It’s all about the reunion this week. I wrote about the fun and history of my reunions, but I feel obligated to add a short piece dedicated to another group – the spouses. I was lucky that my husband and I graduated the same year in the same city from different high schools with mutual friends at each school. We went to two reunions and had fun at each. Some of my classmates are married to other classmates or their spouses are from here, maybe a few years older or younger, but knowing the places and the faces.

Imagine what it’s like to have to go to a reunion with your spouse or a date when you know nobody and aren’t likely to see them for another ten years? At first, it’s fun to see and meet the people you’ve heard about and sometimes you make friends with other spouses, but, mostly, you must feel like a tag-a-long. Unless you’re the trophy wife or husband or date brought to impress your classmates. Wonder what that’s like?

Many people will never attend a reunion of their own, much less their spouse’s. My father never went to his reunions and my mother only went to one – her 40th! She said it was one of the best things she ever did. She had no idea how much she had been loved and missed and kept up with some of those friends the rest of her life.
Some people hated high school.

Some people had terrible home lives in high school. In my day, we talked about nothing. Everything was kept private between the adults, so we didn’t know if our friends were beaten, their parents were cheating or were alcoholics or had financial problems. We might have suspected, but it just wasn’t talked about. Very few got divorced. We know now that all those things were happening. We shake our heads and wish we had known so we could have helped our friends. Nobody knows what really goes on in most homes, good or bad. Just thoughts running through my head…

The spouses. I had a friend who had been a couple with her husband since 6th grade, childhood sweethearts. She helped him through dental school, they raised two children, all was good. Their 30th reunion came along and he started emailing the girl who had been his girlfriend in 5th grade. Really. She told him she had been married a couple of times, but always wanted him. Both couples divorced and they married. They’re getting divorced now, about 15 years later, and he has a younger girlfriend…big surprise. Some spouses come to the reunion just to protect their marriage, afraid of such a scenario in their own lives. Who knows? People will do crazy things. It’s hard to fight the draw of common memories, long lost loves. I’m trying to remember anyone in our class “hooking up,” as they say today. Maybe. I think we would have heard rumors over the years, but none comes to mind. In a large class, it’s hard to believe.

There’s the other group who come without spouses because they have lost theirs. As one of this group, I can truthfully say that it’s a tough thing to go back alone. There are some who attend hoping to meet someone, but most are taking a brave, lonely step into this weekend. I know several in this group…I’m watching out for them. It’s hard if you loved to dance and lost your partner. It’s hard if you were the quiet one. The weekend is a reminder of sweeter times. Reunions might be too much or they might be very healing. Everything is personal in life.


Reunions are a weekend of going back in time and relating it to our present. Maybe the reality of the reunion doesn’t match what you thought it would be. Maybe you told your spouse one thing about your high school years and he or she thinks it seems a lot different than you described. Some people come to one reunion, some to all. Some say they don’t need a reunion…they keep in contact with the people they want to already. Some are disappointed, most are surprised at how much fun they have.

I’ve noticed that more classmates are coming to our 50th reunion alone. Their spouses have done their part, don’t want to sit through another weekend of watching their husband or wife reminiscing about things they weren’t a part of, would like the time alone. It’s not a bad thing. It’s an honest choice. It will be fun for them to listen to the stories after the fact…maybe, hopefully.

I salute all the spouses who didn’t grow up with their husband or wife or partner, but are sharing them with the class. We love it when they come and hope they have a fabulous time, but we understand when they don’t. Life is too short to spend time doing something you don’t want to do. Life is too short to deny your spouse the chance to do something he or she would love. If you come, enjoy watching your loved one going back in time. If you don’t come, we’ll send them back to you worn out, with a smile, lots of hugs and memories. You have a great weekend on your own. Enjoy your personal time. Cheers!