My reunion has came and went. What a time it was. Too bad it happened in May rather than April, the month that T.S. Eliot described as “mixing memory and desire.” Maybe we needed that extra month, because the reunion contained many more emotions besides just M and D: there was nostalgia, fellowship, a little learning, inspiration, melancholy, a lot of laughter and some tears, all packed into (for me) just under 48 hours on site.
I think I attended my fifth, twentieth, twenty-fifth and now thirty-fifth reunions. (There may have been a fifteenth thrown in there, but the blending-together factor makes it hard to know for sure.) I have a handful of good friends from college days, but they usually don’t even come to the reunions. So I spend most of my time talking to people I see only at reunions. That’s 5-10 minutes of conversation every 5-10 years. I am very happy to (briefly) catch up with these people, but the whole thing is a like a strange science fiction novel, where aging happens in fast motion. One second the guy has a full head of hair and is sowing wild oats; the next, gray hairs, “or none, or few,” hang from his head, he’s recovering from heart surgery, and his kids are in their twenties, embarking on interesting careers (or not). Sheesh.
One thing I did more this time than ever before was meet a bunch of classmates for the first time. That relates to the reason I attended this reunion. My class has a lively e-mail listserv, ably albeit unofficially moderated by erstwhile class secretary Art Greenwald. The diverse discussions in this forum, ranging from taste in comedy to the cost of college (see below) are almost always interesting, sometimes informative, and often entertaining. (I except the political talk, which is often blustery and which I tend to DWR—delete without reading.)
There are probably half a hundred regular participants, and while some I knew back in college, like John Levine, Mark Peters and Diana Hamlet-Cox, there are quite a few I did not. I came the reunion specifically so as to meet (to name just a few) Rob and Cynthia Tauxe, Mike Greenwald, Paul Miller (TD), Hunt Helm, Tommy Bourgeois, Joan Berliner Spear, Garth Dickey, and Peter Bubriskie.
They did not disappoint! Convivial and interesting souls all—and it was interesting to note the slight variations between their personae on the screen and in the flesh.
Mr. Bourgeois, a New Orleans native, is head of standards and practices for CBS—or, as I think of it, he gets to decide who is allowed to say “sucks” on TV. But his passion is music, and he helped put together the second most memorable event of the reunion, a cabaret concert featuring performances by the incredibly talented members of our class. The highlights were too many to list, but I can’t not mention Art Greenwald’s George Burnsesque rendition of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” Sally Sanford’s utterly charming Cole Porter medley, Jane Peppler’s very cool Yiddish song stylings, and Star Trek’s Bob Picardo’s amazing song parody, “I Hate You Babe,” a divorce kiss-off song which he sang as both Sonny AND Cher. This was a performance for the ages.
The most memorable event of the weekend was a memorial tribute to the classmates who had died in the five short years since the last reunion. There were I believe thirteen, a number that gives one pause. I did not know any of these souls; I only recognized a few of their names. But as their friends stood up and gave brief, heartfelt, incredibly moving reminiscences and appreciations, I felt that I was meeting and getting to know them a little bit, just like my listserv friends.
Next reunion: Gigi’s for the Somerset (Mass.) High School class of 19 mumble-mumble. Can’t wait!