Earlier this summer, I went down to Yonkers, NY to take photos for my Dad and his friends at their 8th grade reunion. Yeah, you heard right, his 8th grade class. After the 8th grade, everyone went off to different high schools. At a high school reunion a year or so ago, many of the PS4ers, my Dad included, decided that the people they really wanted to see were the other kids from PS#4. And so the quest began. For the past year, I’ve been getting regular updates from Dad about who he’s contacted, who they’ve found…its been really amazing. They looked up last names in phone books in distant states and just started dialing until they found the people they were looking for. Dad started Skyping–not so he could see his kids more often, oh no, he finally downloaded Skype so his old classmate could attend the reunion remotly (he and mom still skype with us too). He put together informal face-matching quizes and sent them out over email. There were new old black and white photos at the house every time I visited.
There was a huge build up to this event and I knew early on that I wanted to be involved. My dad tells great stories and I knew there would be lots of new ones told at this event. Nothing like being in the place to inspire the memories. So, I volunteered to help run the computer (for the skype guy) and take pictures (so everyone can focus on each other, not on cameras).
So, when the weekend rolled around, I headed south. The reunion weekend came on the heels of a whole bunch of travel. I’d been in Maine doing orientation for my summer writing interns for a week. I was stresesd. I felt like my ass was molding into the shape of my car seat, I’d spent so much time in the car. That Friday, it was raining. Ted talked to me nearly the whole way down to Yonkers and I was so grateful. I was running late and stressed about that (I hate being late) and so I was behind on eating and hungry and all-hungry-freaky like I get in those moments (the come about every 4 hours unless I get food…I swear, I’m like a baby bird in this way). After 5 hours in the car, I pulled into a rest stop on I-95 and changed into my party clothes in the bathroom, put on make-up, and scowled at Ian (my GPS) so that he would know I ment business…no getting lost!
And we didn’t. I arrived in time for dinner [Which was fantastic, I have to say. Roasted veggies, tom&moz salad, chicken marsala…this was a good omen]. I walked up to the table where Mom was sitting and the other people sitting with her said, “Oh, this must be your daughter, she looks just like you!” I’m getting used to hearing that, plus, my mom’s awesome, so bring it, you know?
Anyway, Firday night was fantastic dinner and then Dad’s powerpoint of all these old photos and a few new ones, especially of people who couldn’t be there. After a preview of coming attractions, we headed back to the hotel.
[A side note here. The hotel was full of Chineese “athletes” or something…disadents? It was hard to tell. They were all dressed in yellow jackets though. Bright yellow jackets. And there were like 5 wedding parties all milling around the lobby all weekend. It was a complete zoo.]
Saturday was bus trip day. We had a leasurly morning and then headed out to the meeting spot, picked up the bus, and we were off. We drove all through Yonkers and adjacent neighborhoods. We went past childhood homes, playgrounds, first jobs, and of course, PS#4 itself. Well, we went past where it used to be anyway. Its a townhouse community now. We took a picture anyway, with everyone standing in front of the new sign. It was a great trip. What I’ll remember most is the sentiment repeated over and over by everyone…how everything seems so much closer than it once was, “Your house used to seem so far away!”
Saturday night was dinner out at this amazing Italian restaruant. Salad, pasta, fish, desert, coffee. I had a dirty gin martini with extra olives. Everything was so yummy. And everyone had such a great time. There were great stories–the “bra story” about John running around singing “eringobra” on St. Patrick’s day and Roz cracking up, but John having no idea what was so funny–Roz and John sang a song from school–two guys switched name tags…the whole thing was a blast. They all just really enjoyed being there with each other, sharing memories, and catching up. There was so much happiness in that room and I just felt so lucky to be there.