school daze

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What is it about a school reunion that simultaneously attracts, repels and unnerves?

This weekend I’ll hop on a plane for the short flight, booked in August last year, to Tamworth “Country Music Capital of Australia”, where I attended boarding school for my last 2 years in 1982-83.

The lead up has comprised 12 months of sporadic email correspondence from and to the motivated classmate who instigated the event. It’s a weekend I was looking forward to until it arrived. Having been away last week for 4 days to Taylors Arm, my anticipation is dulled at the thought of heading off again.

It’s our third class reunion. I’ve attended each, as well as keeping up with various classmates in various ways at various times, attending each others weddings, functions and parties, plus regular ongoing friendship with Mrs S. & Nanna. Now of course, many of us keep up via Facebook.

Although I have a relaxed attitude to clothes and appearance, I’m adequately groomed and look fine from day to day. So why did I prepare for the 24 hours I will be placed among 25 of my peers, a group of 47-48 year old women with similar education and backgrounds, by feeling the need:

  • for the confidence boost of a haircut, which to be fair I was due for anyway but more than likely I would have continued to prevaricate over?
  • to check and update a few contents of my makeup bag, which mainly serves me to appear as if I’ve made at effort in the office, and at weddings & similar events?
  • to make sure my purchase of several items of new season Autumn-Winter apparel occurred prior, yet assign my reliable outfit of black top, favourite jeans [minor panic this morning when checking to see if they were clean I thought I had left them at Taylors Arm] and tan boots, as my ensemble for the main event?

Maybe it’s because, I suddenly feel like a stranger… One of the classmates, who I have only seen at reunions, proposed each of us submit a blurb which initially she proposed as why don’t we all write a para blurb on where we are … family, life, work etc. & circulate closer to the date for everyone ??? I’m sure we all have a few tales to tell but then efficiently compiled into a series of form criteria which the organiser dutifully disseminated with a note … has come up with a great idea. Attached is a sheet for everyone to fill out & send back to me about where you are “AT” in life & where you have been! Great idea so we can have a read up on everyone before 4 May. Fill it out & get it back to me when you have/make time (never have time!).


I wonder if it’s ok for me to skip the first 13 lines and once at the reunion with glass of wine in hand, wing it with “Other” ?

28 thoughts on “school daze

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    May 2, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Forgive me for swearing when I got to the bottom of this post, ED. It’s why I’ve eschewed all my school and university reunions to date. I hope you have a good time, but if you decide to bail out at the last minute, give me a call and we can have a cup of tea instead. 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      May 2, 2013 at 6:41 am

      Haha 🙂 I’m really happy enough to go, but it’s one of those ‘good idea at the time’ – a year out it’s all excitement but a week out it’s yet another thing to do. At least I’m not driving up and back. [Tea soon though, I haven’t forgotten and have been saving Inner West & Time Out emails for ideas 🙂 ]


    dadirri7 said:
    May 2, 2013 at 7:26 am

    no help from me elladee … i have only been to one primary school reunion and one high school reunion for each high school … i was never at a school long enough to make friends i kept in touch with so it is all too strange for me … good luck, have fun and just be yourself 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      May 2, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Thank you – good advice 🙂 Having fun & being myself I have no trouble with. I’ll just skip the form filling part. A primary school reunion would be very interesting. I have FB friends from then but haven’t seen most of them, only a few at a high school reunion in 1986. I’d only been gone 5 years, so it was very same same.


        dadirri7 said:
        May 2, 2013 at 10:27 am

        i think mine was a fifty year celebration of the opening of our little school in lane cove … mowbray road west … i saw one of my best friends from that time … i had named my doll after her (jane) and amazingly she was just the same! (did not keep in touch tho’)


    acflory said:
    May 2, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I’m a serial avoider as well. There are a few people from my university days I wouldn’t mind seeing again but school? Never in a million years. Good luck and have fun!


      EllaDee responded:
      May 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Thank you 🙂 Despite my lack of motivation I feel lucky to have these women in my life. We have only lost 2, 1 very early and 1 just after the last reunion… so you never know. At each reunion, and at any other functions where some of us are together, it’s like no time has passed, we just take up where we left off. I think it was the form that was offputting, like I was being assessed. I’m ignoring it.


        acflory said:
        May 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

        Ah that does make a difference. School days were a misery for me so there’s no-one I’d like to stay in contact with. I hope you have a great time.


    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    May 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I think it’s cool you are going and still have friends from school. Boarding school would have been a very different experience.
    I never go – but our high school had 1,000 people in my graduating class – and so many are still into the impress everyone and perfect clothes (but the figures are so much different now…did they notice?). Besides, no one would recognize me as I was pretty invisible and studied so much in high school – college was much more fun.
    The questionaire was funny: will everyone just pin it to their backs so you can eat and drink and not have to worry about making sparkling conversation?
    HAve fun!


      EllaDee responded:
      May 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Once I’m there it will be fun.
      I was just saying to the abovementioned Nanna who is thinking what to do about her own daughter’s schooling, that I loved boarding school. I was homesick at first, which was odd because I was happy but it was the adjustment I think, as I was an only child from a small country town. It was a great transition opportunity and at the end I easily launched into the world. My Dad suggested it because he and my uncle had boarded at the equivalent boys school. I would have liked to go to college or uni but then in my family, it was unheard of, and just sending me to board was a stretch.
      There has been no dissemination of the questionnaire or further mention. Maybe we should have had t-shirts printed… mine could be ‘hopeless at marriage, now happily shacked up, no kids’ 😉


    diannegray said:
    May 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve never been to a school reunion, but I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun. I’d fill out the form with a lot of ‘imagination’. Things like ‘the low point in the last 30 years was when I was caught murdering my sixth husband. The high point was when I got off the charge and they never found the other five.’

    Have fun and be yourself! 😉


      EllaDee responded:
      May 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you. I’ve never had the knack of being anyone but me, with good and bad results. I will have a good time, but not as good as last reunion when I ended up with a killer hangover to accompany my 5 hour drive home in the heat with non-functional car aircon… I’m wiser & older now, will be drinking much less and flying home. If pressed to answer form questions I’ll channel my inner Dianne Gray 🙂


    roughseasinthemed said:
    May 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Along with most of your commenters reunions aren’t me either. I work on the principle that if you want to keep in touch with someone and meet them again you will. Otherwise, move on and out.

    When I was in Sydney the group in the hostel at Kings Cross where I was living all agreed to meet up in Trafalgar Square for NYE in 2000. What a stupid and totally ridiculous thing to even consider. Did they not think their lives might have changed somewhat over the next 15 years that might prevent them from meeting up with a group of people who paid a fleeting part in their lives for a few months? Had I signed up for it I wouldn’t have been able to go either as I was on call-out in the health service for our millennium emergency planning.

    A university friend organised a re-union 20 something years after we graduated. I’d been back to the UK the previous month and there was no way I was flying back again to see people who didn’t interest me. I keep in touch with him, visit him and his family when I return (occasionally) and visit one of the others. So the other half a dozen were hardly an incentive. I think out of all of us, there was a 50% turn out, which was probably better than expected 😀

    As for the form, it would have me tearing out my hair. Someone is obviously a bossy control freak at work. And thinks the highlight of everyone’s life is to get married and have kids.

    My answers would probably be – high point: travelling around the world, low point: coming to this reunion.

    I always fancied boarding school though. Read too many chalet school stories in my childhood.


      EllaDee responded:
      May 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Yes, it probably wouldn’t be me either except for this group. I have been invited to other reunions, centenaries and to be Facebook friends etc but I’m selective… actually no, I went to one 5 years after I left my old high school and it was crap… no-one had been anywhere or done anything.
      I was happy to the Tamworth reunion, obviously seeing as I booked my flight 10 months ago, up until I thought about it eating up my entire weekend.
      The G.O. is gloating… he will work Saturday but then get to come home, nap and relax… in peace 😉
      I’m thinking you’re right about the form creator but I’m sure she meant well.
      I enjoyed my 2 years but I’m glad I didn’t do the 6 some of the others did.
      Next weeks blog might be interesting indeed 🙂


    Vicky said:
    May 3, 2013 at 1:20 am

    I’ve been left school fortyeight years this summer. I’m not sure if there has ever been a reunion, but even if there has/is there is no way anyone would persuade me to go to it.
    Too much water under the bridge, and my school days are a hazy past, so I’d have nothing to talk about.
    I don’t understand the idea of the [quite intrusive] questionnaire, surely if you want to attend a reunion, the idea is to chat face to face, not know all the answers before attending.
    As for hair, clothes etc. I wonder how many are going to become something they aren’t, just for appearances sake.
    Be yourself [you come across as a very easy going relaxed sort of person] and enjoy the catch up.
    Blog post later?


      EllaDee responded:
      May 3, 2013 at 6:01 am

      I wouldn’t go to a reunion if it was after so long either! Just not worth the bother, and exactly, very little commonality.
      I think the questionairre creator meant well, and it’s the sort of thing she does but she’s a bit out of the loop when it comes to contact with everyone else. She also tried to organise transport but no-one was interested, and has now settled for organising flowers to thank the reunion arranger 😉
      I said similar to the G.O. – I wondered how much time-money will be spent on facials etc and special hair & outfits.
      I haven’t done anything spectacular, just what I would normally, as you say I’m fairly relaxed, sometimes more so, but there was a niggle there to present my best without being ridiculous about it!
      I will enjoy it, and will return with blog post material 🙂


    ChgoJohn said:
    May 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve not been to a reunion, EllaDee, and have no intention of going. I moved away and have not seen nor heard of any of my high school chums in over 30 years. I’d rather remember them all as they were. I do hope you’ll have a good time at your reunion and, as for the questionnaire, just tell them that the dog ate it. 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      May 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Now it’s almost the weekend and I’m organised, ready to go, I’m looking forward to it.
      I think if I’d had little or no contact with my classmates for 30 years, I wouldn’t be interested either. Even with Facebook blast-from-the-past-friend requests, I only accept those I was really friends with, not just classmates.
      Good advice re the questionnaire. If I had a dog like Max, and left it on the kitchen counter, smeared with a little meat sauce, it could just be the truth 🙂


    Leanne Cole said:
    May 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    My school had a reunion recently and I elected not to go, I haven’t seen those people for over 30 years, and I really hope I am not the same person i was back them. I think you are very brave and think you are amazing.


      EllaDee responded:
      May 4, 2013 at 5:44 am

      Thank you – you’re VERY kind 🙂 I think if it had taken 30 years to get around to catching up with these people, I wouldn’t bother either… It’s interesting how people change, or don’t. Since we meet each 10 years, some of us in between, it’s not so apparent 🙂


    metan said:
    May 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I with Meeks. School was a misery, best left behind! There is no one there I want to see again. I am pleased to read that you enjoyed it enough to want to see them again though. I expect that the life you have in boarding school is very different from the one at a day school. Looking forward to your “after the reunion” post now!


    EllaDee responded:
    May 4, 2013 at 5:51 am

    You have a point… I enjoyed school, even regular local high school. I’m closer to my boarding school friends, because we lived together and also because we made the effort to keep in contact despite coming from different locations and then heading off into others. I’ll take notes & report back next week 🙂


    Kourtney Heintz said:
    May 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Isn’t the point of the reunion to catch up? If you’re filling out this form, why do you have to show up. They can just read the blurb and pretend they know what you’ve done in the past 30 years. 😉 I’m with you skip it all and wing other. 😉 Hope you have a great time!


      EllaDee responded:
      May 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      The form didn’t get a mention 🙂 I’m back, and I survived…


    Pete Denton said:
    May 5, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Have a great time!

    We don’t seem to go into reunions much in this country. There was talk about us having one a few years ago, but thankfully it didn’t get off the ground. 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      May 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I did 🙂 I’m not sure how popular reunions are anywhere. Out of all the comments only one has been to a single reunion. Even my cab driver in Tamworth today said re his class at a different school “we were supposed have a 30th reunion last year but it just didn’t happen…” For people who live where they went to school it’s irrelevant, and for the ones who moved away… it can be hard to go back.


    Lori D said:
    May 7, 2013 at 12:53 am

    How big of a class did you graduate with? I’ve never heard of a reunion sending out a questionnaire for the alumni, but maybe it’s because I graduated with six hundred in my class. Not sure if you’re off to the reunion yet, but have a great time. Maybe you can share about it when you return.


      EllaDee responded:
      May 7, 2013 at 6:21 am

      My class was small – less than 30. I’m not sure the questionnaire is common either – maybe for groups who are meeting up after a long time and have had no contact at all. There was no mention of it at the reunion. I had a great time, and am putting a couple of posts together 🙂


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