Last month I flew back to Chicago for three days packed with get-togethers and reunions which ran the gamut of people from grade school, to guys from high school, to fellow college architecture alumni, to Flickr peeps who I may or may not have met before. It was a great weekend and while I was glad to meet the latter two groups, it was primarily the former two groups who were the reason for the trip. In part because it had been so much longer since I’d seen them and because I’d lost touch with many of them.

Both the grade school and high school reunions were quite interesting. For each of them only about a dozen people made it out. Our grade school class had been about 60 while our high school class was 476, so the high school reunion was rather sparce considering. But in both cases, I pretty much knew everyone who came. One of the things that amazed me about both reunions was that some of the barriers that limited how much we interacted back then were gone. It seemed that divisions such as cliques in grade school or jock vs. nerd in high school were gone. (BTW, I was fortunate to be on both sides of the jock/nerd fence. So I got to know a lot of people.) Contrary to what you would expect, time seems to have leveled the playing field socially. Or more probably, time has diversified our experiences such that we can now find areas of common ground. I’ll go into what effect Facebook seems to be having on reunions in the next post. But if we were not reminiscing about old times or characters from our past who didn’t make it to the reunion, there always seemed to be common topics like kids, travel, or moving away (for me, anyway).

Grade School Reunion

For the grade school reunion in particular, no one seemed to pull any power trips. There was no showboating about status. There was genuine interest in finding about each other and what we were doing in life. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had largely lost contact with the people from this part of my life. So I was looking forward to reconnecting and seeing what had happened to everyone. It was actually quite refreshing to see that the character of those people from the old neighborhood was the same. Conversations flowed quite naturally and I think much of that had to do with having grown up together despite all the years since. And it probably had to do with us all actually growing up.

Despite very few of us still living in the neighborhood, partly due to it’s gentrification, we are still quite the cross section of middle-class urban society. Policeman, firemen, insurance salesmen, secretaries, mechanics, construction workers, stock brokers, real estate agents, and quality assurance managers. We are definitely just a group making our way through life trying to make life better for our kids. It felt really good to reconnect with that.

the thing which was amazing about both reunions was that it seemed that many barriers had disappeared. Clique’s had dissolved and everyone was genuinely happy to see each other after all these years. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had lost contact with almost everyone and have yearned over the last few years to reconnect. So I was very excited from the get-go to see everyone. And it was so easy to talk to everyone. No one was pulling power trips and no one was judging each other.

I’d say it is because we all came from the same background and the people who made the effort to come were already open and interested in seeing everyone and genuinely interested in knowing about htem. It shows the caliber of people who I grew up with and further fostered my interest in reconnecting with them.


~ by Frank on November 23, 2009.

One Response to “Reunions”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more Frank. It seems that all the cliques have disappeared and thank God for that!

    It was great seeing you in person and finally talking to you about your thoughts and experiences in person. I hope it will not be too long until we see each other again and share in a cup or two (or three) of good cheer!

    Until then, take good care of yourself my friend. Keep blogging hard! I’ll be reading.

    L8r g8r,

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