As hard as it is to realize, I did graduate from high school 50 years ago. I attended a reunion dinner on Saturday night.
Two women from our class headed up the effort to organize this. They pulled it together in about eight weeks which is remarkable. Of course, there were a lot of classmates they couldn’t reach … women who changed their names, people who moved away from the area, etc. I personally think they could have found more if they had used Facebook and sent an announcement to the local newspaper. But the woman heading this up flat out refused to do those things. Instead, she drove herself batty working with a 50-year-old list from the yearbook and cross checking with the phone book. Still, you have to give her credit. There were 42 people in attendance at the dinner. That did include spouses and guests.
The evening was more enjoyable than I had expected. One of our classmates is a minister who has worked with Jesse Jackson, written books, and lives in Washington, DC. He flew in for the reunion. He prayed the blessing for the food and the event and acted as the MC. I don’t know if he knew he was expected to do that or if he found out once he got here. But he did a great job of it.
I was asked to lead the singing of our Alma Mater. I’ll leave the success of that endeaver to your imagination. We did have copies of the song (taken from the yearbook) and a recording of it being played on the piano to refresh our memories.
One of the nicest things that took place was when Frank (the MC) had each graduate stand and tell what they had been doing since we graduated. Then he had four questions: who was their favorite teacher, what was their fondest/funniest memory, what would they do differently, and did they still have their class rings. The room at the restaurant was small and it really wasn’t easy to move around and talk to everyone so this exercise allowed us all to catch up with everyone.
One nice thing which was a little unusual I think considering we went to a high school which pulled its enrollment from an entire big city was that there were five of us there who had gone to school together from kindergarten through high school.
There was one downside to the evening and that was the food. The restaurant is one which has a good reputation in the area. But I have no desire to go back there. Our dinner was a buffet. The salad was served first and it was okay. But the items on the buffet table were not. The chicken parmesan was tough. The woman at our table who took that couldn’t cut into it. I had roast pork in a sort of cream gravy. It was tough too and I struggled to cut it. Maybe the problem wasn’t with the meat but with the cutlery … maybe they need to sharpen their knives. The roast potatoes had a seasoning on them I didn’t like. The salt shaker was lost in the broccoli; it was extremely salty. The best thing on the buffet was a pasta in a cream sauce which tasted much like the one on my roast pork. Given what we paid for the dinner, I expected tastier, better food.
Still it was an enjoyable evening and fun catching up with people from my youth. Given that this was our 50th anniversary, I expect it was the last reunion we’ll ever have.