I don’t know how many of my old close friends will be there — tonight, as my graduating class from Sacred Heart High School celebrates it 50th. But I will be.
A half-century ago I graduated from high school, escaped the confines of a parochial education and launched myself into a much more reasonable world. At least it was a co-ed school.
There were two separate groups of kids who went to Sacred Heart: the Irish kids who came from the parish’s grade school, and the rest of us (mainly Poles and Italians) who came from the other Catholic ethnic parish grade schools. It’s not that there was discrimination, but it was the Irish kids who were the most popular. After all, it was their inherited territory.
While I achieved no academic honors in high school (my biggest claim to academic fame were my high nineties’ Regents Exam grades in English and French), I had an energetic social life that had no ethnic boundaries. Apparently, according to a few comments in my yearbook, I also drank a lot – probably because I liked feeling uninhibited, although not enough to loosen the high moral sexual standards ingrained in me since birth.
But I did have fun, my circle of girlfriends sharing my party-going personality. One of them, I remember, had a little Nash Rambler that six of was would squeeze into. We practiced dancing with each other, and that’s when I taught myself how to lead the Lindy.
Here are four of us, overshadowing our dates, gathered at my house to leave together for our Senior Prom. I am on the left, and I remember that my date’s name was Bobby Kennedy and he had graduated the year before. Of us four, one died in a tragic house fire. One owned the Nash Rambler and ultimately married my cousin. I haven’t seen the fourth since graduation. I hope that she will be there tonight.
I don’t actually remember this high school date at Rye Beach/Playland, so I am glad I saved this photo. I do, however, remember the guys. I’m the “pistol packin’ mama;” I don’t remember who the other girl was. I think that my selective memories are telling.
I’m going alone, and I’m a little nervous about tonight, although I am looking forward to it all. I do know that my old friend who married my cousin will be there with her husband. I know that one woman (widowed) with whom I went through grade school and high school will be there. I think that at least one guy I dated will be there. I wonder if I will be the only heretic. The only divorcee. The only blogger. I’m not going to the mass that’s being held before the cocktail hour (odd joining of events, doncha’ think?)
Fifty years. How different was the world in 1957, both Big Picture and little picture.
I’m going to take pictures. It’s how I remember.
I’m staying overnight at the hotel where the reunion is being held. It’s only about 45 minutes from here, but I don’t like driving in the dark. These old eyes, you know.
As I throw stuff in an overnight bag, I realize just how impossible it is these days to travel light. In addition to the usual makeup, deoderant, and toothbrush etc., I have to take my meds, stuff to make sure my hair looks good, allergy nose spray, the stuff to soak my partial denture in at night, reading glasses (in addition to my regular seeing/driving glasses), saline nasal spray (because the air in hotel rooms always dries out my sinuses), my mp3 player so that I can listen to the audio book to help me fall asleep……
And, of course, my digital camera. It’s how I remember.

1 thought on “reuniting

  1. i took a pass on my tenth and my twentieth – no desire to jump back into that vortex that nearly drove me even more insane than i already was – but i’m contemplating going to my 25th; “quarter century” seems somehow significant, and lately i’ve been somewhat obsessed with reclaiming bits of myself from the jaws of the past. i can’t wait to read about how your reunion went so i can get an idea of what to expect. i do know that one of my rebel-rousing friends (seriously: he’s a major anarchist theorist who ran in the streets at the G8) was disappointed when he showed up for the 10th, because none of the people he was curious about showed up, and the whole thing was dominated by the people that he’d hated back then to begin with.

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