Journal entry: October 7, 2007 (age 38): High School Reunion
At this weekend’s 20-year high school reunion for Seton Catholic Central High School’s class of 1987, there were dozens of people that I was excited to spend time with. Some were good friends that I have stayed in touch with over the years, and others were people I wish I knew better, both then and now. But as I look back over all the conversations, hugs and laughs of the last few days, I realize that if I had to choose the one person I was most happy to share this event with, it would be my wife, Amanda.
Amanda is four years younger than me, and grew up in Delaware and Virginia; so, obviously, she did not graduate with my class. Nevertheless, she knows so much about my friends and fellow graduates that many of the high school reunion attendees turned to her for help in identifying people. “Oh, that’s so-and-so, who changed her name from such-and-such after a religious conversion.” She even convinced one alumnus, Gerald Kane, that she used to sit behind him in biology class.
As I raced from conversation to conversation, I could always spot Amanda being helpful somewhere in the room. She spent much of the kick-off mixer welcoming and signing in people at the registration table. At the family picnic, she entertained the gaggles of kids with her frighteningly accurate impression of a lizard’s face. At the reunion dinner, she sought out other wives and husbands to join her in what she called “The Spouses Club”
On Saturday, I had occasion to sing our alma mater three times. Two of the three renditions were sung by groups of alumni assembled for the weekend’s official events. But my favorite version was performed by Amanda in the car of our friend, Laurie Sleeper (SCC class of ‘89). As the three of us sang the closing line, “Here’s to our alma mater, to our dear SCCHS,” Amanda loudly sang “SCCHS” as though it was a single word, rather than a series of spelled-out letters. While sounding out her neologism, she transformed the letter “H” into the sound of Dom DeLuise laughing himself into hyperventilation.
Ironically, I wasn’t able to spend much time at my high school reunion actually with Amanda. But having her there was like having an extension of myself – to tell stories, to gather people’s news, and to make obscure jokes. And now, we will have a great time debriefing each other about all the ins and outs of the reunion’s festivities.
After 20 years, I was pleased by how few of the conversations were about how people are making a living. (This allowed me to avoid explaining that I am an underemployed writer and actor.) There was a lot more talk about good memories from high school and the joys of family life. Another popular topic was the discovery of new things about old friends. “I never knew how funny/friendly/cool so-and-so was!” A good number of those comments were about Amanda, which really gave me something to feel proud about.