To go or not to go? That, is the question.
High school reunions: Great times or seventh circle of hell?
Talk among yourselves.
By Kathryn Skelton
Staff Writer
Mark Schlotterbeck’s flying to Ohio next week for his 40th high school reunion and the chance to see other Southeastern High alums. Beth Dimond is planning the 20th reunion for Mt. Ararat’s Class of 1989 next weekend, anticipating the biggest turnout yet, with people traveling from as far away as Iceland.
Meanwhile, Amy wouldn’t cross the street to hobnob with former classmates.
Is the Auburn woman going to her reunion?
Ah, two words: “Hell, NO.”
“High school is over,” she said. “May it rest in peace.”
Crack out the name tags and the punch bowl: It’s high school reunion season again. And with it, that age-old question: To go or not to go? Arguments on both sides are pretty persuasive.
Why not see how everyone turned out?
Forget those people.
It’s a great time to catch up, reminisce.
No, really, forget those people.
Excited as she is, Dimond, who lives in Winthrop, said she gets it. A few people on the planning committee with her even waffled about going — while helping pull the reunion together.
Before their fifth, “I thought, ‘Well, I keep in touch with the people I want to see,’” Dimond said. But then, she figured, there’s more to it. “People do really interesting things. Just remember you all have that in common, that common bond.”
Despite the economy, the class vice president said she’s seen the biggest response ever. About a quarter of classmates are coming, many of whom haven’t reunioned before. Dimond said she’ll see her best friend from first grade for the first time in 20 years.
“I had a great experience in high school and assumed others had the same until I started talking to people about why they don’t come to reunions,” said Chriss Hayden, class president of Monmouth Academy’s Class of 1965.
Some told her, “I haven’t seen them in 40 years. Why would I now?” On the other hand, “One guy said to me, ‘I had a good experience in high school. It was warm, they had toilets that flushed’ — he and I both grew up on farms with outhouses.”
This year, Hayden’s putting her energy into the Monmouth Academy Alumni Reunion Committee for an all-classes fete the first Saturday in August and hoping to keep in touch with enough people to have a good turnout for her class’s 50th.
“Mostly I’m just happy at the prospect of seeing people who were once familiar faces or really good friends,” said Schlotterbeck, who lives in Lewiston. Their 25th, a casual affair in a classmate’s garage, went too quick, he said. “I think we’re taking more time this time.”
Dimond used Facebook to track down lost alum. She said it came in unbelievably handy. But that same venue convinced Amy, who declined to give a last name, not to go.
“Facebook has shown me that my friends that love me still do. The people that didn’t have time for me still don’t,” she said.
For some people, it just takes a few decades to warm to the idea.
Roberta Roberts, who graduated from Auburn’s Edward Little in 1980 and lives in Colorado, has skipped all her reunions so far. She was even in-state for the 20th. But, Roberts admits, she’s curious to see what everyone looks like.
“Who knows, I may decide to attend the 50th reunion in 2030 where time and gravity are the great equalizers for us all,” she said.

We asked you, to go or not to go?
What readers had to say:

Give it a go!
• “I go to the reunions because I love people and love to hear their stories and share the journeys they have been on since 1965.”
Chriss Hayden, Auburn, Monmouth Academy grad Class of ’65
• “My 45-year reunion is in August. I plan to attend. … We’re all older, grayer and not the same as when in school. Some people still hold bad memories and don’t go to reunions. They need to get over that and show up. We lose people every year and health-wise it gets harder to get about. Hope I’m around for a few more.”
Tom Wenckus, Rockport
• “Our 50th reunion was last year and we did go. … There are three couples that married in that class of 25 (students) and we are all still together. It was a wonderful afternoon with lots of good stories and friendly conversation.”
Richard Gross, Turner, George Stevens Academy (Blue Hill) grad Class of ’58
• “One night every five years just doesn’t seem like enough time. Our class has a Web site and many of us are active on Facebook. … I interact with some of my former classmates on a day to day basis. I love the connections.”
Sharon Dudley, Phillips, Rumford High School grad Class of ’88.

Ah, pass.
• “I have heard from friends who have attended reunions in the past that the same people always show up, tend to drink too much and always complain about how their lives didn’t go the way they expected it to.”
Roberta Roberts, Colorado, Edward Little grad Class of ’80
• “No, I’m not going to my 40th this July. … For $15 I can go out for a meal and not have to deal with people that are trying to rekindle what wasn’t.”
Gerry Labrie, Auburn, Lewiston High School grad Class of ’69
• “I haven’t talked to these people for 20 years for a reason. Do I need to go back for a reunion just to confirm my opinions of them in the first place? No thanks! I’m still friends with only the ones I wanted to be friends with.”
Jeff Johnson, Lewiston, Stearns (Millinocket) High School grad Class of ’86

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