About 20 years ago, my husband, kids and I were also invited to a high school graduation party because the graduate and one of my kids, my daughter who was also graduating from the same high school, were close friends, and we parents were long-time friends as well. Like the other submission, the graduate’s extended family was all invited and most of them came – they were a big, noisy, gift-giving, partying family – and my husband, kids and I were the only non-family members. The party was laid back, and we were having a good time.
The problem came after the food was served and the party nearly over. The honoree began to open the stacks of cards on the table; almost everyone had put cash or a check in a card instead of bringing a gift, and we had done the same. With a child about to start college, and more kids at home to pay for on our modest income, we had put $25 in the card – remember, this is two decades ago, so $25 was not a bad gift for a non-family member. This girl, old enough to know better, loudly announced the amount of cash or check in each and every card. “One hundred bucks, thanks Uncle X! Seventy-five from cousin B, woo-hoo! Wow, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY, thanks, granny!”
We were cringing. Our card was near the bottom, and we had to sit there and listen as amounts all much higher than what we gave were shouted out and sometimes, see the check or cash waved in the air in triumph. I looked at her parents; instead of discouraging her, they were egging her on, exclaiming, “Wow! Hey, that’s really a good gift! Thanks mom/uncle E/cousin D!” Second, third and step cousins gave a minimum of $75 each, and I knew these people; none were wealthy. Of course, that was their choice to give the amounts they did and none of my business to know how much they gave, or so I had always believed. However, did none of them realize that you don’t announce amounts? They all oohed and ahhed with each announcement, so it wasn’t bothering them, it seemed. When it came to our card, she was polite enough to say, “Twenty-five, thanks guys.”, but we were still glad when it was time to leave. We’d never seen our friends do that sort of thing before, but other parties we’d attended for their kids had been when the kids were young and it was all gifts they opened, not cash. When their other kids graduated high school, we always found a reason to leave just as the gift opening started at the end of the party. 0525-17