Posted by Anura Samara, 1 October 2016
It’s been 35 years since I’ve seen some of these people. Will I recognise them? Will they recognise me?
I’ve managed to miss every high school reunion, mainly due to being overseas.
To be honest, I wasn’t fussed about the first one as I had in mind an evening where everyone would be bragging about their achievements in life. But while I was away more reunions had come and gone and through Facebook friends I had seen photos and started to re-connect with people I hadn’t heard from in years.
The 35th reunion was a the Irish Club in Weston, pretty close to where the story started (I remember measuring out a kilometre for one class which took us from the school to nearly all the way to Cooleman Court). It was strange seeing so many people again:
The beauty of holding it at the Club was that everyone could order whatever meal and drinks they wanted ie. less stress on organisers.
Most of the evening was spent in just catching up – it was nice to see people who had travelled from South Australia, Queensland and northern NSW to be there, people who I might otherwise not get to see. At 50 or thereabouts, there was a wide range of life experiences – some good, but some sad (including a few former schoolmates who have since passed away). It was certainly a time to reflect on the range of great experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have (and I do mean it was mostly down to luck). But there were no “pissing contests” and those who’d had a harder life didn’t whinge about it. What was nice was also being able to make amends on how mean we had been as teenagers to others.
We also had a band – led by some very talented school friends on guitar, base and vocals and backed up by a couple of others. The music was all exactly what we wanted – songs we had grown up with and could still sing along to. In fact, everyone agreed that the band was the best part, with a few additional backing singers dragged on stage. No-one wanted it to end.
Unfortunately, I was conscious of needing to commute back to Potato Point in the morning so while others went off to continue partying at someone’s house (and kept going to dawn) I had to head home.
Reflecting on the night, I think it was a good to time to get together. At 50-ish, most of us had experienced whatever it was that life had in store for us and life had knocked off our rougher edges. Despite the closeness of ages, there was still a wide enough variety of experiences to make the conversation interesting. I didn’t have the sense that we were trying to recapture some lost spirit from our school days – if anything, it was better because all of the ways we had divided into groups at school were gone. If anything, I thought our enjoyment of each others’ company was more genuine.
We all left promising to organise another one. Will it happen, as we all drift back to our separate lives, priorities, pressures?