Do you realize that I cannot think of a single song, not a solitary one, about a high school reunion? There must be something in the country realm, but over on the pop side of the planet, I can’t think of a single one. And in classical, the only thing that comes close is Mussourgsky’s “Class Pictures at an Exhibition,” and frankly I’m beginning to suspect that street vendor’s CDs weren’t all on the up and up. Because don’t you think I would have remembered a Sinatra rap album?
Swiftly veering back to the as-yet-unannounced point: high school reunion Saturday. Held at a house in the Stockade, one of those houses that everyone wishes they had — three story house from the 1700s, in the city and on the river, its lot stretching to the river in a series of three terraces, the lowest one containing a large swimming pool. Brick wall in place of a fence, with gates leading out to the alley and down to the riverfront park. What keeps us all from owning such houses? Sanity! The gardens alone would be a full-time job! (And of course, my mind begins to wonder just how a two-hundred-plus-year-old house is wired, and I suspect the answer isn’t anything I’d want to be responsible for.) So we don’t own houses like that, but we’re grateful for the people who do, and who occasionally let us use them for delightful events like this.
So, this was the 25-year reunion (more formal event to follow in the fall). This is where you start to see who has hit the wall. There were the people who had always looked good, and to the annoyance or delight of others (depending on how you felt about those people), most of them still looked good. There were the people who have settled into a comfortable cruising altitude and look pretty much like middle-aged people should look, except that you have a picture of them in your head from kindergarten or fourth grade or ninth grade, and to some extent that picture will always meld with however they actually look now. There were people who have hit the wall at 42, or perhaps earlier, and who have much cardiology work in their future. There were people (though far fewer) who now look so unbelievably different from how they looked in high school that when these people introduced themselves, I was unable to understand their words, and having committed an introductory faux pas, was never really able to recover, conversationally. And there were people, and had you gone to my high school you could have guessed who they would be, if you had even remembered them at all, who think that such an occasion calls for mixing extreme drinking and that there swimming pool. There was one fine fellow with whom I shared a drunken conversation (or was it half-drunken, as I was in my 24/7 stone sober state?) who could not begin to remember that I was in the same graduating class. I thought that was natural, since a) we weren’t exactly on the same academic track; b) his academic track involved being bused somewhere else for most of the day (and I’m not busting on BOCES kids — in fact, I think there should be a lot more technical education than there is — but most of those kids might as well have been on another planet as far as I was concerned; c) he and most of his cohort used to reek of weed on a full-time basis. I was impressed he knew he’d been in high school. Perfectly fine guy, by the way.
So, interesting. Enough old friends were there that I had someone to talk to, and a couple of interesting people showed up. There’s this odd and interesting bond you share with people you grew up with, even if you never see them anymore. And there was a strong contingent of people who still live in and around Scotia, and know each other and see each other all the time. I guess that’s what they call a “community.” We talked about what grownups talk about — our kids, our parents, insurance, internet music piracy, Schenectady’s endless tumble into the abyss. Carol’s still a sweetheart, Nancy’s still quick and witty, Bruce is still a guy I just like to chat with. Louise is still Louise, and I mean that in a good way.
Only one set of new breasts that I noticed. I wasn’t looking that hard.