to comment a blog on your blog. Thanks for channeling my thoughts on the teenage years through your writing and flooding my mind with strength. I’m gonna go delete that invitation email.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Phil

    I have not attended any of my reunions. For me high school was much worse than Elementary School and College . College was a cake walk compared to high school. A friend of mine (went to elementary school and high school with him) attended the 30th year high school reunion and he said he wished he had never gone to it. When I asked why, he said too cliquish and people did not want to talk outside certain groups.

    I have not gone into great detail as to why I have never gone . All I can say is that when I graduated, I promised myself to not look back . As far as I am concerned I would rather have a reunion with people I accidently met at McDonalds last week.

    Liked by 1 person

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