So this past September I attended my 30 year high school reunion.  This was the first one that I even had the opportunity to attend since travel wasn’t an option.

I’d heard a number of reviews of the 10 and 20 year reunions and it didn’t seem that I’d missed all that much: the same cliques were up and running and everyone was out to impress everyone else. Having attended high school in a high-rent suburb in which a new sports car was not an uncommon 16th birthday gift, it’s not that surprising that these kinds of “show me your money” attitudes had continued to color the reunions.  Since I was one of the few “have-nots” in the community, I’m kind of glad that I didn’t make it to those reunions.

But now I was living in my hometown once again and I was actually looking forward to busting into the groups that I wasn’t a part of in high school. This required first deciding to ignor whatever  friendships I hadn’t had with people in high school and to just go up to them and talk.  It’s a little against my introverted tendencies, but there I went.

I found that, although there were some of the same clusters of people gathering together, there wasn’t too much of an “I wasn’t friends with you back then so I don’t want to talk with you now” attitude. It led to plenty of interesting conversations about what they’ve been doing and where they’ve been living. One of my classmates retired as a Microsoft Millionaire back in the 90’s, moved to Tailand, married, had a child, divorced, and now lives with his ex, their child, and her new husband!  Another is a motivational speaker who travels the country and also leads tours of the French wine country with her French husband.  In other words, I had a very interesting time talking with people I hadn’t known.

“My Lover” creepy SNL skit

One semi-creepy moment:  I approached a woman that I didn’t recognized and introduced myself (as I had to everyone I approached – I don’t look all that much like I did in high school). She told me that she had not attended high school with me, but that she was, “Robert’s lover”, pointing to Robert (who I didn’t know either). My mind immediately shot to the SNL skit with Will Farrell and Rachel Dratch creeping out other people in a hot tub and refering to each other as “My Lover”.  Needless to say, I moved along fairly quickly.

Prior to the reunion, I met with the planning committee at the local tavern. I didn’t contribute much to the planning, but it was my opportunity to start intentionally interacting with people I hadn’t in high school. As a result of that meeting, I became a member of the planning team (again, I didn’t contribute any planning work and wasn’t able to attend any more meetings). However, I was contacted by a couple members of the group and asked to create a promotional caricature for the reunion.  I felt it was the least I could do and might lead to more caricature work.

I searched around for inspiration, finally landing on the idea of spoofing a high school movie of the era.  The Breakfast Club came out a few years after we graduated, but it still typified the sub-groups within our high school and the idea of breaking out of those groups.  Plus, it had a fairly iconic poster to play off of.

At first I thought about putting actual classmates into the character poses (rejected: why would I want to perpetuate popular kids vs unpopular kids). Then I considered aging the actors by 30 years (rejected: they wouldn’t look enough like the characters they played in the movie and might ruin

the effect). Finally I hit on the idea of simply dressing them in the garb of my high school: letterman’s jacket, cheerleader uniform, and band uniform.

The final catch phrase was suggested by one of the planning team members “Reunions: They’re not just for Breakfast anymore”.

Anyway, I had a great time during both nights of the reunion and enjoyed a mix of hanging out with my high school friends and with those I never even spoke with in high school.  If you get the chance to attend a reunion, I highly recommend going with the same attitude I had.  Who cares about high school cool?! You may make a new friend if you take a chance.

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