Should You or Should You Not Attend Your High School Reunion?

Photo is Detroit sunrise from Windsor, Canada.

My #TankaTuesday is at end of the post.

This past week I was in Michigan and Ontario (Canada). I got to see my mother, as well as some other relatives who I also saw in April. The main reason we chose last week to travel was to attend our high school reunion. Have you ever done that? This was my first one. The gardener and I went to the same high school, although he had been with those classmates for elementary and junior high, whereas I was the new girl in 10th grade.

Our reunion was put together sort of last minute by mainly one person who was helped by a few others. It was casual, held at a lakeside park. And maybe 15-20% of graduates attended. Although it would have been fun to have a big dressup party, I think this turned out best because people could move around easily–and best yet, we could hear each other talk. A dinner-dance isn’t the best place to catch up with people.

Although everyone there (except for two people who looked as if they have a nasty portrait of themselves hidden in the attic) looked older and in some cases unrecognizable, in general, I think my class has done pretty well with their appearances. It was really fun to catch up with some old friends and to talk to others I wasn’t as close to. In high school, it seems people rarely talk except to close friends.

An upside of going was that it was fun to “catch up,” and I realized I really care about the welfare of everyone I went to school with. We had a good time, and it was especially fun for the gardener to see people he went to school with for so many years. We also had a memory board with names and a memory candle so we could spend some brain and heart cells on those who are no longer with us.

A downside for me was that I didn’t know so many of the people we went to high school with. High school is not the best time to really get to know a large group of people. It’s also hard to see how old we have all become, although that is also an upside because it made me realize that these people are no longer the 17-year-olds I remember, but have had full lives with ups and downs just as I have had.

I’m not sure if this is a positive or negative, but I learned something about myself. Maybe that is really good, although it feels sad. When I was in school, I was quite shy, though not in a classic “quiet” way, but rather I found it very difficult to have poise in social situations. I didn’t have the confidence to participate in the activities I would have liked to, such as yearbook, journalism, and auditioning for plays. I would be too quiet when I should be more open to talking to others, and I would be noisy when with close friends. When I had openings or opportunities to do more, I assumed deer-in-headlights stance. Starting a new high school was very difficult for me, and add to that I had a lot of problems at home with my father during that time.

So what did I learn about myself from attending the reunion? Although I’ve gained in maturity, compassion, and confidence, I am still the same dummy in social situations. Too scared to initiate conversations, mind empty when I should have spoken, etc. Ugh. So, no, I guess people don’t really change although I thought I had.

My high school was known for being very cliquish, and we had a fair share of “mean girls” (not one of them was at the reunion). I only bring that up because my mother has her own social situation. She lives in a retirement community, in a large independent apartment building, and it too is cliquish. My mother is also an introvert (I think this gene is rampant on my maternal side). Is this what tends to happen in large social groups? Is it only the women or do men feel this, too?

On another note, I have a micro up at Scribes *MICRO* Fiction, thanks to Managing Editor Edward Ahern . It’s a surreal drabble (100 words). This link is for the whole issue, which is full of fun stories and poem. My story is about 3/4 through the issue–if it were in pages it would be page 10 out of 13.

Here is how it begins:

These Days
​by Luanne Castle

​​​​I look over at the white Waymo as it pulls up next to us. The giant stuffed bear in the driver’s seat, its googly eyes stubbornly facing forward, refuses to glance at me.

For Colleen Chesebro’s weekly #TankaTuesday prompt about sunflowers, I offer this shadorma. The prompt includes a beautiful photo, but I couldn’t download it to use over here.

Garden Protection


gardens with bean plants,

corn, and squash,


bloom with sunflower beauty,

cunning insect traps.

sunflowers and trees
Photo by Luca Barth on


Filed under #amwriting, #poetrycommunity, #TankaTuesday, Flash Fiction, Microfiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing

70 responses to “Should You or Should You Not Attend Your High School Reunion?

  1. Wow, that’s a whole lot going in with a publication, a new poem, a reunion, and thoughts on introversion. Just on the last topic, I have found myself in the company of cool kids in senior communities for 24 years now. In general, I have found it a healing experience, though sometimes just the opposite, which is scathing for this self-avowed introvert. You are brave to attend the reunion. In fact, you are being awarded major snaps for bravery and a rosette from the Order of Brave Introverts.

    • I love it!!!! Thank you so much for that award! Only another introvert could understand. In the case of my reunion, the others were all nice. I blame myself for not making more of my time there.

  2. Your description of the reunion pros and cons was exactly how I felt when I went to my one and only reunion a few years ago. It could have been me writing about being shy and realizing how I’d grown in confidence. I’m glad I went to that reunion but I’m not sure I want to go to another.

  3. I’ve never been to a high school reunion and have never wanted to go. I hated high school. I had very few friends, and most of those were actually cousins 🙄. I was terribly introverted and considered by most kids to be “stuck up” until they realized I was just shy 🤷🏼‍♀️ While I remember some classmates fondly and have even looked up some online, I’ve never wanted to be in a situation where I was expected to share what I’ve done with my life. I know I’d still be the odd one, especially since I’ve never had kids. I’ve also learned the hard way that my memories don’t always jive with other people’s memories. So there’s my long answer to your simple question.😉 It sounds like you had a good time overall, and no doubt you’ve come away from that experience with a lot of fodder for writing. Love your shadorma ❤️ Now, I’m off to read your micro 🙂

    • That sounds awful. I’m glad you had some people you remember fondly. The worst for me that first year was lunch hour! Walking into that huge brightly lit room with people all in clusters at tables . . . . Mostly, I did not eat lunch. When I got home from school I was starving. I understand that “stuck up” thing well. I feel bad for you that you hated the whole high school experience. Why does it have to be like that? It seems like there would a way to make h.s. more palatable to more kids.

    • I had the same experience with being misunderstood because I was shy, Marie.

      • I imagine there were quite a few of us, Jill 🙂 I didn’t start coming out of my shell until my senior year. I still remember classmates and even a teacher telling me how surprised they were to find that I was actually a nice person.

  4. I have my 30-year reunion this fall. Not sure if I’m going. I’m in touch with most of the people I care about, and I wasn’t really popular. So far, the people I can see who are going are the kids I didn’t particularly like.

    • I think reunions might die out eventually because of social media. People stay in contact with who they want to and so a reunion isn’t any big deal. One of the negatives about a reunion, of course, is that you have no control over who is going. So it could be that you find surprises there that are pleasant and it could be that a lot of people who don’t like show up. IN my case there were some pleasant surprises–people who I almost forgotten about but who were nice in high school. Good luck making up your mind, Robyn!

  5. I’ve been wanting to go to my 50th high school class reunion, which is next year (if anyone organizes it, that is). I attended one several years ago, which was so pathetic, it has turned into an anecdote to be trotted out to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet. Out of a graduating class of seventy, only half a dozen people showed up. The inedible food was catered by Ralph Demers’s Dairy Center (the same outfit that had built a substandard duplex cinema, the roof of which collapsed under the first heavy snowfall). The highlight of the evening was meeting the self-proclaimed Pornography king of Franklin County, whom one of my classmates had married. Ah, memories . . .

    Congratulations on the publication of “These Days”! It is easily the best piece of microfiction I’ve ever read, with the same impact as a much longer story. I’m in awe!

    • Your story about your reunion is hilarious! You need to write that up if you haven’t. Turn it into fiction. I’ll bite: how does someone get named Pornography king of Franklin County? We had a class of 350-400, and I don’t think we had anybody that colorful haha.
      Wow, your comment about “These Days” is so kind!!! Happy to hear you like it!!!

  6. I saw your post on FB about the reunion. For som reason I am not permitted to react or comment on some of your FB stuff. Weird. I went a few reunions. Like you, I started at the school in 10th grade. I am done with that. The people I care about, I stay in touch with.

    Liked your surreal Drabble!

    • Is it because you are not on a personal FB page, but a writing/business one? Where I posted about the reunion is on the profile pic which is public, so anybody could see that, but to comment I think you have to be on a personal FB page.
      Coming in 10th grade is hard, isn’t it? They have already formed the groups by then.
      Thank you re the drabble!!!

  7. I’ve never been to a reunion since I’ve remained friends with the only people from high school I cared about. You and I would have been good friends, Luanne. I was the same as you, didn’t get involved in activities due to lack of confidence. Then of course there was the “red neck” factor.😉 Interesting you mentioned about the cliques at your mother’s senior community. I’ve noticed the same at my parents place. I’ve been tempted to confront the “mean girls” who noticeably laugh at my mother in her advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. Since I don’t want to end up on the evening news, I just give them the evil eye and feel sorry for them. What miserable lives they must live to find humor in her disease. Congratulations on the publication!❤️

    • That is so disturbing to hear about your mother’s mean girls. What in the world?! So is your mom in a community where she is in with the general population? I thought that they usually have a building for those with memory disorders. I wish I could send you an extra evil eye to turn on those nasty women!
      Yes, the red neck thing is problem. Sigh. We would have been good friend!!!

  8. I am the same way in social situations. I am very quiet and so people assume I hate my life or their party, one or the other.🤣 Lovely sunflower poem, love the insect traps. My sunflowers seem to be homes for bees.🌻🐝

    • That is the thing: people assume. They really don’t know. I think there were times when I was a kid that people thought I was stuckup when the opposite was the truth. Thank you re the poem! Yes, last week during travel I was noticing the sunflowers ringing some of the gardens, and so I thought I remembered they were for insects and looked it up. I read that they can trap insects that will ruin plants! YOu are lucky to have sunflowers.

  9. I’m glad you guys went and had fun. Life is too short not to do things.

  10. Hi Luanne, I don’t think people change much over time. Our essential characteristics remain the same. I have always been a person who championed causes and my sons are the same. I have always taken others on and been confrontational about things and I’ve never liked people wasting my time. I have never been to a high school reunion. I am quite disinterested in what has happened to my peer group. Isn’t that awful? I prefer my on-line friendships with people I share common interests with. I have never found that with my physical friends or peers, barring very few. Also, I changed schools 14 times which isn’t conducive to forming deep friendships. As you say, moving schools is difficult and one tends to build a hard shell to protect oneself against mean girls. I like your poem, it presents a different perspective from the others I’ve read.

  11. Amy

    I have so much to say about this because I can relate so completely. I was the new girl in 8th grade, so not quite as late as you, but still most of the kids in my high school had known each other forever. And I also was/am someone who is uncomfortable in large groups and finds small talk excruciatingly painful. I’ve been to two high school reunions and one college reunion—all when I was in my late 30s, early 40s, and have decided I am done going to them. After the initial rush I got from seeing people I’d once known, I found all three reunions exhausting and disappointing. I’d rather get together with the few people I knew well in college or high school than go to a reunion filled with people I have little or nothing to talk to about. This introvert has learned that less is more when it comes to people!

  12. This made me laugh:
    “Although everyone there (except for two people who looked as if they have a nasty portrait of themselves hidden in the attic) looked older ” 😂

    I’ve never been to a high school reunion. My husband and I went to the same high school also. I was not involved in activities either, and I’m still hopeless in large groups settings. The lakeside event sounds so much nicer than one of those dinner dance things.

    Congratulations on another (!) publication!

  13. Luanne, it was such a pleasure to read your writing. I had to lookup Waymo (no idea this was a thing, and it’s coming to Austin where I live! I was just talking to my husband about this exact service the other day and didn’t even realize it was already being done, haha!).

    Also, as an introvert, I am with you on the social gatherings and had similar experiences in high school even having grown up with most of my classmates. 😉

  14. Oh my, I was the exact same way in school. I missed a lot of opportunities because I wasn’t brave enough to try. I haven’t gone to any of my class reunions. My high school friends (who I haven’t seen in decades) did not go and I wasn’t too excited to see people I had not been friends with back then. I’ve gone to a few of my husband’s high school reunions and I hated them. I didn’t go to the same school or district and he’s a bit older. I would end up listening about old times I wasn’t a part of and reviewing obits of people I never met. “They say” that his class isn’t going to organize any going forward. Maybe a few friends will get together for lunch. That’s a much better situation much as your “picnic-type” reunion was. I don’t like feeling trapped for 4 to 5 hours (yep, cocktail hour, dinner, dance and long goodbyes).

  15. Such a wonderful post – I love that you and the gardener attended your high school reunion. That takes guts definitely.
    I’ve gone to one since I graduated, and I enjoyed seeing people, but I think it was only #25 when we are now up to #59. Obviously so many are long gone. Every high school was full of cliques that were sometimes difficult to navigate. I appreciate your honesty in understanding where you “fit in” and where social situations were uncomfortable. My high school was small, but we still managed to divide ourselves into different groups. Perhaps that has carried over to the divisiveness we now see on such a large scale in our country? I don’t know.
    But I do know I enjoyed your post as always.

    • I think it shows how easily people move into camps and are against others. Sad that it even happens in a small high school. Ours was 350-400 people, so not small but not as huge as some. Funny you mention 25. I remember my mother getting ready for her 25th (with my father), and it was such a big deal. Now I think 25 is for babies. My son’s was 20th this year. hahaha

  16. Hmmm… how come you couldn’t download the sunflower photo. I know we’ve all played heck this week with WP again! I’m using the Vivaldi browser which seems to be the only one working with WP. They’ve had a ton of updates again. I loved your post, and your shadorma. I was a foster kid… so you can imagine I was an introverted mess. I got better when I joined the Air Force. Now, I’m more introverted than ever before. I’m glad you had fun at your reunion. 🌻 💛

    • I don’t know if the reason I couldn’t download the pic was the site or something about me. Since I was tired coming back from the trip, I wouldn’t trust me. So glad you enjoyed the shadorma. I saw a lot of those old-fashioned gardens in Ontario (around Windsor) was was wishing I could have taken a pic while we were driving by them! But no, car going too fast, wrong side of the road, etc.
      I can only imagine how awful that was to be a foster kid in high school. My best friend and I had a friend for awhile who was a foster child. We used to go to her foster home when nobody else was there and let her bitch about it. She was a beautiful girl and so nice–and then one day she was gone from our school and the foster home and we had no way to get ahold of her. And all these years out, I remember her last name very well, but her first name is escaping me. That kind of breaks my heart.

  17. You are a beautiful soul, like one of those sunflowers reaching toward the sky. It is said that we are every age that we have ever been…that is an interesting thought. In the mind’s eye, we see ourselves at every age, but we do grow in wisdom as the years unfold. (At least I hope so.) The important thing is to keep reaching, and to keep looking forward. I attended a high school reunion (The tenth) when I still lived close by. (I live far away now.) I had a very big graduating class and even on the day I graduated, there were people I had never met. I enjoyed the evening, and I was shocked at some of the things people remembered. (So many people asked me if I still rode my horse…I had not since graduation.) 🙂 I went away to college and the horse got sold! And just silly things that I had forgotten, and it made me laugh. Love your poem and the sunflowers!

    • What a lovely thing to say, Linda! xo Yes, we are all those ages (working on a micro about that!!!!) and most of us grow in wisdom. Although there are people who I do not think grow in wisdom. I wonder what it is that holds them back? The 10th! That is for “babies”! haha My son had his 20th this year and couldn’t go. Isn’t it strange how people have different memories? You are locked in their minds as the girl who rode horses!!!! Thank you about my shadorma. The sunflowers in the gardens in Ontario, Canada, made me so happy last week!

  18. The other day I came across a photo of my high school class and couldn’t even remember the name of several of the girls (it was an all girls school) although I did recognize the faces, luckily. Yes, I would love to attend a reunion but I’m not the one to make it that’s for sure. Never was a leader in high school.
    Your sunflower poem is lovely and your story These Days I found rather sad but poignant. Hugs xx

    • Thank you, for reading the poem and the micro. And, wow, I am imagining your all girls class and trying to remember them all. I was (obviously) not a leader in high school either. The ones who did seem like people who have, in many cases, seemed to fade off into the . . . where? They were unfindable before our reunion!

  19. My experience of reunion has been intriguing. I attended a co-ed (both sexes – there were only two genders when I went to school, 🙂 ) high school of around 1000 in total, and many of those came from the Migrant Hostel across the road. You need to understand that Australia had assisted immigration for many years, part of a “populate or perish” policy post WWII.
    We also lived in a low socio-economic area.
    Aussies in New South Wales start high school in Year 7, usually the year they turn 13, and, in my time, attended for four years, when they could graduate to go to a trade, or secretarial school, etc. Only those aspiring for university (college?) went on the next two years to senior school, and most turned 18 the year they finished.
    That meant a small percentage, say 10-15%, went on, and became a close-knit group, where migrants who may have been stymied earlier on account of English as a second language, really had the chance to shine, and achieve all that academic success their parents had hoped for when they left their homelands.
    Some students even married each other – and some of those are still married fifty years later.
    So out of this melting pot, some bright sparks had the idea to have a year reunion, including those of us who had left in Year 10. Not just any reunion – we were all to book out a motel and gather for three nights and four days of organised activities!
    Well, this comment is getting too long, so I’ll leave you to imagine what happened next…

    • Come back here, please! More!!!!!

      • Here is a link to the post I wrote on our first three day get together. The comments will provide more insight, and I think you’ll get a kick out of the link to the song “Give me a Home Among the Gum Trees”
        (The Derek mentioned in the story sadly passed a year later)

        We followed this up a couple of years later with another three night reunion at a different place. Both were lovely – but…
        As you know from my book, I left school under a cloud, rescinding my scholarship in the process. No one holds it against me, and one of the lovely things about a reunion once you are retired, there is none of that “success” comparison. Just general chit-chat about how you earned your dosh (money) and where you are at now in life.
        Nevertheless, leaving school at sixteen was a major turning point in my life, the cause of which defined me for a very long time, and I find that my resilience to being philosophical about it cannot stand up to three days. It’s an emotional crossroads, with deep-seated shame.
        So, I won’t go again. I won’t even go to the lunch that is being arranged in a few months. I know who is who, where they are, and wish them well. If I want to make the effort, I know how to catch them up one-on-one 🙂

        • Just went and read it. Those photos you have on there are so stunning. I can’t imagine three days. Four hours was plenty! I really don’t have a lot of memories of most of the people I graduated with because I didn’t even know them at all. There were 350-400 of us, and I never got to know most of them since I didn’t go to school with them before high school. Then I wasn’t thinking clearly in those days either as it was a bad time in my life. So I can only imagine how things were for you when you had so much trauma.

          • Yes, you were in quite the different situation to me, as I had started kindergarten with some of those fellow students.
            But I was always the odd one out – for starters, in our primary school there were only two of us who were fatherless (as to the quality of those fathers, well, as you know, that was never in question in “those” days).
            For my last year in Primary School (12 yo), I hid in the library every lunch and play time. The librarian was expecting her first baby and I assisted her. She taught me the Dewey system of cataloguing and gave me a special prize at the end of the year, a book I still have somewhere.

  20. Luanne ~ your poem is really lovely ~ I so enjoyed it!

    Also, FWIW, I deeply relate to your description of yourself vis-à-vis how you interacted with others at school and then again at your recent reunion… you’re not alone in possession of this special gene!

    Much love,

  21. Great poem, Luanne! I have never attended any of my reunions. I graduated in a class of 863 (if I remember correctly) and I have kept in touch with about three people. So, I honestly have no desire to see anyone else. My high school years weren’t my fondest, either. Lol!

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂

    • So interesting that you are a teacher who didn’t like high school. But then how hard to go to school when you are one out of 863!!!!

      • My dad had just retired from the military after 24 years, so I went from a life on military bases to civilian life, where everyone knew one another practically from birth, and I was the unwelcomed outsider. It was a difficult transition for me. Luckily, my 7th/8th grade English teacher was an incredible influence in my life, and I remembered her kindness and the impact it made on me. I wanted to be that beacon for other kids who struggled with school. I still strive to do that today. 🙂

        • Oh, I can’t even imagine how difficult that would be! It was hard enough moving when we did (1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, 9th grade). Your English teacher was a real blessing! Thank you for what you do for kids today.

Leave a Reply