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Wife of class president offers tips for planning reunions

Wife of class president offers tips for planning reunions
Wife of class president offers tips for planning reunions | Just A Thought, reunions
I married the president of the Union City High School Class of 1967.
And that may be as good as it gets.
“Himself’s” illustrious office was not the thing that won my heart, but that lofty elected position has provided me with some heart-warming moments through the years; specifically, when Mr. President has mentioned, in a completely off-hand way, that my old-fashioned vows to “love, honor and obey” encompassed organizing our class reunions on his behalf.
I have a few under my belt now, so I feel qualified to offer advice to those planning their own:
• Do not expect that all your former classmates who still live within a 20-mile radius will flock to the event.
• Try not to take this personally.
• Do expect that some alumni will make an enormous effort to share this time with you.
• Do your best to make it worth their while.
• Be sensitive to the fact that some class members are uncomfortable in settings that include alcohol, tobacco or music with suggestive lyrics.
• It’s their party, too. Try to include an option for them.
• Remember that some classmates won’t consider it a real party without alcohol, tobacco or music with suggestive lyrics.
• It’s their party, too. Let your conscience be your guide.
• Keep in mind that at your very first reunion (usually a fifth or a 10th), class members may not have a great deal of disposable income to pay toward the reunion because they are:
a. still paying back college loans;
b. now buying diapers and formula and shelling out money for “classes” of some sort for their first born;
c. having child support removed from their checks — for distribution to one or more mothers;
d. sending money to some lawyer somewhere, sometime for something;
e. paying 70 percent of their disposable income toward a house and a minimum of two automobiles and 40 percent toward the purchase and maintenance of technological toys — phones, music machines, movie machines, game machines, cameras or combinations of all of the above. (Since you have a high school degree, you should have recognized at this point that this places them in the unfortunate, but very common, position of owing more than they earn each month.)
• Keep in mind that at subsequent reunions, (such as your 40th, and here I speak from very personal and very recent experience), class members may not have a great deal of disposable income to pay toward a reunion because they are:
a. still paying off their children’s college loans;
b. paying grossly inflated grocery and utility bills because one or more of their children has suddenly moved back home (and they didn’t come alone);
c. investing heavily in new “eyes,” new teeth, new joints, new hair color, new Botox™ shots and/or new spouses;
d. sending money to some lawyer somewhere, sometime for something (that involves their children or their children’s children);
e. paying premiums to cover the cost of nursing home care policies (or a perpetual cruise in the Caribbean — whichever shall prove less expensive and more entertaining in the all too quickly approaching future).
• Provide name tags — not only for your former classmates but also for those accompanying them, and insist on first and last names. Be prepared, even then, to mistake someone’s new wife for their daughter, or someone’s old wife for their mother, or someone’s third wife for their first wife, or — well, you get the picture. Practice graceful apologies in anticipation of this event. Repeat this phrase until it sounds completely natural: “Please forgive me. I have trouble distinguishing faces since the accident.” Then make a hasty exit, including a slight listing to the right.
• Never ask questions you will regret learning the answers to. These include completely innocent queries that could make you a valuable witness for the prosecution.
• Do not let your mouth make promises your body cannot keep. And don’t play the innocent now. You know exactly what I’m talking about. No matter how much fun you are having as the party winds down at 2 a.m. and how amenable you are to extending this period of goodwill, you will not be cheerful company at 7 a.m. So don’t volunteer for clean-up duty.
• After your 40-year get-together, plan on connecting with these folks more often than every 10 years. Life is short — and it’s getting shorter.
And everybody needs a party.
Special features editor Glenda Caudle may be e-mailed at glendacaudle@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger on 9.28.07

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