13 Fun Things You Didn’t Know About Class Reunions
Brush up on the history of this strange custom before you attend yours this summer.
When class reunions were first held in the 1870s, life expectancy was so low that they did them six months after graduation, before everybody died of lead poisoning and the gout.
Before the U.S. Postal Service was a reliable means of communication, class reunion organizers had to hire a dashing hero of daring-do, a “class reunion wrangler,” to individually track down and capture by way of lasso each member of a class and deposit them at the reunion location.
Attendance at class reunions peaked in the 1930s, because during the Great Depression it was the only way to obtain free appetizers, particularly pigs-in-a-blanket.
Class reunions used to somewhat permanent. In something similar to the Amish rite of Rumspringa, classes would graduate, make their way in the world for 10 years, and then return to their high schools where they would be continually educated until they died. This was common until the 1940s.
They didn’t used to just meet in the high school’s gymnasium or a local hotel’s ballroom. Classes would reunite and go on a months-long whaling voyage, or an expedition into deepest Africa. (Fun fact: It was during his high school reunion in 1898 when Joseph Conrad got the idea for Heart of Darkness.)
Class reunions are subject to fads, making them just as much of a moment in time as one’s high school years. For example, the most common theme of class reunions in 1982 was “Pac-Man Fever,” and many included doctors on the premises to “diagnose” the “condition.” In 2016, 98 percent of all class reunions in 2016 were held in an escape room, and some of those reunions continue on to this day until attendees can find a way out.
Every class reunion features a “mole,” or someone who didn’t go to your high school who is pretending to have gone to your high school. If you think you know who it is, tell the organizers and you win a $10 gift certificate to Tower Records. (The mole is summarily hanged.)
Catholic high schools have class reunions, same as public schools, but if you attend, you are guaranteed a spot in Heaven when you die.
Top three reunion themes: “Back in Time!” “Remember the Time!” and “Time is An Illusion.”
Mark Zuckerberg so desperately wanted to avoid his five-year class reunion that he invented Facebook to kill off class reunions forever.
Want to know what year you graduated? Simply take what year it is when you get a notice for your reunion, and subtract whatever the number of reunion it is from the current year and that will get you the year. Say you received your 10-year notice in 2018. Subtract that “10” from 2018, and that means you graduated high school in 2008.
85 percent of all class reunions are an elaborate ploy to kidnap you and sell you into piracy.
To make class reunions more fun and/or humiliating, scientists in the 1970s invented balding and weight gain specially for class reunions.
Brian Boone is a contributor to Funny or Die, Someecards, Splitsider, The Chive, and Looper, and his work has appeared on McSweeney’s, StarWipe, and many other fine humor and pop culture destinations. He’s the author of several delightful books, wrote a musical about pirates, and came in third on Jeopardy! once. He will clog your Twitter timeline with dad jokes.