Last Saturday night I went to my 45th grade school reunion.
I had a great time!
As Joe and I walked into the Emerald Room at the K of C Hall, I was a little nervous. But almost as soon as I stepped through the door, Pat Ryan looked at me and said, "Mary Wise!"
And immediately we were off to the races with the catching up and the remembering and the laughing and the reconnecting.
Did I mention the open bar?
There was a table with our eighth grade graduation picture, a scapular, a Christmas Seals prize, and various other reminders of our school daze. One of the classmates was the DJ; he kept those great Motown hits of the 60s playing. (A mirror ball would have been icing on the cake -- just like the school auditorium on Teen Club dance nights -- but probably would have inhibited the visiting.)
And! There was even our kindergarten graduation picture, in which I was chosen to dress up in a miniature nun's habit to portray the principal, Mother Bernadette. (I think I have a copy of that picture -- I'll have to dig it up. Who wants to see me, at age 5, dressed up like a nun?)
Speaking of Christmas seals, I should sum up. Every holiday season we all had to sell these stamps with Christmas themes -- the more you sold, the cooler the prize you got to pick. I remember selling enough one year to get a glow-in-the-dark rosary!
It was really super getting to know everyone again. But what really fascinated me was the shared memory aspect of the gathering -- the storytelling of those days back in grade school and the common ground we trod.
"Remember playing Chinese jump rope?"
"And marching in straight lines?"
"How about Sister Leon smacking bad boys on the hand with that ruler?"
And the nuns! Boy oh boy, did we talk about the nuns! That, I think, was the most interesting, especially when almost everyone I talked to called Sister Cecilius "Cecil" at one point or another. I also realized just how many gaps there are in memory -- I had completely forgotten about Sister Sabina, who was one of the seventh and eighth grade teachers, and one of the guys suddenly remembered that we were drawing Thanksgiving pictures when Sister Donelda announced Kennedy's assassination after I mentioned that memory.
Here I am with two of my classmates! I snagged the picture from our reunion site. Don't we look grand?
So yeah. It was great fun. I'm glad I went!