Tuesday, June 24, 2014

And I'm Never Going Back To My Old School

Wingman and I bought our first home in his hometown about a year before his first high school reunion.  On that evening, we planned to have a few friends over for a nice, sophisticated après-reunion soiree.  Some carrot and celery sticks, wine in the wedding crystal...

Well, the friends we invited told a few of their friends.  Who mentioned it to others.  By the end of the night, the announcement was made from the stage that the after party was at our house.

I have never seen that many people in one place legally.  Crammed in every corner, in every room. The screened in porch was packed, even on that cold (I believe November) evening.  Not to mention that there was sex happening EVERYWHERE in the house-even in the bushes outside.  Younger high school kids, who had nothing to do with the reunion, showed up with a keg, thinking they could PAR-TAY.  The house was filled with Newport cigarette smoke (that school's butt of choice) and Wingman's brother who was living with us at the time, came home to find cocaine lines being drawn on his dresser.

Ah, the eighties.

The next morning, I ruefully snipped the burned fibers out of the carpet where idiots had squashed their cigarettes, and scrubbed the walls where the people who leaned on them left footprints.  I picked up beer bottles not only from our yard, but from those of my neighbors, and moved the china closet to remove the crudités that someone dropped, and then kicked under it. Finally, I put a big note on the refrigerator for Wingman:

"The next party we have like last night will be at my funeral 

Flash forward to last Christmas.  I was paying my respects at a wake, when I ran into the president of Wingman's senior class.  After catching up with each others lives, he extended an invitation to their upcoming reunion. I thought he was just being polite until the invitation came, then had angst over whether to attend, because other than Wingman, I didn't have much in common with most of them. Still, the lack of a social life and the curiosity about what happened to some of his friends made me decide to go.

It was like every other reunion I've ever been to when I first got there.  The committee members were manning the table, greeting old friends and collecting from those who hadn't paid. When I gave the woman behind the table my name, she kind of gasped, then ran around the table and grabbed my hands.  She said that she and Wingman were very good friends in high school (although I never heard him ever mention her name) and she is short and Wingman was tall and they use to do the bump together, and she divorced her husband and he died the following year JUST LIKE WINGMAN, so she knows exactly how I feel...

Really?  Nice to meet you too.

But other than that excruciatingly painful exchange, the evening was really pretty good.  It was like the difference between your own wedding reception and being the guest at someone else's-you didn't have to be polite to people you didn't know and could concentrate on conversation with those you wanted to talk to. And most of the conversations were volleys of "I'm so sorry-how are you doing?" answered with Wingman's pat line "It's all good."  Because there was no way of answering even a part of what the past two years have been like in thirty seconds or less.

There were people there that I still keep in touch with, and many I hadn't seen in decades.  There were some missing I would have liked to have seen, like the couple who all I remember about the younger them, was that she wore tall Frye boots (which Wingman loved and promptly had to get for me), the guy who as a kid got picked up with Wingman for throwing a block of Velveeta cheese at a car windshield, and of course, Golden Lady.  I wanted to tell her that her sister was the best ICU nurse Wingman had before he died. 

The class president asked me to dance the last dance of the night with him-appropriately Donna Summer's "Last Dance".  And while many of them stayed in the bar to continue the night, I left with Wingman's BFF and his wife.  It wasn't my party, and I had to open the store at 9:00 the next morning.  From the comments on social media the next day, it sounded like a geriatric reinactment of the post-reunion party of decades ago.

And if any of you are curious, the class president invited me to his place for dinner next month.  Just an intimate little get together with two other couples, me, him...and his husband.

So don't look for a blog entry about more sex in the bushes. At least not one with me as a participant.

1 comment:

Thanks for taking the time to tell me what you think!

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