Sunday, May 11, 2008

Furious

I've barely been able to get anything done today because I'm just so mad.

My 20th high school reunion is coming up this year. I had a great time at my 10th and was looking forward to seeing everyone. For some reason, our 20th isn't being organized by the school, but by a couple of my fellow alumni. Who think that $150 a person is a reasonable price.

We went to a middle class catholic school, not some fancy rich people prep school. Our 10th cost (I think) $30, but it sure as hell wasn't more than $50.

When they first started talking about the reunion on Classmates.com, and they said $150 per person, I said too much money. They replied that they meant $150 per couple. Still too much money and most of us went stag last time and I wasn't planning on dragging HA along just to show him off this time.

But no, it's going to be $150 a person, for (I'm guessing) buffet food and drinks at Turtle Bay--a decent restaurant, but not an especially expensive one. The extra money will be going to the school as a donation in the name of 4 classmates who have died. The e-mail I got today named them and I don't think I've ever heard of one of them. Or class was only 221 people, so I expect all the names to ring a bell--I'll have to check the yearbook when I calm down.

I've emailed the guy organizing it and rather than go into a fresh rant, I'll just reprint it here.

M,

I'm glad that you and C are so successful in your careers that you can spend $150 on an evening out without too much concern. There are so many great fundraising/benefit events that I'm unable to attend because of the prohibitive cost. I'm disappointed that our 20th reunion has been turned into such an event. Our 10th cost something like $30 a person, didn't it? It can't have been more than $50.

If you had decided to charge an amount sufficient to cover food, drinks and the cost of the venue, and then raised money for the school with raffles or an auction, I would've been able to attend. I also would've been able to donate whatever money I could afford, help run the raffle or auction and donate a prize or two.

But I'm currently in the middle of a career change--leaving a high paying job for something that will make me happier, and I'm paying over $400 a month for health insurance for myself alone, so $150 is more than I can justify spending. I'm sure that we have several classmates with kids in school and so on, who are in the same boat. We're going into a recession and although I don't own a car, I'm sure quite a few of us are affected by the rising gas prices. I just got married in November and the reception was in Manhattan and even with an open bar, it didn't cost $150 a head.

I really appreciate you going to the effort of organizing this and I'm looking forward to getting in touch with everyone whose contact information you've gathered and distributed. But I won't be able to attend the reunion because it's way too expensive. I'm sure there will be other people who can't attend for that reason but will be too embarassed to admit it. A reunion is supposed to be about reconnecting with old friends, not conspicuous consumption.


Now, I've been more than willing to bash my education, but the one thing I always liked was the inclusiveness. Rumor had it that the public school down the road had race problems. We were about 50% white/50% black and had no problems at all. The one thing they did a good job of teaching us was how to treat people properly.

And now a few people are excluding everyone who isn't rolling in the dough. And forcing those who attend into making a donation to the school whether they want to or not. It also occurred to me after sending the email that the price is a bit too high for the teachers to attend, as some did for our 10th. Also? Although Manhattan is a better location than way the hell out in Brooklyn (where the school is), the last I heard, our chemistry teacher was running a catering business in the school, so we'd actually be able to hold the reunion in the school (which I had also suggested).

Honestly, I don't think they should just be sending out a list of everyone's addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to the entire class, but at least I'll be able to use it to get in touch with the people I'd like to catch up with. On the down side, one of my former classmates is now a DJ and spams us all about his gigs.

Anybody else have bad reunion experiences?

4 comments:

  1. After reading that, I am furious on your behalf! First, $150 per person for a class reunion dinner is ridiculous, regardless of the attendees' individual financial situations. Second, I detest forced charity. If the reunion organizers wanted to put together a donation to the school, fine. But you're absolutely right: it should be done in a way that lets people choose how much--and if--they want to donate.

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  2. Now I'm grateful that I've managed to avoid reunions. I haven't seen or spoken to anyone from my school since graduation night!

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  3. Went to the 10-year college reunion, and almost every event centered around alcohol (including "Mimosa Bruch with the Jesuits!"). I understand that being blitzed is the most efficient way to process being in Syracuse, but come on. So for those of us who brought the children to see where their parents met... yeah, sit right down and watch Mommy, Daddy, and all their friends get stupid. Good idea. Here, be a good kid and hold the puke bucket.

    We hoped the organizers would wise up for #15 this year... no dice. We won't be going, and we told them that was the reason. Maybe they'll send a bottle of wine as an apology?

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  4. I've been trying to avoid any mention of my 10 year high school reunion that should be coming up next month. I'm still working to overcome the horror of high school!

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