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August 24, 2018

Well, it happened. Our high school class of 1978 celebrated its 40th reunion over two festive nights last weekend. Burlington High School. BHS. And though only a small portion of the 375 original graduates made it to the parties, I’d say a wonderful time was had by all.


I’m fairly certain this is true…

After taking the 7am ferry from Martha’s Vineyard to Woods Hole following a crazy night of restaurant work, I steadied my nerves on the long drive to Vermont by listening to the Beatles’ “White Album” in its entirety for the first time in years. I then moved on to “Revolver”, before finding myself intently absorbing every sound of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. And what was interesting, other than loving every song and moment of the drive, was realizing how these songs were already OLD by the time I even started high school. Musically, at least for me, we are amazingly formed at such a young age. I think I felt older-than-my-years while in high school (for a guy who didn’t shave till the end and was amazingly innocent in almost every way) because I’d already acquired this wealth of musical exposure from basically first grade on. I still remember almost every word of those great songs today - more than 50 years later! Not a bad way to being a nostalgic trip to a high school reunion.


Of course, I was exhausted by the time I arrived at my brother Tom’s condo in Williston, showing off my advanced years by taking an hour nap immediately. But then I met my good friend Michael Effron for a late lunch in downtown Burlington (the Griphon - great seared tuna sandwiches!), after which we immediately drove to the St John’s Club, a private club situated right on Lake Champlain that was perfect for an informal get-together. (Thank you, Andrew Peisch, for making this happen!) And much like the way I instinctively reached for comforting music on the drive over, I found myself initially inclined to happily reconnect with the friends who hadn’t really lost contact with me to begin with. But then things seemed to spread out, and before you know it I was meeting interesting people from high school I’d never known before. (Would this be like putting on “Sgt. Pepper” and finding three extra songs you’d never known were there? Hmmm… Maybe…)


And the next night, the formal reunion, at a lovely room in a Champlain College building off of Main Street, took place. (Thank you, Lonnie Poland, for making this happen!) And while the big room and oversized terrace seemed to showcase the fact that there were so many people missing, it didn’t take long, at least for me, to get into the spirit of the occasion. Stories I’d never heard - a couple getting married after never knowing each other while sharing the same high school class yet meeting years later, a good friend bravely and brazenly, with his son, transferring the ashes of his Yankees-loving father onto the infield of the new Yankee Stadium - seemed to add to the still-existing memories of a time when we were all simply growing up. These were two great nights. I highly recommend High School reunions to anyone who can still conjure up good feelings about those days.


Of course, there was a wistfulness as well. We’ve all gotten older… None of us know when we’ll meet again - although I hear there’s already talk about repeating the celebrations in five years time. And there might have been an old girlfriend or two that appears happier in their lives than I might have chosen to fictionalize, had I composed a short story on the topic in any year since. But it’s good to come face-to-face with the past when allowed to do so.


I’m fairly certain this is true…

And speaking of coming face-to-face with your past, a long-lost classmate who couldn’t attend the reunion, Katie Eastman, posted an even earlier photograph of a junior high class of mine. I believe it’s dated from ’73 or ’74 - back in the days when there was great clamor for an actual Beatles reunion! See if you can spot the shy guy in the background, who happens to be typing these words now…

In any case, I treated myself on the drive back home to “Abbey Road” in its entirety, followed by a double-CD compilation called “Past Masters” that I don’t believe I’d owned till a few years ago. I went to see “Springsteen on Broadway” earlier this Spring and he joked of how, after years of being “Born to Run”, he is now living about five minutes away from his original hometown. I sometimes wonder if I’ll similarly find myself someday living closer to my family and Burlington High School friends. It’s possible - I’ve already checked out a few condos here and there…


But I still love New York City. And Martha’s Vineyard too…

I’ll keep you posted!


Oh, and I almost forgot - my Vermont trip ended with another reunion on Sunday, this time with my immediate family, which was equally enjoyable. (Thank you, Tricia Kimball, for making this happen!)

See you next month!

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