COMMENT: High school reunions – to go or not to go.

This year marks 20 years since my A-levels – which means next year, the first members of my class will turn 40.

By Jon Ball
Wednesday, 30th September 2015, 1:06 pm
Are our school days really the best days of our lives?
Are our school days really the best days of our lives?

And, to mark the occasions, one former schoolmate has come up with those three fabled words – high school reunion.

Social media means it is a lot easier to keep in touch with former classmates these ideas.

Even when people move away or phone numbers get lost, Facebook manages to keep everyone indelibly linked.

And so it is that within less than a week of the idea surfacing, more than 80 people are involved in the “conversation”, with many excited about the idea.

Therein lies the problem. I’m not sure I am.

School days are supposed to be the best days of our lives. For an awful lot of people, they really aren’t.

University, although not without its low moments, was way more fun for me, but I’m happier now than ever – having kids will do that to you.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy school. I had some great times and made some great friends, but it’s not a period of my life I look back on with 100 per cent fondness.

I wasn’t cool, wasn’t hugely popular, didn’t get invited to the hip parties and most of the “friends for life” I made I haven’t seen since I left school in 1995.

And reading some of the comments about the reunion, it appears I’m not the only one feeling that way.

One former “friend”, who has already ruled out attending, says: “My whole childhood was by and large rather an uncomfortable experience. As for high school I did not excel socially.”

Another has posted: “I didn’t really fit in at high school and turned my spare time to showing dogs.”

Next year, he is judging at Crufts, so at least some good came out of it.

We didn’t have defined groups like the US high schools of Hollywood films. There weren’t distinctive groups of jocks and nerds, goths and gangsters,

Most of us were a mass of adolescent hormones, drifting around, trying and failing to fit in with the cool kids.

And reading the messages, it seems even the cool kids didn’t realise that they were the cool kids.

There were people who were horrible to me. There were people I was horrible to – and I say a heartfelt sorry to anyone I upset,

There are people I’d like to see again, There are people I’m not bothered about.

And there are dozens of people I’d forgotten all about – some deliberately – or can’t even remember two decades on.

And that is probably the biggest the problem for me.

If I can’t remember a lot of the people, I expect even more can’t remember me, the shy little kid with bad hair and even worse glasses.

I must admit I am curious to know what people are up to, although Facebook stalking means I know we number a lot of marriages and children between us and are spread far and wide across the world, from Norwich to Sheffield to the East Midlands to Edinburgh to London to France, Switzerland and, of course, Australia, And our alumni includes the director of a computer firm, a professional rugby player, a published author, an Ofsted inspector and the owner of a string of Swiss ski chalets.

So do I go and risk those feelings of being on the outside looking in again?

Do I do a Romy and Michele and invent a fake career to impress those people who probably don’t really care one way or another?

Do I go along in the spirit of friendship with a smile and a handshake for those people genuinely interested in what we’ve all been up to since leaving school all those years ago?

Or do I just sit at home and wonder what I’m missing out on – much like all the cool parties when I was at school?