Somehow I got wind of the fact that there was going to be a 10th year high school reunion. It certainly was not form a former classmate, not even one that attended Ohio U. I’d been living in New York 4 years and had lost touch with a lot of kids from Ohio. More likely than not it was my Mother who was told of the plans from a neighbor.
Mom urged me to go but I was very reluctant. What about those cliques? I never was in one. I had a serious girlfriend now, Arlene, who I knew would become my wife in the next year. Didn’t feel like spending time away from her to be with people I didn’t care much for. And if I gave it any mind the pain of those years came back to tell me no.
So I Went
Knowing me, I probably debated myself into oblivion as to what I ought to do. I just could not face those people again. Sure, I was bound to see some of my OU friends but that didn’t seem like enough of a draw to bet me there.
I may have been in Cleveland that weekend in June for some other reason. But I went anyway out of curiosity and because I was convinced I had not a thing to lose.
The event was held at one of those motels right off the Pepper Pike exit of I271, across the street from Village Square. At the door, Michelle and Shelley gave me the words of wisdom which propelled me to have a great night.
“Buddy, get yourself a drink.”
I was too nervous to remember what Liquid Courage could do for me.
I made my way gaining my courage, sip by sip. I was starting to warm up, talking to one or two people at a time and before long I was, typically, sitting at a table mostly with women. There was Shelley, Iris and Debbie who had not long ago met with unspeakable tragedy. I don’t think anyone spoke of Scott’s suicide but it was there. I just liked being anywhere near her because she was so cool and someone I could have never talked to in high school. But I could now.
I picked up my food at the buffet table. On the other side of the table were Bruce and Janie. The latter went to another HS and I sort of knew her. I asked, “Do you guys know each other?” At once they laughed and said, “Buddy, we’re married.”
Woah, I thought. Are you kidding? Those two? I didn’t know they even knew each other. I was thinking how good looking their offspring would be. I was delighted. Bruce and I were actual friends in HS (he introduced me to Jimi Hendrix) and the fact that he married one of the Beachwood Snobs made things very interesting. We spent quite a bit of time talking, mostly about Arlene and how I wish she had been with me. In the proximate years that followed and while their marriage was intact Arlene and I would see them for concerts and dinners as we made them regulars every time we’d come to town.
And in the years to follow I’d look back on this night thinking what fun I had as I began to look forward to the next reunion.