The big event of the late weekend was a small gathering, at our house in Berkeley, of folks from Crete-Monee High School, from which I graduated in 1972. This was sort of an informal reprise of an actual “all-class” reunion held a couple weeks ago in Crete, a town about 30 miles straight south of downtown Chicago. About 700 people showed up for a catered event at the racetrack on the edge of town. The Crete-Monee diaspora includes at least a handful who have landed in Northern California. A few of us who have stayed in touch or who have happened upon each other on Facebook began talking about a West Coast version of the Crete event. And so this weekend’s All Class/No Class Crete-Monee High School Reunion, 2009 was born.
Who showed up? Anne Kaufman, ’74, right off the plane from Chicago. Mike Rodgers — ’74, too, I think, and Wendy Seehausen Rodgers (not sure what class). Jimmy O’Donnell, who blasted down from his creekside paradise near Mount Lassen in Shasta County; he’s an honorary graduate of the Class of ’74 because his family moved after his sophomore year and he was forced to complete school in the snowless suburban sprawl of Contra Costa County. His sister Laurie O’Donnell, who was in my class (’72) but who I never really talked to much until yesterday. Linda Stewart, who as a German teacher to many of the assembled was in all our classes; she came down from Truckee, the town just across Donner Pass on Interstate 80 in the Sierra. And then there was Kate, my wife, who grew up Crete-less (she’s from the northern Jersey shore, sort of) and me.
So eight in all. More would have been fun, and if we could teleport people I can name several friends (Randy, Ron, Mike, Dan–you listening?) I would have beamed in in a second. But yesterday eight was enough, to coin a phrase. Linda remarked that everyone talked to everyone else, the group kept forming into small groups, breaking up, and reassembling itself into twos and threes of engaged conversation. The food was good. The weather was beautiful. There were some funny memories, some warm recollections, some scary and sad stories about classmates and friends. Most of us ended up taking a walk through our neighborhood just after sunset, and that was the way I imagined the day ending.
I’ve never once gone to one of my class reunions. It’s been 10 or 12 years at least since I’ve been part of a high-school-centered gathering; the last one was at Linda’s when she lived in San Francisco. People are talking about it happening again next year. We’ll see what comes. Meantime I’ll work on my teleportation skills.