So this is what happens at a high school reunion

OK, so I mentioned that I would give a little update on the HS reunion this past weekend. Partly it's because a few people at the reunion said they looked at my blog and I wanted to say how great it was to see everyone again. Another reason is that I know that a good portion of you out there haven't had your 20th reunions yet and when I last posted about this, there were some comments about what to expect. Now I have a first-hand opinion.

When I got off the plane on Thursday, first thing on my mind was Portillo's. When I spoke with other people that had flown in for the event, they had all made a stop at Portillo's. It's like the crack of fast food. We know I don't really eat fast food (maybe a few times a year if you count Baja Fresh), but I made 2 stops at Portillo's during the weekend; one the first night. If you are ever in Chicago, you HAVE to get a Chicago style hot dog. It's a magical thing.

Friday we did a tour of the high school and the first person I saw was Pete (who commented on the other blog post). You can look at someone and not recognize them and then when they smile at you and start talking, it's so familiar and comfortable. People brought spouses and kids on the tour (to prove that they actually were a teenager, perhaps?). We walked through the school and chatted. I expected to feel something about the experience of seeing the school again but I really didn't. It was great talking to people though. The most worrisome part is that I didn't remember the library. Joke if you want, but I don't think I spent too much time there.

We went over to the homecoming game and stayed for part of it. They now have lights on the field, so that whole "Friday Night Lights" thing is a reality in Glen Ellyn. I hadn't remembered that our games were during the days on Saturday, but I don't remember going to any either. It was pretty crowded and pretty much what you would expect. I left around half-time. There was a mixer at a local bar owned by one of our classmates. I went to that and have to admit that since my closest high school friends didn't come in for that, it was a little uncomfortable. I'm not a natural socializer. Blogging is so much easier. Anyway, the one thing I can say about this night was that it was fun to try to figure out who everyone is. You could really stare at people and nobody would think that you were being rude.

My closest friends (Kim, Marlene and Mike) came in the next night for the reunion. People talk about years melting away when they are with old friends and it's totally true. Yeah, we all look a bit older, of course. But we have all grown in our careers/family lives...or in my case, one of those (oh heck, I'll count Jonas as family). We fired up some eighties music in the hotel room, including the theme to our high school boondoggles "Paul Revere" by the Beastie Boys. We knew all the words. Yeah, we thought we were pretty cool back then. Still are...pre-funking in the hotel room....yeah, it's just like 1987 but with better hair.

So the reunion itself; a couple of things I found interesting: it was as much about making new friends as seeing old ones. I wasn't a particularly outgoing person in high school. I'm OK when I get to know people but to walk up to someone and start talking to them...not my most favorite thing. I've just always been like that (we won't talk about how much that changes after a few glasses of wine, OK?). You would think that people would just mostly hang out with the people that they hung out with in high school but that really wasn't the case; people did both. Here's a picture of me with my new/old friend Pete (who I kind of knew in high school):



Too funny! Yeah, that is pretty much how I remember Pete!

Here's a picture of the old gang:

Me (needing to work on my posture....not the most flattering, I know), Marlene, Mike, Rob (who falls into the category of "newish friend" and we just love his wife Fawn, who was taking the picture) and Kim.

One topic of conversation throughout the events was who had aged the best. I know, not important, but you can't help but look at others from high school and not do this. We spent all those hormonal years looking at each other, so it was only natural to admire those of the opposite sex that had aged well, because we were admiring them in school. I think that the consensus was that the girls had done better than the boys. But there were a few of the gentlemen that looked very close to how they did in high school: Chris S., Chris G. and Mark S. (I won't use last names but those of you that were there know who I am talking about). Good for you, boys! There was also one short, blond from high school that returned as a tall brunette that Fawn referred to as Antonio Banderas. It was fun teasing him about not being who he said he was. Many of the boys had growth spurts after high school (and I'm not talking about bellies). There were a few where you really had to stare at their name tags to make sure you knew who you were talking to. I thought that the girls looked great. Some have had kids and still have their high school figures which was impressive. OK, I know, this all sounds shallow, but people care about how they look and I was really impressed by how well we all did.

The night stretched into morning and I'm afraid the conversations got a little more interesting 🙂 Yeah! Partying in a hotel room until the wee hours of the morning. How rock star is that? I'm still laughing about some of those conversations. "2+3=5"

They day after the reunion, I felt a little sad about having been so out of the loop during the past 20 years while people were developing as adults and having life experiences. But the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and build new friendships was really valuable. I don't imagine that too many of my high school classmates would want to stop by here and comment on what they thought about the reunion since I know that blogging isn't everyone's thing (Pete is brave), but any who want to, please do! I'd love to know if others got as much out of the experience as I did.

Comments (15)

  1. Wine-Oh says:

    Did any celebrities go to your HS?

    Im going to my college homecoming this weekend. Haven’t seen alot of these people in eons. Should be interesting.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    No, I don’t think so. We had a classmate that was a pro baseball player: Tim Costo. But I don’t really know anything about that. He wasn’t at the reunion.

  3. Lauren Smith says:

    Wasn’t Rob on Melrose Place? He’s got the strong jaw thing going on. A model, perhaps?

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Haha, no. But he’d definitely enjoy that you said that! He’s another one that looks so much like he did in high school. You should see how adorable his baby is.

  5. Vicki70 says:

    Well this posting gives me hope… the 20th HS reunion comes around next year for me. I’m all about getting the 80’s music turned up and re-living the days of Prince and the Revolution.

    How many of your friends exchanged addresses/phone numbers/e-mail, business cards?

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    We had a website where we could do that, but it was quite a few in person as well. Lots of promises to stay in touch (like serious promises). It even caused me to reach out to a good friend that I miss a lot that was in a different grade and had not seen in about 13 years.

    Vicki, you should really go to yours. It does remind one of old times to sit around and have some cocktails with high school friends. There are a few more wrinkles and pounds and the fashion and hair is much better, but it is amazing how the old times come back to you.

  7. Ben says:

    Glad you had a great time.  My 20 yr. reunion comes up in 2009.  I remember having a great time at the 10 yr., actually more at the get-together the night before than at the reunion night itself.  I’ve only stayed in touch with a few classmates, and actually just recently connected with a couple via LinkedIn.

    I’m still physically pretty close to home, so going there isn’t much of a big deal.  Being a recruiter, I typically find it most interesting to see what everyone does for a living these days.  Got a couple years to go though.  Should be interesting when that time comes up.

  8. Aaron says:


       It was great seeing you and getting to know you better.  I know we didn’t hang out during school, but wish we had.  Had a great time, keep in touch.

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Aaron – likewise. Glad to see someone’s letterman jacket still fits 🙂

  10. Ed says:

    Thanks for the rundown, Heather! I’m going to my 20th reunion next week, and I’m fascinated by the dynamic. One of my biggest questions is whether people who weren’t friendly in high school will, after 20 years, engage in conversation and become friendly. Your blog kind of confirms what I suspect – that it’s going to be easy to make new friends at the reunion.

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yep, I predict that you will have a fantastic time, Ed!

  12. anonymous says:

    I went to my husband’s 45th high school reunion and had a great time until an old prom date who didn’t bring her own spouse asked me if she could dance with my husband.  I was so surprised I didn’t handle it very well and still can’t get over how I reacted.  I just thought it was wrong of her to ask.

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hah! Well, did he say no? Maybe she’s not the person you should be upset with!

  14. schoollife says:

    Thanks for such a nice post. Hope you have a fantastic time with your old pals.

  15. robin says:

    Get this everyone…I’ve been putting together a ELEMENTARY school reunion……everyone that “graduated” from grade 7 in June of 1979. WAY better memories than high school, less kids, knew the teachers better, etc. It is at the end of March (2009), and I have REALLY enjoyed putting it all together, esp. the music….I have 7 cd’s of variuos random tunes….Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Abba, Boston, Heart, Linda Ronstadt, The Cars, Blondie, Rod Stewart, Village People….quite the selection…..oh, and Queen…..were those THE BEST times musically, or what ?? Any last minute advice ???

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