The scene was set, High School Class Reunion.
Given the timing of the event, I was unfortunately out of town and was not sure I would return in time for the festivities. The build up of pressure would not hit heightened levels until much closer to the end of the evening. In preparation of the possibility of not making the event at all, I took a few preliminary precautions to show my support and mark my place in the folklore of Hopatcong High. First, with the knowledge of a time capsule, I decided to donate a copy of my newest book. Given that I am a writer, I hoped for a little inspiration to write a poem about the reunion with a large matting so it can be signed by all attending and then buried.
The third was a little trickier. Like most high schools, tradition is a big part of its history and one of the traditional acts, that was typically reserved for the crazy zany popular crowd was the spray painting of the infamous road that lay on the side of a grassy hill just behind the high school. In order to accomplish this, I had to sneak onto school property in the middle of the night with several cans of spray paint and a clever story if I were to get caught. My hometown is a bit on the small side so the chance of a cop drive by was pretty high. As I walked the hill, of course a car drives around the back of the school. Like any good adult performing an act of a fifteen year old, I dropped the bag of paint and lay still on the grass. Fortunately, the car would pass and I still do not know if it was a police car.
I moved quickly and started on the coat of white. As I waited for it to dry, I hid behind a bush and waited for what seemed like an hour but only amounted to ten minutes. Then I used the least amount of artistic ability to add the words the would forever make me a legend or at least Saturday night.
Success!!!! The next morning we took a drive over to document my act of vandalism. I waited until the evening before the reunion and then boom right on Facebook for the class to see. Now, whether I made the event of not, my presence was known and I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing my old classmates.
Little set back in my master plan. I made it home in time with about an hour and a half to go in the reunion so I had to attend. Quickly, I called everyone I knew trying to figure out why we go to class reunions. What I learned was this, apparently, it means more to women than men when it comes to appearance, but ultimately, it is just a night to remember old friends and share stories of each other’s lives. Wish I knew that prior to going. After an hour at the reception hall and several hours at the bar until 2:30 AM, I walked away with a really good feeling.
It seemed fitting that the final song of the evening at the hall was “Never Say Goodbye” Being a Jersey boy and a Bon Jovi song about high school and love gained and lost, it was a perfect way to say goodbye and then debate on which hole in the wall bar to go to.
I did go into the evening with a bit of an ulterior motive. I was going to finally confess to my first crush that she, along with “Love Comes Walking In” by Van Halen got me through most of my nine and ten year old years. She did leave after eighth grade so I didn’t expect her to remember too much about me, but I felt it would have been sweet to tell her that she was in fact my first crush. As several of us stood outside the reception hall, she introduced herself to me as if she never knew I existed. Crushed! Devastated! Ego Shot! Ok, I am totally adding dramatic effect for sake of the story, but for a brief moment, almost 4 seconds, I was upset.
The rest of the evening and ensuing evenings through the magic of Facebook was a series of very nice comments, re-connections and new connections.
Overall, the night was not about popularity, social status or even number of kids. It was a night of past, present and future coming together to remember where we all came from.
To Hopatcong High School Class of ’91. Thank you for the new memories. Go Chiefs!!!