Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt

Wingman use to call me many things. Obstinate. Overcritical. Certainly bitchy. I even recall on our wedding day that he called me "beautiful". But that was a one-time happening, and I don't recall him ever crooning Eric Clapton"s "You Look Wonderful Tonight" after that. So it comes as no surprise that he never called me "sexy".

And I get it.  When I went to school in NYC, a couple of my friends were stopped by Eileen Ford and asked to come to her agency to model.  They were cute, and one was even, in an exotic way, sexy even back then.  But not me. I was and always will be, fine with how I look.

There were some things over the years that got me when I stopped dying my hair and grew it out to donate for a wig.  As part of a lecture that I did on The Avon Walk For Breast Cancer, I had my beautician come in and cut my waist-long hair short. The following Sunday at church, I was a Eucharistic Minister, which at a Catholic Mass is a re…

'Cause Baby You're A Firework. Come On Show Them What You're Worth

Five years ago today, I stood in a hospital room strewn with used syringes, rubber gloves and other medical waste, looking at the lifeless body of the man that I shared a life with for over 30 years. I should have been thinking of family, love and loss.  Instead, my first thought was, "Wow, I'm a widow now." Pretty pathetic in retrospect, and when Wingman referred to me just before I left him as "The Bitch", probably not too far off the mark.

But in time-warped speed just a half hour before that, I had already talked to the hospital twice, woken son #3 up to go over to the hospital with me, called Wingman's brother on the way, fought with a gimpy legged night watchman who wouldn't let us in the hospital, and finally took "that meeting" in a small private room where the doctor told my son and I that they did everything possible, but unfortunately (UNFORTUNATELY???) Wingman had passed. My brain was filled with what to do, who to call, …

But She Use To Have A Carefree Mind Of Her Own, With A Devilish Look In Her Eye

The first time I went out with Wingman, he remarked about how much I reminded him of his mother.  When we finally met, I just didn't see it: she was a tall, chain-smoking blonde, with a Lauren Bacall-esque voice, while I considered myself just an average size brunette with no distinguishable qualities.

She and I began our own relationship with stories about our lives, and she won every round of "Can You Top This". At 10 years old, she helped deliver her brother when her mother went into labor at home. Later, her alcoholic mother walked out on the family and was never seen or heard from again, so she dropped out of school to help. At 19, she and her husband eloped, and thought no one knew.  A photographer however, took a picture of them outside City Hall which became the cover of the afternoon edition of the NY World Telegram. (Oops.) A couple of years later, her very pregnant self drove her father and his equally pregnant girlfriend to City Hall in Newark to MAKE them get…