The return address on the letter started with “Raytown High School Class of 1963.”
“Oh, no,” I thought. “It can’t be time for my 50th high-school reunion.”
It is. The letter outlined plans for events Oct. 4-6 in the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo., where I went to high school.
Highlights include a Friday evening social at the American Legion Post hall and a Saturday tour of the high school (yes, it’s still there, but it’s been remodeled so much that it’s hard to locate any former classroom). After lunch at the same high school hangout where we enjoyed pizza 50 years ago, there’s time to recover before the Saturday night “gala” that includes dinner and entertainment.
High-school reunions bring mixed emotions for me. The only one I ever attended was the 40th. Up until that time, I always had a conflict or was on vacation or something.
At least, that was my excuse. The reality was I wasn’t part of the popular clique in high school, and I didn’t think I would enjoy seeing many of my high school classmates again.
I was editor of the high-school newspaper and a member of the championship debate team, but I wasn’t part of the social fabric of high school.
In short, I was pretty much a geek. (Some things never change.)
I finally attended my 40th reunion because I had gone with Jenny a year or two earlier to her 30th reunion in Independence, Ky., and everyone seemed to get along. Jenny says it’s because by that time, classmates have moved past the “my job is better than yours, my spouse is better-looking than yours” game of one-upping each other.
That was pretty much true. The popular people who generally had ignored me in high school actually seemed interested in having a conversation.
Or was it because I had shown up with Jenny? Younger than me, better looking than me, smarter than me, etc. You get the picture.
Whatever it was, I had a pretty good time, so we’re making plans to go again. It won’t be easy because the reunion has been moved out of the usual summer period on the premise that almost everyone is retired. Except Jenny and me, of course.
But Jenny reluctantly has decided to take one day off from teaching her fourth graders so we can make the trip.
We’ll leave early Friday and get there in time for the evening social. Early Sunday morning we’ll leave for the 10-hour drive home.
My high-school reunion events are no small undertaking.
I was in a graduating class of 555 and there’s been an active reunion committee all through the years. Even though 85 classmates are deceased, several hundred people are likely to be at the Saturday night event.
Including at least one geek.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.