The day finally arrived, for ages it seemed like it was never going to arrive and then it happened. A reunion for a group of alumni from a Junior High School from Southwest Detroit is what I am talking about. Most people attend their High School reunion for a given year, but this was an open year party for the former students. Most people tend to go to school from elementary to high school with the same students; because that is how most school systems function, and I am sure that a percentage of the attendees to the reunion may have fit this classic concept. For the majority of the attendees that was not the case, as I will explain; in Detroit five elementary schools merged their children into one junior high school, and then from the one junior high school the graduates had the potential of attending four or more high schools, just in the city, so everyone gets splintered, and old friendships may disappear. With the appearance of “social media” old friendships are rekindled and three years ago, the first open year reunion began. Word of mouth led to the second reunion. Finally there was discussion of a third reunion, but while everyone was positive on the concept, there was inertia for the genesis of a new committee. I may have had one too many glasses of wine, and I started the basis of a planning meeting. The next thing I knew, I was the chairman of this reunion and I had some volunteers to round out my staff and a lot of people that came to the meetings for the camaraderie and fellowship.
I was the administrator and from day one, I stressed that I did not want to handle finances, just the over all picture. We had another man that had great plans, and we decided that 200 attendees would be our goal and a break even point to cover food and drinks and a disc jockey to play the music from our era. Eventually a big surprise was that there were enough alumni that were professional or semi-professional musicians and they created a band, even with some of the musicians located in other states, but the band leader handled all of the logistics, in fact later on we learned that the music teacher that also conducted the school band was going to come with his saxophone and that created much more interested, as if the band was not enough interest in their own right.
There was a buffet dinner picked out for all of the attendees which featured Chicken, Kielbasa and Kraut and Mostaciolli as well as salads and sides and then there were cakes as well. Everyone came up to me, to tell me how much they enjoyed the work of the catering company, though it was a good thing that I stopped and got something to eat before I got to the hall, as I ended up working the registration table with another person, and at least I was able to greet and see most of the people that had bought tickets. I was so frazzled trying to get everything accomplished, that by the time I had finished there was just a small amount of food left, and I passed on dinner. I was just in kind of in overdrive, because with the natural procrastination of most people, we did not have the count achieved until a couple of weeks before the event, and when we were done, the count was about 260 and the hall had capacity for 300, so it was a success. We had centerpieces created by some of the volunteers and helium filled balloons, special banners were made, and one member took it upon herself to do group photos by year of the attendees. What a heady affair it was.
For beverages, we originally planned on beer and wine for the price of admission, and there was going to be a cash bar for cocktails, as this was a cost that would have skewed the admission price and perhaps deterred attendance. We had a couple of kegs of beer, after taking a survey via social media of the brands that were most popular among the people coming. We were so successful in ticket sales, that we even had even funds to cover the first $500.00 of cocktails for those that wished to have a drink. For the wines, which was part of my domain I did a survey as well, as what wines were the most popular for those coming. To maintain quality and price, we ended up going with a “box” wine, and we found a wine company that offered quality and at a good price. We went with Black Box Wines and the company was dedicated to offering a quality wine for immediate consumption and the wines that we picked out were from different countries as well. With a California designation there was Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Riesling wines. Also from California, but with a Monterey County designation was a Chardonnay. From Argentina we had two other wines that offered; a Malbec and a Moscato. Our third country that was represented was Chile, which was a Cabernet Sauvignon. While I did not try every wine that evening, I attempted to try several of them, just to make sure that the wines lived up to their claims and I am pleased to say that the wines were all better then I had hoped for.