As you read this, I’m on my way to New York to celebrate my 47th high school reunion. I know that 47 years seems an odd number to commemorate, but as I detailed in a previous column, our class president was struck by the notion that most everyone in the Class of ’65 was turning 65 this year. He thought this was some kind of weird once-in-a lifetime confluence of time and space. When I explained to Nick that the class of ‘64 had already turned 64 and that the class of 66 will soon turn 66 he seemed a bit surprised. “Gee, I never thought of it that way,” he admitted. This is a man with a master’s in art and a Ph.D. in engineering. So much for those artsy-smartsy degrees.
Before you go to a reunion, there are lots of decisions to make: what to wear; whether to dye your hair; which people deserve a hug versus a handshake; and, of course, how to have a conversation with someone who has just given you a huge embrace, but you have no idea who it is.
Probably the biggest decision is whether to bring your spouse. Mary Ellen will not know anyone one at my reunion, which is really very different from not remembering anyone. And so she agreed to go as long as we established a few ground rules. ”First, Dick, it is very important that you stand next to me and act like you are happy I am with you.”
“That sounds very familiar.”
“Yes, same deal as our wedding reception.”
“Well, after two hours of reminiscing about people I don’t know, I am allowed to politely excuse myself and go upstairs to our hotel room and go to sleep.”
“Wow, you remember all the wedding day rules. Maybe you are concerned that my friends will not be as impressed with you as your classmates were with me when I went to your reunion. I heard some ask you what it was like to have a trophy husband.”
“I’m sorry about that hearing problem you have. Actually, they wanted to know what it was like to have a goofy husband.
I realized that because Mary Ellen would be accompanying me, I had to limit the alcohol consumption just a touch. At the 25-year reunion, I must have had a few too many because when I saw Robin Stern (winner of best-built contest in an unofficial 1965 survey of guys), I told her husband that she alone was the two best memories I had of high school.
Finally, Mary Ellen was concerned whether the attire she chose for the evening was too conservative. “Do you think some of the women will be wearing dresses that are revealing?”
I told her not to worry. Most of the ladies are 65-years-old, so there would be more covering up than showing off.
I hope I see Robin Stern again. She has remarried since our 25th reunion. If I work up the nerve, I may use that same joke as last time. Maybe her new husband will think it’s funny.