Earlier this month, I attended my 30th college reunion – and I have to tell you that I had a Quack-Tabulous time!!! It was wonderful to see so many friends after all of these years! But I would be telling you a BIG fib if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about the weekend before it started.
I think that if we’re all really honest with each other – none of us actually jump up and down with excitement when it’s time for ANY type of reunion. It doesn’t matter if it’s a high school reunion…a college reunion…or even a family reunion. The thought of seeing people we haven’t seen in years can be really frightening – and stressful! But since I was on the Reunion Committee, there was no way I could back out of going! So, whatever fears I did have, I knew I had to figure out a way to get rid of them before I showed up.
As I prepared for this reunion, I was amazed at how many other friends had fears as well! I can’t even begin to tell you the number of calls I received as the reunion weekend got closer and closer. Several of my good friends called me and said things like:
“I’ve gained too much weight to attend!”
“I’m not in good shape!”
“No one is going to remember me.”
“I wasn’t one of the popular kids on campus, so I’m not sure I should attend.”
“I’m not successful enough.”
“What if people aren’t friendly?”
“I don’t have any nice clothes to wear.”
I was so surprised at how many OTHER people felt the SAME way I did!
But whenever I was feeling a little nervous about seeing so many people, I remembered all of the great advice Jeanne Bice shared with us in her book ‘Pull Yourself Up By Your Bra Straps’ – and also in ‘The Rubber Duck Principle’ – and I could hear her voice in my head saying to me things like:
“Patrick, stop your stinking thinking – and go have a great time!”
“When you feel at the end of your rope honey, tie a knot in it…and hang on for dear life!”
“BELIEVE in yourself!”
“Life’s a party Patrick – so go out and celebrate with your friends – and STOP worrying!”
“Humor takes the stress out of everything Patrick.”
So with Jeanne’s wise words ringing in my head – and giving me confidence – I was ready to face my reunion weekend!
On the first night of the weekend, we had a big pizza party at one of the places we all went for pizza on a regular basis while we were in college. I couldn’t believe it – we had about 70 people there!! Many of us had seen each other 5 years ago at our 25th reunion – but I was so surprised at how many faces were there that I hadn’t seen in 30 years! It was wonderful!!
“I Can Still Fit In My Earrings!”
When I walked in, I saw a group of good friends who were all gathered in a circle talking to each other. At the center of the circle was one of my friends – and it was obvious that she had gained a great deal of weight since we were in school – and as we all gathered together to greet each other, this is the 1st thing she said (in the most serious tone) to the group:
“I don’t mean to brag or make anyone jealous…. but, I can still fit into the earrings I wore in college!”
Well, I don’t think you’ve EVER heard a group of people laugh so much and so hard as we did when she said that! It was the MOST perfect thing to say to break the ice! And I think it made everyone forget about every fear they had when they walked through the door that evening. Jeanne was definitely right – humor really DOES take the stress out of everything!
Selfies & Photo Bombing
The ONE thing that we ALL agreed on at the reunion was that we are SO glad that there were no camera phones 30 years ago – OR social media – because that would mean there would definitely be ‘proof’ of the crazy things we all did in college! But that didn’t stop us from doing some selfies over the weekend – like this one with some of my best friends from college:
And it wouldn’t be a party unless I did photo bomb – because you all know how crazy I am!!
As Seen On TV!
On Saturday, a lot of us spent the day on campus visiting our old dorms and walking around the campus. Our college had organized a BBQ luncheon – and let me tell you, that BBQ was some of the BEST I’ve ever had!
Also on Saturday, I was quite honored that I was asked to give a presentation to the alumni, faculty and current students. There were 2 of us who were asked to speak, and they asked us to speak about our experience as graduates who were now in TV, Radio & Film. Here I am during my lecture:
Gunne Sax, Shoulder Pads & a Surprise!
On Saturday night we had a dinner/cocktail party at my friend Shelley’s beautiful home. I had no idea how anything could top the pizza party the night before, but make no doubt about it, Saturday was an outstanding evening!
After we had all eaten and had a chance to visit with each other, we noticed that several of the girls had disappeared. Just when we were ready to send out a search party, they surprised us and put on a ‘fashion show’ in the living room – seriously!!! Shelley had saved a bunch of her clothes from the 1980’s – and unbeknownst to all of us, the girls had gone to change – and when they reappeared, we couldn’t believe what we saw!! How is this picture for a throwback to the 80’s?!?! Did any of you used to own items like these???
Of course the item that caught MY eye was the Christmas sweater my good friend Susan had on!! Doesn’t it resemble something Jeanne would have designed?!
Speaking of Jeanne Bice….
A woman came up to me at the party and she introduced herself and said she had married one of my classmates, Ken. She said Ken had shown her some of my Facebook posts through the years – and she knew that I worked for Quacker Factory. When I asked her if she knew about Quacker Factory she said:
“Of course I do – I grew up in Ripon, Wisconsin which is where Jeanne Bice was from. I was very good friends with her daughter Lee Bice – we went to school together – and I knew Jeanne – and also Tim Bice! Patrick, the population of Ripon is only 8,000 people – of course we all knew each other!”
I couldn’t believe my ears!! What an incredibly SMALL world it really is! Here I was in Little Rock, Arkansas – and just minutes before, I had thought of Jeanne when I saw the sweater that my friend Susan had on during the ‘fashion show’ – and now I was meeting someone who had actually known Jeanne in Ripon, Wisconsin!
Here I am with Anita Keplin Wrobel from Ripon – isn’t she beautiful?!
“Stop Your Stinking Thinking…And Go Have a Good Time!”
What a wonderful weekend it was!! I cannot believe how much time and energy I wasted worrying about it all before I even got there! Sure, some of us didn’t look the same as we did 30 years ago – in fact, we ALL looked different – there wasn’t a single person there who looked exactly like they did when they were 20. Some were heavier, some were shorter, some had less hair – but the one thing that we ALL had that was larger than 30 years ago – were BIGGER hearts – and that, my friends, is more important than anything else!
And how wonderful that Jeanne was ‘with me’ before I went to my reunion, as I ‘heard’ her telling me to have fun and to stop worrying – and then she was ‘with me’ again throughout the weekend. Miracles really DO happen!
So if you have any upcoming reunions of any type, don’t stress about it – instead do like I did, and follow Jeanne’s great advice and go out and CELEBRATE – and make sure to take your sense of humor with you! (And make sure to take those earrings that you can still fit into!)
And if all of that fails, then make sure to put on some of your favorite Quacker Factory pieces – because they will definitely make you smile!
Quacker Hugs & Love From Across the Duck Pond!
For inspiration on what to wear at your next reunion, click here
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