Saturday, September 19, 2020

To Zoom or not to Zoom

| August 23, 2020 1:00 AM

A couple of weeks ago my high school senior class had a reunion — a Zoom reunion.

Cleverly, several alumni worked remotely to plan a reunion on the Zoom online platform. It had been enthusiastically hyped in the weeks ahead with Facebook posts, group emails and personal emails complete with “flower power” fonts and the promise of a recipe for the signature drink for the evening — the “Warrior-tini.”

I grew up in Ohio so in past years attending a high school reunion would have required a flight home and vacation time. I did show up for the tail end of the 10th reunion — on a Sunday — because I happened to be in Ohio visiting my mother, but never made any others until I attended the 40th five years ago — the whole two-day shebang — and had a great time. Smiles all around and a chance to catch up with those I’d hung out with back then, and plenty of whom I didn’t. Hearing everyone’s life stories was both fun and enlightening. Our lives had launched in myriad directions after high school and it was heartwarming to see how well it had turned out for most of us, including me.

So why was I hesitant to sign up for this virtual reunion five years later? One I wouldn’t even have to leave my house to attend? One I could attend in my bathrobe if I wanted to?

After the 40th I thought “Good for me, I did that and that was fun! Check.” But I didn’t jump on Facebook and start friending classmates I hadn’t been in touch with in the last 40 years.

As the day of the reunion approached I got a personal email from one of the organizers informing me the editor of our high school newspaper whom I, as yearbook editor, had enlisted to co-write an introduction for said yearbook, was “expecting to see me” at the reunion. I replied I was still considering it, thanked the organizers for their savvy and expressed my gratitude that we were all surviving and thriving in these difficult times.

And that’s as close as I got to communicating with any of my classmates this time ‘round.

I may have felt a tinge of regret when the reunion came and went and I wasn’t in on it — a lost opportunity to see all those familiar faces again.

I did surf the class Facebook page afterward (my disinclination to Facebook notwithstanding) and perused all the positive comments and Zoom screenshots of my classmates. And for all the former glory and angst of our adolescence, what I came away with is that we genuinely still care for each other’s well-being.

Last week I received a second email from the same classmate who said 83 members of our class had attended the reunion and the whole affair was “surprisingly amazing.” In fact, a YouTube video had been created of snapshots from our high school days backed by a soundtrack of classic ’70s tunes, and another of the reunion’s breathtaking virtual performance by several members of the elite chorale singing the “Old Irish Blessing,” which they’d sung at our graduation.

And, although I missed out on all the interaction, I’m thankful for the effort taken to post all reunion group screenshots and for the chance to still have my vicarious mini-walk down memory lane.

Maybe next year…

Community and Entertainment editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or by email at