High School Reunion Bingo

 

JANUARY 2021

 

Dear Aunt Bingo,

I thought I’d pass along this story about a Bingo game idea I came up with for my 25th high school reunion.

Some high school classmates and I made up the planning committee for the reunion. Because the 25th is such a “big one,” We wanted to come up with some activities that were fun and unusual—something more than the typical music and dancing in the gym.

As a group we settled on a casino night theme, which we knew would fit in well with the party atmosphere of the reunion.

Because I am a Bingo fan, I suggested that we add Bingo to the casino games. The suggestion got a half-hearted vote of approval from the committee, but I felt it would be a hit and really pushed hard to get it added. Everyone got a lot more supportive after I assured them I would take on all the responsibility of arranging it, and they finally okayed it as part of the reunion.

We hired a company that did casino-style events, and I found a place where you could rent Bingo equipment and get Bingo supplies. One of the teachers at the school was a caller at one of the local Bingos and she volunteered to call for us and bring a couple of helpers.

Our 25th reunion got a very good turnout for a school our size—close to 250 people. Quite a few said that the casino-night theme was what finally convinced them to attend, which made all of us on the planning committee feel very good.

The gym was set up for the main music/dancing/socializing part of the reunion; a couple of other rooms were used as lounges and for a silent auction and some other activities; and the cafeteria was split between the casino games and the Bingo.

For the first hour or so we were a little worried because everyone was hanging out in the gym and not visiting any of the other rooms. Eventually people began to spread out and a handful of guys showed up at the casino room. They got pretty loud at the roulette wheel, which caught others’ attention and drew more folks to the games. Pretty soon we had a really good crowd in the casino room.

Two or three couples sat down at the Bingo tables and I hurried over to give them Bingo paper and daubers. They were polite and said thank you, then kind of pushed the Bingo stuff to the side. I realized they weren’t sitting down to play Bingo, they were simply there to chat with friends.

I spotted another group and tried to give them Bingo paper, but they wouldn’t even take it. I was in a panic—my Bingo event was bombing.

I ran down the hallway and spotted a bunch of my old high school friends, and asked (actually, begged) them to come play Bingo and get things going. They agreed, and followed me to the Bingo games. There were maybe 12 of us total.

The caller fired up the machine and announced that Bingo was starting. Nobody else came over. She announced two more times, and a handful of people sat down. The caller gave me a look and shrugged, then she started calling the numbers (for a total of maybe 20 players). That’s when it dawned on me that once the game began, nobody else could join in. Not good.

My friends and I made the best of it and broke the cardinal rule of no talking at Bingo and wound up laughing and talking and having a great time. When my friend, Kim, finally Bingoed, she screamed it really loud and we all shouted and laughed and made a big deal out of it, and the caller did the same when she gave Kim a wrapped prize—which Kim tore open to reveal was a mini crock pot.

Our noisy fun (thanks, girls!) and that prize (who doesn’t love appliances?) caught the attention of a lot of people, and a small crowd sat down for the next game.

The Bingo helpers and I scrambled to pass out Bingo paper and daubers and keep the games moving, which they did for quite some time. I’ll admit that there were a lot of empty seats—apparently live music, dancing, and casino games trump Bingo—but enough classmates told me that the Bingo was a fun addition that I have no regrets about making it part of the reunion. —Meg P., New York, via email

 

Dear Meg,

As I was reading your letter I got a bit of a knot in my stomach as I realized that this story had the potential for a wonderful, or very embarrassing, ending.

God bless those fabulous friends of yours for stepping in to help you make your Bingo games a successful part of the reunion. I’ll bet you a mini crock pot that every one of them—not to mention all those other classmates who sat down for a little class reunion Bingo—took home a story from the experience that they’ll treasure and share for some time to come. —Aunt Bingo

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Dear Aunt Bingo

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