“Why do you do this?” asked an intoxicated classmate at the end of the reunion. Her question caught me off guard because I didn’t have an immediate answer.
The reunion committee met over a year ago to begin planning. The first meeting was a reunion in of itself. Most of the committee for the ten-year reunion returned. It was an all-star crew, representing most of the ethnic circles at Benson. Benson was unique in that it had a mix of races in one school. In our committee, we had two blacks, two asians, and three whites. I didn’t know we had that diversity until someone acknowledged it at a meeting.
We used Basecamp to organize our communications, tasks, schedules, and files. I’m thankful that they took my suggestion to use Basecamp. It helped us collaborate asynchronously and we’ll have documentation for our 30th reunion. It surprised me that most of the committee used Basecamp only on their phones.
We used Eventbrite for ticketing sales. They took a percentage of our sales, but the automation included were worth it. Eventbrite allowed us to have different ticket prices, donations, and built-in reports.
Our Facebook group made it easier to broadcast announcements and marketing messaging. Note to self: don’t use Facebook albums to collect photos for a slideshow. Facebook removed the ability to download a full album, so I had to resort to a Chrome extension. And the photos were low-resolution.
For our reunion party, we decided to up the ante from our ten-year reunion. We moved from the Kennedy school to Ecotrust in downtown Portland.
I wasn’t very social at my ten-year reunion. I talked with a few people, took pictures, and the rest of the evening blurred for me. I didn’t keep in touch with my classmates after graduation, and none of my close friends came. There were several classmates I did want to catch up with, and most of them were on the planning committee. Jenni joked that we sat around and people-watched for my ten-year reunion.
My expectations were the same for this reunion. But I took fewer photos because several classmates sat and chatted with me. Many people stopped to thank me for helping coordinate the reunion.
There were several people that came who didn’t come to the last reunion. I’m grateful to have caught up with them 20 years after high school. Everyone seemed to be doing well. There were some classmates whose lives have included hardships that I will pray for.
The reunion lasted for six hours, but it came and went before I knew it. The committee gave each other high fives after cleaning up Ecotrust. It was a job very well done. None of us heard anything negative and everyone had a great time. I even surprised myself at how good of a time I had.
After getting home after one in the morning, I found myself alert. My mind was buzzing with thoughts about people. I stayed up for an hour processing photos and videos as I prayed and thought about my classmates.
“Why did I do this? Twice?” I thought a lot about why helping organize the reunion was important to me. As I thought about the hugs, laughs, and smiles my classmates had. When they saw each other, shared memories, and re-connected, I too shared in their happiness. My father has told me that he has kept in touch with classmates from elementary school in China. Whenever he goes to China to visit, he gets together with old classmates like they are family. I hope that our reunions can provide a place, time, and a family, for everyone in our class to be a part of. For the rest of our lives.