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We all have a story to tell.

  • Writer's pictureBarb Drummond

Reminisce like it's 1978!

Recently, I flew to New Brunswick to surprise my husband, Gord. He was in New Brunswick with our third child, Harrison, spending time with family and friends and gearing up for his 40th high school reunion.

I never seem to be able to surprise Gord. With birthdays or christmas gifts..he is never surprised - he always has this uncanny ability to know what lay beneath the wrapping.

I am never spontaneous. I mean...NEVER...!

I always have to have things organized and scheduled..I don't particularly like change. I mentioned to him weeks ago that I would not be able to attend his reunion since I had student sessions and assessments lined up at work and wouldn't be able to join him... on top of that I had a conference in Edmonton..I couldn't possibly get away...and then I realized with one just one student re-scheduled, I could fly out and surprise him for a just a couple of days. With both our daughters urging, "oh mom... just go, we can watch Clark!" - so off I went!

Sharing memories...

And surprise him I did!

I think he was more in a state of shock rather than surprise that I was so spontaneous and flew with just carry-on to boot! When I appeared at his mom's (I thought I had given his poor mom a heart attack) he was truly surprised jumped up and hugged me several times stepping back between each hug to look to see if I was real. His friend Tom laughing at the whole exchange and our son, Harrison, sat with his mouth gaping open. Minutes later Harrison turned to Gord and said, "Checkmate, dad!"

Yes, checkmate indeed.

It was so much fun - a classic surprise!

As a result of this spontaneous moment, I was able to attend a few functions that his classmates had organized. It was an honour to be included and meet his friends with whom he had spent his high school years. I witnessed friends reuniting and reminiscing over earlier times. Hugs, drinks, laughs, stellar dance moves, and tears seem to ebb and flow throughout their time together.

Smiles, smiles and more smiles...

I believe that reunions can have therapeutic value and this one was no an outsider looking in... I could see old classmates greet each other with fast and furious conversations and for others it was a wary..."I know I should know you but..." It was evident during those exchanges that the names tags were important.

On these name tags were photos of the graduates during their graduate year...the photos even more necessary than the names in some cases I am sure. I loved seeing those name tags and the photos of their younger selves. Some photos could have easily been some of my classmates with the era and the hairstyles so familiar.

Gord's name tag...look at that tie!

I have not had a high school reunion...yet...not sure it is in the cards but.. after witnessing this weekend I certainly hope I do!

Since I had a lot of time to think during the airport delays..I thought about reunions whether school or family and the purpose in are some thoughts...

...People may be reluctant to go their high school or family reunion because of feeling embarrassed about their physical appearance or insecurity about their lack of achievements since graduation or since last being amongst family. For many the idea that we will be compared now to our adolescent selves or our grown classmates may carry the risk for regretting how our lives turned out....being in attendance and not knowing these graduates as their former selves I was delighted to have met so many kind, interesting, intelligent, fun and welcoming people. I was able to witness their hearts rather than perhaps the labels of their past...

Jan and Gordie...

To some, high school reunions or family reunions can be eye-opening. We usually develop wisdom and maturity as we age.

(Yes, some more than others..ha ha!)

However, encountering former classmates and recalling old memories, good and bad, may help us gain better insight into who we are now and how we got here. The graduates I met were wonderful and have become just whom they were meant to be... kind and compassionate people...well in my humble opinion anyway...

High school reunions can be fun..I certainly witnessed a great deal of fun, laughter and hilarious stories and journeys down a variety of "memory lanes". Because I was able to view as a non-graduate it was most obvious to me at just how close this group was and will remain.

To reminiscence with people we knew as our younger selves, as well as our mutual histories in such things as growing up in close neighbourhoods, music, relationships, family situations and historical events is really quite precious. Renewing old friendships, reliving the fun or "the glory days" so-to-speak and feelings of the past are a few of the reasons people attend their high school or family reunions in the first place, I think.


A short memorial was held for those classmates no longer here in their earthly form. It was a touching and bitter sweet reminder that we are not as invincible as we felt we were in our high school years. "Life is short - make it the most" was not lost on me. It made my heart happy with my new found spontenaity.

Such a lovely memorial and reminders of lives lived and lives yet to adventure. It was heartfelt that they too were included ...gone... but not forgotten.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these childhood friends of Gord's and hearing stories of the boy I never knew. Forming new friendships of my own through the man I married.

Thank you Class of 1978 Southern Victoria High!

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