22 October 2012

school reunions: do you go . . . will you??

 Greetings all,
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


Amanda said...

Sounds like you had a blast and what a great group of girls you must have gone through school with. For me, I lost touch with the circle I went through high school with, we grew apart in the uni years and many, I haven't seen since my 21st. As for a high school reunion, I've never been to any and probably have no interest in any that come up :)

Glad the new shoes lasted the night :)

Michele @ The Hills are Alive said...

I missed my 20th (moved interstate, too costly and too hard to get away for it with a young family and husband working away and little one newly diagnosed with ASD etc etc) but wish I had made it. Most of the year level turned up and looking at photos and hearing stories I really missed going/seeing everyone.

Glad yous was such a success. Hard to believe its been 20 years hey

polkadotpeticoat said...

Never been to one....can't wait to see how yours goes.....

Melbourne Girl said...

Glad you had a good time...and yes I do go to all of our school reunions. I say "all" because we have such a great time we keep organising them.
We've had 4 so far, (I am a bit older than you) and have a blast every single time! I still have friends from school...male and female so it's always good to get together and catch up


Sue said...

In 2003 I went to my husbands 30 year reunion, saw boys that I hadn't seen since 1967 when we were in a composite 5/6th class at Oatley West Public School. They had gone to Hurstville Boys and I had gone a year later to Penshurst Girls. I had a ball at his reunion catching up with old school friends, I left 4th form (year 10)40 years ago and went straight into a job at Bank of NSW (now Westpac) we have talked about a reunion in 2 years time when the rest of my year finished 6th form. I have joined the facebook page for my school and have friends from my time there and even managed to actually catch up in person. Yes it is fun to see where we are now, kids and their ages - married or not, whether we are grandparents yet, how many grandkids and their ages, you get the idea because by 25 or 30 years these are the questions.
Loved reading about your reunion and now I will have to make the effort to get to that 40 year one in 2 years time

emma @ frog, goose and bear said...

Sounds like fun! I'm the same age as you - still can't believe it's been 20 years! It's great to realise how much has happened since then though and how much we've grown and changed since then. Our school doesn't seem to organise big reunions but my year level (thanks to Facebook!!) has started getting together between Christmas and new year at the local pub (I grew up on the country) when everyone is home for Christmas. Unfortunately my fam have all moved away so I haven't been able to make it yet. I actually think I'd be a little petrified though.

Mother Down Under said...

I have never been to a high school reunion but I am flying home this June to go to my fifteenth!
I am so excited!
I really can't believe it but all me and all my friends have grown up and had babies...I cannot wait to catch up with them and meet their families!

Hearing how great yours was is making me all the more excited for mine!

Tania McCartney said...

It's not my thing, I must admit, but I'm living vicariously through you!

Sarah B said...

We had a high school reunion this last January, just a casual catchup at a pub close to our old school. I was a bit nervous but had a great time. I think everyone was suprised I was one of the few without a husband or kids, I think they had pegged me for both and I found it both interesting and lovely to see the rough, naughty boys from school had turned into family men. It was fun :)

seabreezequilts said...

Sounds like you had amazing time. Personally I won't go to school reunions. High school was very trying, I was a total introvert, I have met up with a couple of girls from time to time but I just figure that part of my life is in the past and it doesn't help to look back. I'm glad you had a fantastic time.

seabreezequilts said...

Sounds like you had amazing time. Personally I won't go to school reunions. High school was very trying, I was a total introvert, I have met up with a couple of girls from time to time but I just figure that part of my life is in the past and it doesn't help to look back. I'm glad you had a fantastic time.

alison@thisbloominglife said...

Wow, I can't imagine visiting my childhood home, must be lovely! I made your mums sausage rolls tonite. Kept imagining i was going to walk into you at gungers as I was googling the recipe. Kids loved them and heaps for bfast and lunch. Thanks xxx

Little Nan said...

I missed my 20 year school reunion last year....just not up for it. Lots of growing apart. Lots. And honestly, there is alot of high school that I just can not remember. High school was good, no bad memories...I just have terrible memory myself! I didn't want to go if I couldn't remember anyones name!!
But it sounds like you had fun!!!

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bluebirdsunshine said...

My stomach just got little butterflies reading your description of coming home to Sydney as in 3 weeks time I'll be doing the flight in over the sparkly blue waters, visiting home for the first time in 3 years.

I'm still friends with a lot of the girls I went to High School with and a 20th reunion would be so much fun. It would be in 3 yrs so I best time a visit home with that if it happens :) Sounds like you had a blast!

Jane said...

I'm so delighted to hear how well it turned out, Jennie, after all your preparations. I organised our 20th reunion which was just fantastic. I loved the non-judgemental nature everyone adopted. People are already asking me about our 25th in October 2013 ☺. J x

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