Dear “Oh Carol:”
I just got a notice that our high school reunion (50th) will be held late next summer. I went to one, maybe it was the 5th or the 10th – but haven’t seen anyone since then. I went to high school in NY and then moved to the southwest when we retired. My wife has passed on but I live nearby to my son and his family. Even so, I feel lonely and would like to reconnect. Does it make sense to travel all the way back to the east coast for a chicken dinner and a rehash of some old memories. I guess, to be honest, I’m kinda scared about going. Your thoughts, please.
AFL’s “OH CAROL” ANSWERS
Dear NY — > SouthWest,
I happen to live in NY (on Long Island) and just got back from an amazing vacation in Santa Fe. What a beautiful part of our country!! I fell in love with it all. I totally see what compelled Georgia O’Keefe to eventually move there from NY. Oh those sunsets!
Now onto your letter –
My thoughts are GO GO GO!! I’m sure you know it’s not about the chicken dinner. As a matter of fact, you might want to eat a little something before you go so you don’t have nervous hungry breath (yuk). Plus, if you have a drink (or two) to take the edge off, eating first will assure that the alcohol doesn’t go straight to your head. Do NOT overdo the drinking. You do not want to be “that guy”!
As for being scared – take solace in the fact that most people feel that way. I was actually on my reunion committee a few times and I can’t tell you how many people came up to us and thanked us for encouraging them to attend. At our 40th, the majority of the attendees were people who we hadn’t seen at our prior reunions. They had such a great time and regretted having not attended the others.
One such person had become a dear friend for a few years prior to our 40th. We reunited our friendship via Facebook and we texted nearly every night for years. Our nightly texting had waned in the year just prior (to reunion) due to his ex-wife coming back to him because he was diagnosed with cancer. (sidebar – she was wacky and jealous and made him miserable when he chatted with me or any woman which is why our nightly chatting waned) When they came to our reunion (yes SHE came too lol) he looked fantastic. Assured me he was doing well and we took some fabulous photos together. Approximately five months later, he was gone. I miss him terribly and I am grateful to have had that evening with him.
Another old friend (who also made a first time appearance at a reunion), also passed around 2 months later. Those are TWO reasons for YOU to go! You never know who you might see for the last time.
I am sure you’ve been running names through your head like crazy wondering what might’ve happened to them. Did “Brenda and Eddie, the popular steadies and the King and the Queen of the prom” stay together? Did Mr Congeniality become a big success? Did the head cheerleader remain happy and perky? There are also people you will see who didn’t think of and upon seeing them you are thrilled! You might even think to yourself how you’d completely forgotten they even existed and now you’re happy to be shaking hands or hugging them! Don’t miss that feeling!
And of course, there’s that possibility of finding another lonely person who is also looking to connect. That would be ideal! You might meet people who live near you that might have a friend looking to meet someone special. Networking is important. Many of my classmates have mini reunions in Florida or other states when it was discovered at reunions that they are not alone in that state.
You may not meet the next love of your life but you will definitely re-live some great old times and reconnect with people you might not have thought of in 50 years!
PS – No one cares how much weight someone has gained (or lost) or how much hair someone has (or hasn’t) – At this age, it’s all about connecting with old friends, making new ones, and reminiscing about that evil math teacher! Go – ENJOY!