January 11, 2012 10:55:00 AM
Growing up, class reunions appeared to be a big deal. People would plan them for months; people would travel great distances to attend, and everyone would dress up and reflect on high school. It almost seemed like a school dance for adults.
With the outbreak of social networking, computers and the growing influence of television, however, class reunions have become a dying phenomenon. From my observations, attendance at class reunions has steadily decreased. This year friends at neighboring schools, who graduated the same year as I, told me of failed attempts at reunions. It even appeared that our reunion was unlikely to occur. Luckily, the hard work of Regina Deloach, Jennifer Deloach and Priscilla White kept the tradition alive for the class of 2001.
Like revolutions erupting throughout the Middle East, much of the planning and details were decided and disseminated via Facebook. Occasionally, those of us living in Columbus saw one another at Applebee's, the YMCA, or Walmart (here more than anywhere) and used the class reunion for small talk. Who would be there? How exciting it would be to see old classmates? A feeling of camaraderie within the class of 2001 began to awake from our 10-year hibernation.
The reunion started with an intimate mixer at the penthouse of Court Square Towers. It was a rainy night. The moon was visible but not clear. People arrived in small but constant dribbles. Most people brought significant others. The atmosphere was friendly and celebratory. We shared cheap wine in plastic cups. The cheerfulness increased noticeably. Our class has several teachers and coaches and security guards and physical therapists and, of course, a lawyer. We shared one of our most moving moments when we lit candles in honor of the members of 2001 who did not live to see that day.
Afterwards, most of us went to a larger party at La Fogata. The party was crowded with lots of people who were not part of the class, but a majority of those there were graduates from our year. Many of us saw each other for the first time since that day of graduation a decade ago. It was a joyful and rare experience to walk through a party and know so many people, but not to have seen most of them in so long. Our conversations were easy and free flowing; all catching up at the same time to such an extent that it felt like we were having one conversation. The next day, a Saturday, everyone tailgated at the Egg Bowl, braving the rain once again. Sunday, of course, was for church.
In many ways our reunion was typical of reunions of the past. The most unique aspect of ours was the specific individuals who made up our class and the experiences we shared during such formative years in our lives. The reunion for the Class of 2001 offered us the chance to reflect on that past and to reconnect with people who shared our collective experience of coming to age in Columbus as one millennium ended and another began. This alone makes it a tradition worth keeping.
Scott Colom is a local attorney.
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