Together Again – A Cynic’s Look at Reunions by Trevor Plumbly
Invitation to a Reunion
When the card came inviting me to a school reunion, I couldn’t believe that some silly bugger would think that I or anyone else of sound mind would possibly want to get together after 50 odd years, but there are obviously some people who just can’t leave well alone and waste oodles of time in their senior years trying to re-unite people who have avoided that very nicely for years. I can’t possibly think what they, or even their victims, get out of it: maybe they’re so bored with how they’ve ended up they just can’t resist the temptation to roll back the years.
Family reunions must rank as the cruellest. You get herded together with hoards of people, most of whom you’ve never met, under the banner of ‘Reunion of the Descendants of ?? 1860 – 1922’. Obviously ?? had kids or you wouldn’t be there (which might have been a kinder legacy). His kids had their kids and so on, and here you all are: one big happy family, name-tagged to ensure no-one, including yourself, forgets who you are. The architect of this mass torture gleefully guides anyone stupid enough to show interest to their position on the family tree and you learn (be still beating heart!) that you’ve got a cousin once removed who lives in Canada and has travelled all this way to join in the atrocities planned for the weekend. After three days, you’ve shaken more hands than a US president, been forced into seeking kinship and common ground with total strangers, eaten awful food and drunk far too much cheap wine and warm beer. You’ve had your photo taken dozens of times hugging strangers you’ll never meet again. But like all bad things, it does come to an end, you ditch the name-tag, vow to change all your contact details and wish some kind soul had put ‘orphan’ on your birth certificate.
Old School Reunions
School reunions are another mystery to me: I suppose they provide an excuse for the upper class ‘chums for life’ incestuous fraternity to circle the wagons. But it’s hard for the rest of us to use the old school tie as a social crowbar when there was no school tie to start with. Why would I accept such an invitation? God I suffered enough at the hands of that mob, I want revenge, not an airbrushed trip down memory lane with everybody except me chuckling over the various miseries they inflicted on ‘Toothpick’ Plumbly.
I can picture them quite clearly, sniggering into pints of lager and medium white. Jumbo Mercer will still be leading the fray, probably ex-army. Natural progression for him really, why bother to continue bullying people for fun when you can get paid for killing them. Spotty Simpson, complexion still like slow boiling porridge, more likely retired from something like telemarketing; you couldn’t put a face like that on public view and expect to take money. Spot’s sister, Veronica, the only one in school with boobs, is more likely to have doubled her figure than kept it; all the boys wanted to get into her pants, there’s probably enough room in them now to accommodate a couple at least. Peggy Hill, who despite my total devotion, totally ignored me, dreamt of a career in ballet and practised constantly, probably buggered her knee and hip joints for life. If you read this Peggy, you cruel bitch, despite my fertile imagination, Zimmer frames don’t really do it for me. Sydney ‘Snidey’ Edwards will be there, the cunning little sod used to pay Jumbo’s ‘protection’ fees with fags he nicked from his old man. More than likely ended up in used car sales or double glazing scams; bet he still looks like a ferret someone’s bought clothes for.
Last but not least, of our mob anyway, Grahame Stevenson, ‘the chosen one’; good at everything, loved by the teachers and the birds, head prefect, dux, you name it, if it had a badge he had it. I ran into him a few years ago; he was living proof that ‘pride goeth before a fall’. Married to a young bag with a voice like a chain saw; she went to self-assertion courses for Christ’s sake! She needed them like Caligula needed cruelty classes. If he hadn’t been so perfect at school I’d have felt sorry for the poor sod. ‘Ah, schooldays, the best days of your life!’ What a load of bollocks!
So the decision is not difficult at all: I shall be replying to the invitation in the negative. I have no desire to meet again with people who made my schooldays a misery and who’ve played no part in my adult life. I’ve got on very well without them and I’ve no desire to stir up old memories by getting in contact again. I thought briefly about being a fly on the wall, but then I thought better of it because I just don’t dislike flies that much.