I would've been the youngest person there had it not been for the 2003 graduate who was working in the kitchen.
Yes, the 33 year old, grayer than her 43 year old husband, overweight mother of three was the next-to-the-youngest person at an all-school reunion banquet.
Oh man, Paul did NOT want to go, as I chronicled here, but I badgered the poor man into giving in. I harped, nagged, offered, bribed and yes, flat-out whined at him until he had no choice but to agree to attend with me. And even though he had said repeatedly that he didn't want to see any of his old classmates, I thought for sure he'd see someone from 1981 that caused a flood of memories to come a'rushin' back and he'd drag me to a bar afterwards with the whole crew so we could relive his glory days together.
We got there around 5:30 and the one guy that he'd said repeatedly that he hated the most and he hoped wasn't going to be there was just getting out of his truck. Oy. I saw my husband bristle and thought, "Well, that was a fun drive to Wyandotte. Guess we'll be going now," but instead me mumbled something about "Ihatethat[insert expletives here]", but still we were moving toward the door. I was still hopeful. And I could see where he'd have had issues with this guy that he really hated - he just really acted like a jerk. He exhaled jerk-ness and gave off bad vibes. And he was a lot shorter than he looked in the yearbook. I found that kind of funny. In a twisted kind of way.
Paul refused to put on his nametag, refused to sit at the honored 25th year table and refused to even speak to any of his classmates. I kind of figured there'd be nobody from my class - us folks from the 90's just don't get into this kind of scene I guess. Well, except for me and I'm a bit of a nerd ya know. So we visited with Pat, a guy that my mom graduated with and Tony, a guy that graduated 2 years before them. Pat eventually talked Paul into wearing his nametag and told us to pick out some seats. Of course, we picked out the table furthest away from everything including the food, oxygen and the ability to hear what was being said, but that's okay, Paul was far away from The Jerk.
Finally my mother arrived and Paul relaxed a bit. If anyone can make a situation more fun, it's my mom. She can relax a homophobe before a prostate exam (Not that she's actually that hands on with her relaxing ways....oh anyway). Mom flitted about the room not unlike the proverbial ferret on crack, visiting with scads of people young and old. She knows everyone on the planet, I swear. My Uncle the Politician and his lovely wife, my Aunt Janet, arrived and took seats with us back on the moon's surface where the oxygen was scarce, but the company was great. Aunt Janet said, "Hey, you're here! Last I read, Paul, you weren't coming." I forgot she reads my blog. Every time a person from the class of '81 would come in I'd point them out to my husband and he'd shrug and grunt. He never moved from his seat. I started to whip out some wisdom wisdom and tell him, "If you go somewhere thinking you'll have a rotten time, chances are you will", but decided that I'd keep my mouth shut and stay cheery. After all, he had said, "Bite me. I ain't goin'," before. Aunt Janet was right - at least he was there.
Dinner was delightful - big ol' chicken leg/thighs smoked to yummy perfection, tater salad, (No actual Taters were harmed in the making of the salad. I checked.) baked beans, hot rolls and cobbler. Mom and Pat had gotten their plates and were down at the end of the line kind of huddled together. I sidled up to them and said, "What are you two doin'?" and Pat nonchalantly said, "Oh, just rubbing some sauce on your mom's thigh." AGH!! I squealed something about needing to bleach my eyes and my brain and went back to the table where my non-eating husband was sitting. My not-eating husband? you ask - Oh, he had eaten pizza here at home before we left. And had failed to tell me that he wouldn't be partaking until after I had paid his $12. Grr.
After dinner we sang the school song. Thanks to Cap'n Neurotic's mom, I know every word to the school song still to this day and will know it until I die. Although I only got a 98 on the test because I forgot the RAH RAH! at the end. Dang those RAH RAH's. I don't forget 'em now, by cracky, though. Forever will the RAH RAH's live.
Then came the roll call - 100-some-odd old dudes with a handful of Baby Boomers and a GenXer (Or is it GenY? I lose track) thrown in for good measure, standing and saying their names and where they were from. Some would give a brief (or not so brief) life story, some just blurted out their name and the wrong hometown, like I did. I always say I'm from Fairland because that's where my kids go to school, even though we have a Miami address. It's just something I do. I sat down and My Uncle the Politician, Aunt Janet and Mom were all staring at me. Finally Mom said, "Fairland? You're not from Fairland!" Agh. When it came time for Paul's class to be recognized, the lot of us moon-dwellers cajoled him into going up front. Okay, so it was mainly me because I heard the honored classes got mugs. I wanted a mug! I thought, how much more school-spirited could I be but to drink my morning coffee from a WHS mug? As he was walking up front, Mom leaned over and said, "How much you wanna bet he says he's from Miami?" Sure enough, he's from Miami, I'm from Fairland. How people will talk.
A lady stood up to sing a song and told us that while she was singing to think of all of the classmates we had lost through the years. Hoo boy, let's end this shindig on a happy note, why don't we? Yeesh. We've only lost one, so instead of getting bogged down into a saddened mess I instead took my butter knife and began sawing on my wrists, which in turn led Pat into pretending to stab himself in the throat and Tony attempted a gut wound. My Uncle the Politician had to maintain some decorum while we children amused ourselves, but I think he was slightly amused just the same. Or maybe he wasn't. A few members of the Class of 1976 had obviously received a phone call from a long-lost class member and proceded to pass the phone around the table during the whole program. I offered to stick that phone where the sun don't shine, but Mom gave me that classic "Shut your mouth or I'll put half-moon shaped marks on your wrists with my fingernails" and that made me quit with the threats. But it still added to the giggling hilarity back in the corner. Yes, we were juvenile, but the Lucky Turtle Casino was just mere yards from us and we all could feel it's unmistakable pull. I even suggested we all cut out early, but Aunt Janet said, "YOU'RE the one who wanted this! You're staying!" She was right. So I just sat there and continued to make fun of people.
I wonder if I'll ever grow up.
Nah. I doubt it.
But I'll drink my coffee out of my husband's WHS mug and giggle about Tony doing the whole "Parkay" bit with the butter tub and remember fondly the 2006 WHS Alumni Banquet. I'll shout my RAH RAH's when the school song is over and I'll always have an unexplainable urge to wear black and white on Fridays.
March Wyandotte High with our colors on high