Reunion. One word that can create a different emotion for each graduate. Some look forward to gathering together with great anticipation, while others may be uncertain about whether to attend.
In this year of reunions resuming again, I thought it timely to reflect on my own experiences. The 10-year Reunion was nerve-racking! I had left a relationship, had no children on the horizon, and had kept in touch with only a small handful of friends from school. I agonised over what to wear and dieted madly. The 20-year Reunion wasn’t easy as I had an issue with my eyes, so I avoided the School tour as I felt self-conscious and attended the dinner somewhat reluctantly. The 30-year Reunion was in the Barbara Fielding Room. My daughter was starting at BGGS the following year, so I enjoyed being back on campus and seeing friends again. Fast forward to the much anticipated 40-year Reunion in 2021—the same weekend as a COVID lockdown. What a huge disappointment! Some of us managed to have a belated celebration last year, but many could not attend.
So what has 40 years of reunions taught me? I realise now the only person judging me was me. Everyone was nervous at the first Reunion. As the years passed, conversation changed from asking if you’re in a relationship, how many children you have, what career moves you have made, to now sharing stories of how we are managing our parents as they transition to aged care.
I am so very grateful for the amazing network of friends I have from the Class of 1981. Little did I realise at graduation how fortunate I was or how much this network would feature in my life. I am in touch with women who I didn’t know well at School and have also rekindled wonderful friendships along the way. I regret not staying connected to Girls Grammar after the last day of Year 12, yet I also celebrate seeing these Grammar Women on a regular basis now. Life can be messy, lonesome, exhilarating and fulfilling as we navigate the adult world. It’s such a gift to have a constant that you know is there beside you.
The OGA Committee, in partnership with the School, is committed to connecting with past and current students. It is always encouraging to see a wide range of past students, of different ages and backgrounds, attending BGGS alumnae events. In my role as President, I very much enjoy connecting with Grammar Women at functions in other states. The Sydney Alumnae event, incorporating a viewing of the Archibald entries, was our first this year, attended by a very enthusiastic group. The School also has events scheduled for Canberra and Melbourne in September.
Whatever your year of graduation, I hope that when you receive notice of a forthcoming Reunion, you consider attending and know that a special event is coming where the Grammar sisterhood will shine brightly.
Mrs Julie Caton (Cleghorn, 1981)
Old Girls Association President