People Break Down What Class Reunions Are Really Like
High school reunions are wild. Not only is it really bizarre for the students who see their peers all grown up, but it's also just as weird for the teachers. The people who saw you at your most confusing, vulnerable time, now seeing who you've become. Here are some stories from the teachers' perspective.
u/ReallySmartHamster asked: Teachers who regularly get invited to high school reunions, what are the most amazing transformations, common patterns, epic stories, saddest declines etc. you've seen through the years?
My grandpa invited his English teacher from high school to their 60th HS reunion. She was 97 at the time (101 now) and is sharp as a tack. She had a wonderful time seeing everyone and even remembered a good portion of her students, but did mention that it was disheartening to see students of hers who have died or are suffering from dementia.
Dress to impress.Giphy
Common patterns are that the 10 year reunion, they all show up with the intention to impress - fancy clothes are the norm, many women look as if they went to the salon to have their hair styled, spouses are primped in a similar fashion (and also brought to the reunion).
By the next reunion, usually the class has lost at least one person unexpectedly so there is always the tribute table and the mood is more about reminiscing about old times than trying to impress each other. Dress is usually more casual and less presence of spouses (unless they are graduates of the same high school).
He has a good memory.
I know that this is a reach-out to teachers but I want to do a shout-out to a teacher.
I attended only my 20th year reunion in 1999, and only because I had to return home to my family because my step-mother was dying. I had left town the day after graduation and never looked back.
A math teacher who taught calculus and coached football was so amazing in our school and our community that the whole town had created a day devoted to him and named it "Garvin Day." He was retiring that year.
He was a man of quiet intensity. I remember his catching me and some friends smoking in the boiler room and he looked at each of us intently. "I don't think that's very smart to smoke in here. I'd have thought y'all were smarter than this."
It was a Catholic college prep school with very strict rules that had any other teacher caught us, we would have been expelled.
Coach Garvin had such patience in his ways, and he worked every angle to get us to understand math. He listened and when he spoke, he spoke to each one of us.
So on the day I roll up to the school, there was a line the whole length of the football field to say hey to Coach Garvin. I couldn't wait to see him although I doubted he'd remember little ole me after 20 years!
It took me almost an hour to hear him speak my name, as he had spoken each other name of every one of us in that line I imagine.
"How have you been? What have you been doing? You still smoking?"
I missed my 10 years reunion but I went to 15 years.
As some said, most people came to impress others. I don't care, I was there to see a guy I was friends with in school. He was a very intelligent dude, but clearly had a problem with authorities. When we got older, he worked as a chemist and also liked drugs. Back in the days, we used to smoke pot regularly but he found other friends and things for worse. Like cooking-meth-and-get-your-door kicked-in-weekly-by-cops-or-russians-worse. Last thing I heard, he went to jail for a couple of years.
When I met him at the reunion, he was also happy to see me. We talked almost the whole evening, it was great. What I liked the most, he found a wife when he got out of jail, she supported him to get rid of an heroin-addiction he got in jail and he's a proud father of two kids. Nice transformation.
Nothing to be ashamed of.Giphy
I was one of the valedictorians and got voted most likely to become president, I dated the same guy most of the way through high school and married him in college.
10 years down the way, I was divorced and on disability for mental illness. I was actually afraid to go to the reunion because things were TOTALLY different. I don't know why, but I seriously thought people would think bad of me for getting a divorce.
Our school did something interesting for the reunion. One part was a formal sit down dinner that cost something like $80. But another part was a free BBQ down at the local park. I went to the freebie. Everyone was pretty casual. Very few of the former popular crowd came - guess they just wanted to show off at the formal dinner.
Lots of other people there had been honors students and had also gotten a harsh smack in the face by life. Lots of the valedictorians and honors students failed out of college by sophomore year. I know a couple of them had gone through rehab. I was surprised to find I wasn't the only one who was mentally ill - we'd all apparently been REALLY good at hiding it in high school.
A lot of people got into fields no one would have pegged them for. The shyest girl worked as a pharma rep, scrawny dorky kid was now absolutely ripped and in the military. I'd been known as a writer and journalist, but I know several people were surprised to hear I'd primarily worked as a computer tech.
So I'd worked myself up for nothing. I was glad I went. I'm guessing the school didn't bother to do anything for 20th or 25th, or maybe the former popular kids decided having a free event again was gauche.
There was a kid in my high school who was, for lack of a better term, a huge f*ck up. Lots of drugs, really overweight, constantly getting suspended, getting in fights, trouble with the law, etc.
So I show up to my 10 year reunion, And there is this guy there that nobody recognizes. Tall, long hair, muscular, pretty good looking. It's the same guy. Literally none of us could picture him so he had to show us old photos on his phone. He told me that after high school he got a job cleaning pools, which "saved his life" according to him. It was really tough work which got him in shape, and helped him kick drugs and gave him a purpose. Eventually he started his own pool cleaning business and has since expanded it enough that he makes fantastic money and doesn't even work 40 hours a week, and it's still growing.
It sounded like he had some demons to work through, but he literally went from being somebody we all kinda expected to spend his life in jail, to arguably being the best looking guy at the reunion, making more money than almost anyone there, and just having a huge turnaround. Probably the biggest talk of the night, and honestly, I think everyone was really impressed. I know I was. He deserved all the kudos he got.
We got in contact via 'friendsreunited' (if anyone remembers that) and I was chatting with a couple of people in the weeks leading up to the reunion
I was making jokes about seeing a girl - Carol - who everyone wanted to 'be friends' with. Making jokes about how she was a flirt and probably had been through a couple of husbands by now, when someone informed me that she had died of cancer at age 20
Once at the reunion, I asked 'whatever happened to Gary L'... Gary was a joker, he was friends with everyone and, somehow, able to fit in with all the different factions at school.
I was told that Good ol' Gary was in prison, on multiple counts of Possession of CP.
All I know is I got super drunk with my favorite teacher at our 5-year reunion. She's amazing. She's a romance writer, not above a stupid prank, and a ton of fun. It's not the only time we got drunk together. Seeing different a side to teachers is interesting as an adult.
Awwww that's so great.
Our school had a 3 strike rule, even to drugs. I was the supply teacher that people liked and talked to, I helped a kid when his parents were on drugs, it turned out he was on drugs too. Weeks after that he just looked tired and worn out.
Next time I see him he's happy, cheerful and a great looking guy he would no longer have to keep his head down, he was no longer the weird kid that everyone stays away from.
I ran into my old math teacher who thought I was a complete dummy a few months ago. He's not a teacher anymore, runs a tire shop.
He was pretty shocked that I'm doing very well in life.
I wouldn't either.Giphy
Since I was still in school, I couldn't wait to attend my reunions; I imagined we're all finally our fully developed selves, over the pettiness and cliques, able to converse as adults.
I flew across the country to attend my 10th reunion. It was small, and awkward, and there were a LOT of single moms with 10-year-olds. It was in our town's local bro-pub. No one spoke to me then either.
Did not attend 20th.
Good for him.
My first two years there was a kid who was very troubled. Complete disruption, immature, defiant. He was caught selling Xanax, was almost put up for expulsion and graduated after doing just enough independent study work...
A few years later he showed up to the reunion a completely different person. Tall, in shape, confident, well-spoken and he had just passed his exam to become an x-ray technician. He had very normal conversations with staff members and I about budgeting so he could save up for a nicer house and other appropriate topics. If you'd have known this kid when he was in his teens never in a billion years would you have thought you'd have that kind of conversation with him. Very proud of him.
A lot can relate.
At my 40th I was stunned at the number of classmates in recovery. Being in recovery brought together classmates who 49 years earlier had nothing in common.
Sometimes you just move on.Giphy
Only half of my class showed up for the 10 year. We are supposed to have my 20 year this year, but I doubt it will even happen. Even if we weren't dealing with a global pandemic, I don't think anyone really gives a sh*t. I went to a small (for NJ) Catholic high school; we had a tight class, but most of us just moved on with our lives to care much.
Went to my 30th in November, flew there just to go to the reunion. Reconnected with my favorite teacher from high school, who was the same age I am now when she taught me. Told her she had to go to the reunion and she had a blast.
So glad I went especially in light of everything now. Made a point of telling the people who were good and kind to me what they did and how it still impacts me.
Most people can be very guarded because of their vulnerabilities, even if you think you know them really well.
These disconcerting memories or character traits are better left undisclosed, for they can be painful for individuals to revisit or acknowledge.
On the other hand, opening up about these disturbing facts can also be therapeutic as long as they are revealed anonymously.
And the opportunity for strangers online to unburden themselves arose when Redditor _Lord_Infamous asked:
"What is a scary, unsettling fact about you?"
Certain facts about these Redditors are perplexing.
"I do not actually remember a decent chunk of my life, whenever I talk about most of my childhood I use words that leave room for mistakes and am generally using memories and ideas I've compiled from hearing other people say things about me."
"There is actually a large chunks of facts about myself that I only think I know, and don't have personal confirmation of."
Dead Or Alive
"I’m convinced with no evidence that my father is still alive and that my whole family is lying to me. I logically know he is not. But every knock on the door I open half expecting my father. Could be something to work through … but it’s not really affecting me day to day. My grandfather died and I thought I would feel the same way. Nope. He is dead and I miss him but he is dead."
Warning: Self-Harm Trigger
"Growing up I had a recurring nightmare set in my grandparents backyard looking at the back of their house. There was just something 'off' about the house. Something mildly sinister. I dreamt this over and over, many times over the years."
"In 2018, my dad (who now owned the house) went into the backyard to that spot and killed himself."
"I haven’t had the backyard dream since."
Nightmares Come True
"I had a recurring super vivid intense dream at like 4.... my uncle was chasing us around a labyrinth with a large knife... trying to kill me and my grandmother. 25 or so years later the same uncle (complete paranoid delusional schizophrenic) murders my grandmother at her condo... with the very nice chef knife I bought her for Christmas the year before..."
"Less scary and more shocking, but when I was 9 years old I survived a home invasion where I was shot 6 times. I played dead on the floor until the man left and called 911 and in my adrenaline rush I thought they couldn't find my house so I crawled with my left are swinging the wrong way and my right leg limp from nerve damage, all the way to the front door when he broke in from the back of the house."
"I lived with only my mother who unfortunately didn't survive. I vividly remember picking out the guy in a photo line up while recovering in the ICU."
"I am very lucky to have kept my left arm, I have 32 pins and screws to make up for my shattered elbow. My left leg has permanent nerve damage and I now have 'drop foot'. Despite my physical injuries and PTSD, I am doing very well."
We are not all born the same.
"I'm one of the lucky few with the CCR5-delta-32 mutation. Why is that relevant? It makes me immune to HIV and a handful of other pathogens, most notably the Bubonic Plague."
"I have 2 lenses in my right eye, so it focuses like binoculars. My doctor wrote a paper about it. Mostly blinded as a baby in my left eye. Dr suspected my right lense split then healed as 2 distinct lenses. Better than 20/20 in my right eye."
"When I was born, I was so premature that my dad, who had quite dainty piano fingers, could slide his wedding ring up my arm to my shoulder. (I weighed 2 lbs, born at 27 weeks)."
"I had 6 toes on each foot at birth and got them cut off you can see the place they cut them at."
People live with the unfortunate risk that their lives can be cut short at any given moment.
Ticking Time Bomb
"I have an enlarged aortic root. It's very unlikely, but it could spontaneously rupture leading to the medical term adjusts glasses... 'instantaneous death'. I would pass out, bleed to death, and then fall over. Dead before hitting the ground. And it could happen at any time. My wife is very uncomfortable thinking about it lol."
For The Sake Of Survival
"my immune system backfired and tried to murder me and almost succeeded. I now have to take multiple injections every single day all day or i'll die a painful death within a week."
"Just trying to write diabetes in the most bad-a** way."
A friend of mine once told me that the name I've known him by was not his real name.
He had gone by an alias, which everyone at work assumed was his actual name, to protect himself and his identity after he had been violently hunted down, stalked and threatened for his life for witnessing a murder.
The suspects involved were eventually caught and locked away for good.
I don't remember all the other details about the traumatizing incident because I was completely stupefied.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
We never leave two movies feeling the same way.
In some cases, we are so moved by what we just saw, that we are sobbing so loudly, we're getting concerned looks from our fellow moviegoers.
In other cases, we waste no time in leaving, as we have just spent two hours or so of our lives we'll never get back again watching something which could have been made by second graders.
And then, there are the times when we leave the theatre, and all we can think is, "what the f*ck?"
Not necessarily because it was bad, but because we can't process exactly what we just saw.
It could be something we can appreciate more over time, with repeat viewings... how many views did it take you to fully understand Inception? Be honest!
Or, we are befuddled beyond words as to how such an inane, amateurish creation ever saw the light of day.
"What is your "WTF did I just watch?" movie?"
Dystopian Doesn't Even Begin To Describe It
"You have a certain time to become married and if you fail to find a spouse you get sent to an asylum where you must find a spouse from among the other singles."
"If you again fail to find a partner, you must choose which animal you want to be turned into, and then they turn you into that animal."- Leemage
Chloë Sevigny Knows How To Pick Them...
A Podcaster's Worst Nightmare
With A Title Like That...
"Antichrist."- EwoksEwoksEwoksWillem Dafoe Smile GIFGiphy
Only 67 Minutes... But Plenty Of Gore
"Tetsuo the Ironman (would very strongly not recommend for people with weak stomachs)."- PeruvianPolarbear14
A Homicidal Car Tire... Yes You Read That Correctly...
Beyond Love, Beyond Death...
Glad It Didn't Disappoint... I Guess?
"Salo, or 120 days of Sodom."
"Granted, I had a phase where I was purposely looking for disturbing movies and this one sure didn't disappoint."- Reddit
Was The Title An Actual Apology?
"Sorry to bother you."- kappaidan
Darren Aronofsky At His Strangest...
"Mother."- dank-yharnam-nugsjennifer lawrence mother movie GIF by mother!Giphy
Meet The Parents gone wrong...
"I'm Thinking of Ending Things."- Vandalatwork
Charlie Kaufman Strikes Again!
"Being John Malkovich."- getlough
Not The Kind You're Thinking Of...
"Teeth."- timyorbaHappy Dance GIF by benjamin lemoineGiphy
One thing that can be said about all these movies, those who see them will never forget them.
Which may or may not be a good thing...
Now, which film should we add to this list?
Franklin D. Roosevelt once famously said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Words of encouragement to all Americans during his inaugural address, as America was in the midst of the great depression, with countless people having lost their jobs, their homes, and even their will to live.
While America did, indeed, bounce back, it hasn't stopped people from constantly living in fear.
Sadly, we're not talking about unfounded fears, such as ghosts or superstitions.
Unfortunately, there is plenty to be afraid of in this world, and horrifying evidence to prove it.
"What is a fact that scares you?"
"That something like close to half of murders reported in the US are never solved."
"That’s just of the reported ones."- YAYtersalad
It Could Happen To Anyone
"Any day, you could have a stroke and lose all your autonomy and become as dependant as a baby."- FrenchMaisNon
"That any of us could have a brain aneurysm right now and not even know it's coming."- becomingNope
Just The Way Things Work
"The number of people older than me will never increase."- Vinny_Lam
At Least You Wouldn't Feel It?
"For some reason, the fact that you poop/pee yourself when you die."
"I know that it won’t matter because I’ll be dead, anyway, but I’ve always been weirded out by that."- EllieK24601
Cherish Your Time Together
"That my parents and grandparents are slowly getting older and it's just a matter of time before I start losing them all one by one and there's nothing I can do about it."- Kysman95
When Nothing Ever Seems To Be Alright...
"I logically know I am fine, but my anxiety won’t let me accept that."- HotSpicedChai
Next Time you Think About Putting It Out There To The Universe...
"That outside of our planet, zero of our achievements/history/language/currency matters."
'It can all be erased in a second and there would be no knowledge of us ever existing in the first place to anyone else in the universe."
"We are meaningless outside of this sphere."- EmergencyNoodlePack
It Really Doesn't Seem That Long
"We only live for about 4,000 weeks."-_Light_The_Way
"That Dopplegangers exist."
"They say that there are at least a couple people in the world that look exactly like you without being blood related and I met mine."
"He was a f*cking criminal and got into trouble so many times with the law that I myself had been mistaken for him three times."
"The only difference was me having sleeves."
"My tattoos saved me from being mistaken for him."
"I was brought in and put in a lineup, and she said herself, 'that looks like him, but he doesn’t have a single tattoo'."
"4 hours later they found him and the sheriff’s department was dumbfounded that we weren’t twins."
"Like looking in a mirror."
"I was released, and a more than needed apology was given by the chief of police and arresting officer."- TinyoneT33
They Need Something To Keep Them Going
"The most well-educated and intelligent people are also those most afflicted with issues like despair, depression, and existential crises."
"Reality is a nightmare of horrors lying just beneath the surface, and the more aware of how things really work you are the more truly miserable you are, generally."- Emperor_Cartagia
It Could Be Comforting?
"When I die, I will be able to hear what people are saying, my last bit of brain activity will be processing those words or sounds and they will be echoed into my forever dream."
"Hope nobody says anything f*cked up.
"According to recent studies, auditory stimulus is the last sense to be lost, it's anticipated that people actually listen long enough to hear they’re pronounced dead."- TheUpsideDownWorlds·
Where Does The Time Go?
"The fact that the past 10 years of my life have flown by, and it means I got about a decade before I become the same age as my parents when I was born."
"Meaning that I’m just slowly going to age till it’s time for me to pass."
"And I still don’t even know why I’m living or what I want to do, or even feel like I’m happy."- Unhookingsnow6
"I've lived over half my life already."- Lucky-11
It's hard not to be scared by any or all of these facts.
But being afraid of just about anything almost never does anyone any good, as there is also plenty in this world to be hopeful and optimistic about.
As famously quipped in Baz Luhrmann's classic Strictly Ballroom, "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."
Every generation has its own trends.
As a millennial, I’ll be the first to admit we had our fair share of silly or stupid trends.
Remember the cinnamon challenge? Or all the Harlem Shake videos? We were not the brightest crayons in the box.
Girls wore only skinny jeans, boys adopted Justin Beiber’s side-swept haircut, and we spent more time on YouTube than any other social media site.
Those who belong to Generation Z think we were pretty stupid too, but everyone else thinks Gen Z have their fair share of weird trends. Tide pods, anyone?
If we turn to Reddit, those Gen Z trends can be easily identified.
Curious to find out more, Redditor Distinct_Bee_4580 asked:
“What’s a trend among Gen Zs you find weird?”
"Documenting themselves committing crimes then posting them to social media."
"was at a (car) accident reconstruction engineering office this summer and a 20 ish yo guy drove of the edge of the road and died and his snap story from the night was a video of his speedometer at 100+ in the dark in the rain and he was bragging that he was going fast (and also drunk)"
Look How Stupid I Am!
"They film EVERYTHING"
"I went out drinking with a mixed age group. We got silly drunk, and had a good time. A few months later, one of the younger girls posted a "hilarous" video of me blackout drunk and acting stupid. Nothing illegal, just embarrassing. It was horrifying. Like, why would you video someone that vulnerable, and then put it out in public? Like, what other videos did they take? She took it down, but didn't understand at all why I was so angry at her - because "she posted dumber sh*t of herself all the time!""
"Never again. I'll just stick with my older friends who know not to film anyone doing stupid sh*t."
"this. gen z getting themselves fired from work over tiktoks is such a common occurrence."
"Gen Z here. Romanticization of mental illness or crime."
"fr it’s embarrassing because they treat it like it’s a competition or something quirky like… no it’s not? stop making your mental illnesses your only personality traits"
Evolution Of Hair
"Brocoli haircut. Will definitely age like milk"
"Ahh the “Meet me at mcdonald's haircut”, no seriously that’s it name, you can google it"
Like e.e. cummings
"Finally I can ask this. Why do a large amount of gen Z's not use capital letters? Is capitalization going the way of cursive writing?"
"It's probably because of texting. Over time, texting with capitalized letters became seen as too formal, and people began to intentionally remove capitalization to seem more laid-back and informal."
"Millennial here and a lot of people my age used to not use capital letters either in our early twenties. Might be regional, might just be a general "trying hard to appear chill" kind of thing"
Use A Dictionary
"Saying gaslighting every f*cking day with no comprehension of the word."
"I know what it means stop gaslighting me"
Here's My Life Story
"Oversharing personal struggles, overdramatizing common anxieties/struggles, and flaunting "going to therapy" to the point where it's clearly a means of seeking attention and staying relevant."
"On a related note, since I see it on dating apps all the time, when every other bio puts "going to therapy" as a green flag. Like yeah, that should be normalized, but mental health practices are turning into a new form of virtue signaling."
"Bothering people just trying to go about their day in the name of "pranking.""
"I've seen one that regularly goes into a store like Home Depot and pretends to be an employee and then films the real employees who seem to be going a little overboard in their reactions; but I'm just like this poor guy is just trying to get through his workday without this bullsh*t."
"I just saw a man was getting charges pressed against him for attacking a kid that was "pretending to steal his luggage as a prank." The 'prankee' grabbed the kid by the hair and probably did go a little overboard but the number of comments I saw defending the kid amazed me. JUST LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE!!"
Feel The Beat
"Stupid Tik tok dances"
"At least they're getting some exercise"
"Trying to “cancel” singers/rappers/actors for things they said 30 years ago when social norms were different"
"Gen z is the most pretentious moralistic and puritanical gen since maybe the lost gen"
The Capacity To Care
"For me it’s the insinuation that I’m supposed to care about every problem/issue in the world. It’s not realistic- we as humans don’t have the emotional bandwidth to care or even keep track of all the issues in todays world. Social media is constantly bombarding these kids with the most recent catastrophe and everyone is expected to be an activist for it until the news cycle breaks. Pick an issue you’re passionate about and do something, but letting every atrocity in the world affect your emotional state is counter-productive and makes you feel like the boot is against your neck at all times"
"My opinion is that this contributes to the rise of mental health issues like depression-"
Let People Be Who They Are
"Queer discourse. Not in general, but the way I see now. People fighting each other over Pronouns, attacking each other because they don't believe someone else should go by the label they use."
"It feels like the LGBTQ community is running around in circles, nibbling at its tail and not realising its bleeding to death."
Cause And Effect
"For me it's claiming everything as abuse..."
"*got punished for doing or not doing something they were told/asked to do or not do a thousand times... gets punished... that's abuse... wtf... actions and inaction have consequences... Don't want the consequence then don't do or do what I asked/ told you to do or not do... It was that simple when I was growing up..."
The Internet Can't Help You
"As a gen-z myself, I'm also confused on why everything has to be posted on social media:"
""OMG I'm gonna die 😭😭😭""
""He made it into my house 😭😒🥺🥺""
""Idk what I should do now 😔😔😟😭😓""
"So you decided to post about it on social media rather then calling the police or ANYONE ELSE FOR HELP?"
"Or the other way around"
""Look what a fun life I have, I'm here on the mountains with my entire family" nobody is home for 2 weeks pls come rob me"
"They are really the first generation with the capability to do that easily. They’re like the oldest siblings who makes all the mistakes so the younger ones can learn from it. I salute their sacrifice."
Do you have any trends to add? Let us know in the comments below!