Yikes, sorry for being out of commission, I was busy finalizing the last minute details of our high school reunion this past weekend. Overall, it was absolutely great. Of course, there were lessons learned. My one big disappointment was that the turnout on Sunday for mass at our school and the wine/cheese reception followed by a tour of the new campus was completely overshadowed by the previous night’s bar event.
As for the prep work and planning. Let’s be real. I pretty much planned this event. If I don’t plan things, nothing happens. So while I complain about the difficulty in managing the troops, I kinda take this workload upon myself. I know, I know. It’s a life of service that I lead.
Friday night, Conrado and Chipper came into town. Conveniently, they were right down the street from me at some hotel in the middle of the hood that I’d never heard of. It looked fine except for the porno video store across the street. We went out to the Lookout in the Castro for drinks and ended up gorging on pizza afterwards. The married guy I’m dating promised to come out and join me for drinks, but when I told him we were in the Castro, he decided to stay in the confines of Marin. STRIKE 1 for the married guy. Well, actually, that’s really STRIKE 2 since he does wear a ring on his left ring finger. The nerve of the guy. Fine, I figured it was better for him to stay with his Yes on Prop 8 ilk.
The reunion commenced at 8pm at Sip bar on Broadway in North Beach. Rather early for a Saturday night, I was lucky to find a parking spot directly across the street. Sip is owned by John Eric Sanchez who graduated in the class below mine. He was kind enough to open up his bar early for a private party and also block off the back half for our group later on in the night. No charge, no fees, nothing. So please, please do consider patronizing his bar. It was really nice of him to do that. And it’s a great bar. John Eric broadcast a slideshow that one of my classmates had put together during the night and played cheesy 80s music until one of my classmates told him to switch it.
People trickled in in a timely manner. Perfect as we mingled and got the update on what everyone was up to.
I think my favorite person of the evening was a lively, popular girl in my class named Gabby Garcia. For starters, she looked great. And as with everyone, I demanded, “Where are pictures of the babies? I want pictures now!” Most everyone delighted in bringing out their iPhones, scrolling their recent pictures on their cameras. Not Gabby.
“Unh-unh, girlfriend. Tonight is for me. I ain’t talking about those kids. It’s always volleyball this and can I go out here with my friends. And this and that. I ain’t talking about them tonight. Not one word. Let’s talk about me.” I bowled over laughing. Same Gabby I knew from high school.
Everyone looked the same. I think people looked even better than they had during our 10 year reunion. I certainly did.
A small group of us went out for Chinese food late night. That will probably be one of my fondest memories. Lots of small talk at the bar, but when you have to sit through a whole dinner of Chinese food…a lot of details come out. I talked about work and Burning Man. Terri talked about the crops she was going to grow on her farm.
Sadly, only a handful of classmates showed up the next day for Sunday mass at our school. I goaded my parents, aunts and uncles, and sister and her family to come because there was a beautiful spread of appetizers, cheese, and wine. I had put together a wonderful program. Two staff members from alumni relations were on-hand to talk about the school initiatives and changes. We did a Q&A session with a current senior. I talked about ways to get involved and encouraged donations, including matching any donation made (surprise, surprise…no one donated). I know I’m the only one in my class who donates to the school. It depresses me because I know we were all raised similarly: working class backgrounds, immigrant families. I’m going to continue to champion charitable causes.
People, if there’s one thing you learn from reading my blog today. GIVE! GIVE! There are people out there who are less fortunate. It is during these recessionary times that we have to support each other, particularly the communities who instilled in us certain values and gave us the skills to earn a living and support our families. Give, people. Please give.
And finally, the reunion ended with a wonderful tour of the new campus. It has come a long way in 15 years, including a state-of-the-art science center. Students can come up with their own research and development topics to study. One of the students on hand walked us through his wind turbine technology.
I do love my high school. I love the people I grew up with. I love my classmates and teachers. As much planning as there was involved, I think we might have to have a sweet sixteen reunion.