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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Class Act

Friday, October 15, 2010

My 45th high school reunion was Oct. 9 in New Rochelle, New York, and while my generation was sipping merlot, comparing Lipitor prices and kicking the legs on state-of-the-art walkers, I was vacationing in Egypt, looking at mummified people.

Well, I walked myself right into that one, didn't I?

I felt bad about not seeing some of my old friends, but I'm not a huge fan of reunions. It's all very awkward. You're chatting with someone you haven't seen in 35 years when you spot an old buddy you haven't laid eyes on in 45 years who you actually liked better or played varsity baseball with or made out with in the back seat of your Chevy (and these last two were not the same person, in my case), and what are you supposed to do?

"Patty, I've enjoyed this 14-second conversation, but Aaron has showed up and he was in all my classes and we hung out together on weekends, and you were just in my homeroom sophomore year. And we only have two hours left in the reunion. There's always the 50th. How about one last hug?"

And so, I was OK with missing my 45th reunion. Then the other day, I got this e-mail. It began: "New Rochelle High School is having a 40-year reunion. Please join us."

This was clearly a mistake, a typo or a wrong address. These things happen, especially with my classmates, few of whom could spell, many of whom cheated in typing by looking at their neighbors' keys. I continued reading. "We are trying to locate some of our teachers, so that they, too, can trip down memory lane with us."

Oh my goodness! This was not a reunion of my graduating class; it was the 40th reunion of the first high school class I taught back in l969.

"Trip" was the operative word here.

This was still the 60s, remember. There was more ...

"Unfortunately we can't possibly treat every teacher who wishes to attend. If you cannot afford the $90, perhaps we can come up with a solution."

Was this a personal note to me? Had their reunion committee determined I had been unsuccessful in life when I left the classroom and probably needed some financial assistance? And they made it seem like there was an entire parade of teachers desperate to go to this reunion, which I kind of doubt. As I remember, most of the other faculty members had at least 30 years on me, so I think the pickins are going to be slim.

I read on. "If you would like to attend, and you are willing to pay $90, we would love for you to share this happy time with us. Our teachers helped make us who we are today."

I'll tell you what you are today: A bunch of cheap ingrates who won't lay out a lousy 90 bucks for the best teacher you ever had. Not only that, you guys always thought I was old, but I wasn't much older than you.

And you probably think I became a grumpy old man.

I don't think so.

There's still a chance I may go to that 40th reunion. There are a few students I'd like to see.

I hope they're all members in good standing of AARP.