22 October 2012
school reunions: do you go . . . will you??
I tossed my family in the car on Saturday morning & headed for my home town of Sydney, were i was born, raised, educated & met the love of my life. Living only 300km away makes trips home easy, it's a very special city, it calls you home. When you fly in from overseas, over that harbour - the bridge, Opera House, blue water, exceptional city sky line - i cry, i'm coming home.
It was my 20 year school reunion, from Ravenswood School for Girls, Gordon, a typical exclusive North Shore private school with famous, political & wealthy families who live in mansions with a fleet of European cars. Some of us were further down the wealthy tree though & from big families who pulled resources to cover those exorbitant fees. Many of us went to University in Sydney, so keeping in touch was easy, but it was the 90's & email wasn't common, social networks didn't exist. I was married by our 5 year reunion & already had 3 children & a small business by the 10 year mark. This time round i was expecting much bigger changes. I was thrilled to recognise & be recognised by almost everyone. It was like one massive networking party where everyone was the same age, had a similar background/ starting point & now we were catching up after 20 years!! Yet it felt SO non judgemental.
I asked if we could do a school tour - see where our parent's money had gone - let's just say, wow, enormous architectural award winning buildings connecting the whole school & very sophisticated grounds. My nieces went there & it's not dissimilar to my eldest daughter's ladies college here, however, to my school friends who hadn't ventured into 'today's modern school' with cafes, barristers, performance auditoriums & flexible learning centres . . . they were amazed!!
The school tour was a fantastic ice breaker, 40 girls came along & lots of the squealing, hugs & chatter started early. At the reunion venue, another 40 girls joined us, commence more screaming, laughter & sheer joy to see each other. Everyone was so happy, upbeat & the atmosphere electric. I made a speech: to recognise how special our year was & i really knew how lucky we were, as the mummy of a high schooler now, we were a fantastic bunch of girls. My sister had an awful year group, she'd never ever want to attend a reunion. It was evident with the number of girls who came along, that we thoroughly enjoyed most of our school years. Some were boarders, others started in preschool - that's a lot of time together!!
There was a genuine mix of occupations, mothers, business leaders, single girls & most interesting - so many of us have completely changed our paths, due to discovering the real world, or motherhood, or a passion to do something more meaningful. Remember i was on the path to be a forensic scientist, before it was CSI prime time cool. Some girls had lost children, divorced, remarried, parents had passed away . . . they were honest & brave. My parents were over involved in my life - car pooling, parties, sports - so lots of girls asked after them. I was telling my father today, he remembers ALL of my friends, he was so thrilled they were interested. They were of course, devastated to hear my mother has Alzheimer's & is a shell of the former loving, home baking, wonderful mother she was.
I was reunited with my best friend from year 6, now living in Cairns - would you believe we're holidaying in the exact same place at Christmas?? I can't wait to meet her family. We were inseparable, then she moved & changed schools, we lost contact. My two best buddies from middle high school abandoned me for Geelong Grammar, i finally saw them again. Now we were really up to mischief back in year 10, so to find they are mothers, one's a journalist, the other a school teacher (in my brother's suburb!!) i nearly died. They can still party though!! I found a few girls were living here in Canberra, alas, lots of girls i adored didn't come, many were overseas. I was shocked to see one of the most glamorous girls now has a chronic pain condition & has lost her shine. Still lovely & chatty, has a beautiful family & lives all over the world, but i wanted to talk to her for hours, see if there was anything i could do to help. Is the biggest female-faux-pas turning up in the same outfit as someone else?? No way. The girl i've known since preschool & grew up one street away, turned up in the same blouse. We just laughed & agreed we still had excellent taste!! A few of us have four children, some have twins, one girl has five children & cleverly scheduled a 'make over' the day of our reunion so she looked a million dollars!!
I assume things started to get less pretty after 1a.m. when my husband collected me. I don't drink but apparently i was talking REALLY LOUDLY & didn't take a breath the whole trip home from North Sydney. My husband was impressed i wasn't carrying my new glittery high heels (thank you Alannah Hill, they were very comfortable!!) Of course my husband knows most of these girls too, we're onto our 19th year together. The general consensus was that 10 year gaps are too long, bring on the quarter-of-a-century reunion please.
Now most of the 120 girls from year 12: 1992 are on line, i can hunt them down & catch up. I was really flattered that so many girls had followed my design career & knew what i was up to. Is there any better feeling knowing people care about you??
Waking up on Sunday morning at my childhood family home in St Ives was really special. It took a while for my husband & i to realise that one of my nieces has pinched my old double bed. I love that my children can run around the same house & garden that i grew up in, i know all the great hiding places!! I adore that handsome soldier has been part of my entire adult life too. We ventured to his parent's place for lunch in Summer Hill. It's my husband's childhood family home too. We have moved 6 times since we started a family, thus our desire to settle & give them a place to bring our grandchildren home to.
Needless to say being up for 20 hours on Saturday left me rather drowsy on Sunday afternoon as we headed home to Canberra. I filled handsome soldier in on all the finer details of my girlfriends' lives & a few mentioned "your husband is still hot" when they saw him at the school tour. We genuinely had a blast on Saturday night, it could have gone on for days!!
So, school reunions, do you/ would you go along?? Is it girl thing?? Most of us have husbands who don't care about school reunions, they keep in touch with who they want to, a small circle of mates. Clearly i love them & thoroughly enjoyed my years at school. We know we got lucky with a great group - we were't cliquey & if there were groups, they weren't exclusive & i'd like to think everyone felt accepted. Love Posie