Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

David Brown’s thoughts on reunions

I’ve become the reunion geek for my high school class. It has been a gradual process that began over twenty years ago when I was asked to help plan our 25th reunion. Several reunions later, I’m still pushing that chain.

I have found so many rewards in bringing our group back together every five years for celebrations of sharing and remembering. The hidden secret of class reunions that never seems to make it into the movie and sitcom scripts is that we’re much more interesting after we’ve ripened a little. We make better friends, and we are better equipped to accept friendship with its blessings and its responsibilities.

Close bonds have grown between classmates who barely knew one another’s names when we took wing and left the nest all those years ago. Those friendships sprang up from well-planned group activities that encouraged and nurtured unhurried conversation and working together — like seeds planted in fertile ground.

I’ve been surprised by some of what I’ve learned. For example, decorating the hall is as important an event as the traditional dinner dance and often times even more fun. Likewise, asking for volunteers to stay late for clean up is better than a group therapy session and more fun than you can imagine until you’ve seen former strangers coming together for a balloon fight or a table race. Don’t worry about perfect food and dancing until sunrise — the real reunion happens between people.

Success breeds success. After a couple of boffo reunions it gets easier. Most classmates  and their spouses will be acquainted and eager to see one another, so the atmosphere will be relaxed and joyful. That makes it easier for first timers  and hesitant spouses to get into the swim of things. Sometimes, it’s as easy as arranging a suitable place and setting a time.

We’re currently planning a new twist on our reunion tradition, an out-of-town mini-reunion. Classmates around the country have been holding regional mini-reunion dinners for a few years, but this is the first time we’ll have a full weekend event away for our home town base.

This will be a modest rendezvous of some two or three dozen. The headline attraction will be a tour of Biltmore Estate and North Carolina’s autumn splendor. We will enjoy the tour; marvel at the luxury, delight in great food, laugh at stories from our youth and probably cry a little, too, but the success of this gathering of classmates will be marked by the new friendships and the renewed spirit of belonging to a special group of friends.