Keeping up on the nostalgic kick as this newservice has been holding on to for a bit, this writer, better known as “me”, will take the time to comment about an event I recently attended.
Not to long ago, I attended a 40th high school reunion. The reunion took place at what could be called “the scene of the crime”, a large meeting room on the campus of the high school in question. About 200 of those were in attendance. Many were dressed up if they were attending a wedding or some other once-in-a-lifetime event that was of the festive variety. A few wore casual clothing. However, it was a time where people can meet again after some four decades had passed since their last communication. That is, unless they attended reunions from ten, twenty, or even thirty years beforehand.
The event started with a happy-hour event, where finger foods were being served, along with a nearby open bar serving beer, wine, soft drinks, along with a bit of the “harder stuff” that can be added in the beverage of choice. A table on one side of the room were loaded with photographs of high school events from the class senior year. (1977-78), along with some programs of high school football matches with a few worn out yearbooks ready to thumb through. (The yearbooks were provided by a member of the class as the front and back inside covers were loaded with autographs and other forms of long winded best wishes messages written inside!) In the corner of the room was a “selfie wall” were one can take a picture or two (with one’s cellphone, ‘natch), where one can stand in front of a wall with a sign noting of the high school name and year, all decked out using the school’s colors as its scheme. On the opposite side of the same room was a table with a few long stemmed candles posted with battery operated candles flicking a light. In the center of the table was a laptop showing off a PowerPoint slide show with the names and photos of those that have since died. About a dozen or so of those in the graduation class had since passed on.
After a buffet dinner with a selection of main dished and sides (with a dessert bar offering a selection of cheesecakes presented as the night progressed), there was a brief presentation show, complete with a cheerleading squad show as performed by way of the class of ’19, a few words by the folks responsible for this reunion, as well as everyone participating in a giant class picture. The evening was topped of by some dancing. The son of one of the original graduating class were playing hits of the era (as well as a few newer tunes snuck in) all coming from this man’s trusty laptop connected to a massive loudspeaker system. In short, the event was really great! Everyone seemed to get connected with many a story swapped, a few old flames became ignited again, and even a few business cards exchanged.
And did this humble writer enjoy himself? Absolutely! For me, it was a total blast, and I would attend another reunion again. However, there was no nostalgia ever dispensed from me.
So what was the reason why I didn’t take that trip down memory lane? It wasn’t my high school reunion as I didn’t know a single person!
So why in the world did I attend somebody else’s reunion? This reunion was for my spouse! She wanted me to attend, and I wanted to go! It was her that was the one who spend four years of her so-called teenage life among these hallowed halls. She was the one that bonded with a group of folks that she hasn’t seen in generations! Some people she recalled fondly. A few didn’t know as well but had recollections. The rest were totally forgotten. However, she was back at the place that became part of her high school years, the period where many folks living a standard domestic life took part of with all of the nonsense that goes along with being in a high school of that magnitude. There was the homecoming, the school groups, the teachers that made it all happen, the prom, and those other events that make high school just what it is. It’s either the best years of one’s life, the worst years of one’s life, or just another part of growing up toward an adult lifestyle.
It was interesting to witness just a slice of my spouse’s life years (decades really), long before I came into the picture. She was living in a community (Santa Monica in this case) during a period where I was dwelling some 2000 miles away where my biggest concern was an attempt to catch up with the old movies that were being aired on local TV. I wasn’t so concerned about high school nonsense such as going to the prom. On that long forgotten evening, there was a double feature of old movies being aired that I would not miss–The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and The Best Years of Our Lives with Fredrick March, Myrna Loy, and Dana Andrews. And remember folks, this was slightly before the time I purchased my first VCR with my own money!!
Otherwise, I would have recorded those flicks off the air to watch later!
There were a few things that I observed about attending somebody else’s reunion. Perhaps the biggest thing I noticed that I was under no pressure of meeting somebody I wanted to see. I didn’t have to think of stories or excuses to tell somebody about myself or what I had been doing for the last forty years! There was no reason to give my life story to anyone, or to ask for anyone else’s reasons on how they wound up to what they today! In fact, a few people did come up to me thinking that I was somebody else. They were trying to remember me in some way or form. All I told these folks that I was a guest there. However, I did appreciate them approaching me to give their greetings!
And I also realized that I was not the only guest in attendance. One woman I met said that she was a cousin of one of the reunioners. She grew up in Honolulu, and was slightly older than most of those in attendance. She was living in a retirement community in Riverside, and traveled all the way just for the event just to keep her cousin company.
And a few others did come in from out of town as well. One person came from Philadelphia, one was from Lincoln, Nebraska, while a few were living in neighboring towns ranging from Phoenix, Arizona to Las Vegas.
Of course, just about everyone was within the same age bracket, middle to late 50’s. Many looked good for their age while a few didn’t. Some people didn’t seem to age at all. On everyone’s name tags were their name at the time of graduation as well as a picture extracted from the yearbook. Many people came up to my spouse stating that she didn’t change at all. Looking at her likeness of her eighteen year old self to what she resembles today, I can get these people’s points as rather accurate.
As we were departing the event after it shut down for the night, there was an announcement made for the next reunion, (the 50th), scheduled for sometime in 2028. I can’t say my spouse will take part then. However, if I’m still around, I’ll go again!
As we were leaving the reunion site, she did ask if she would ever attend my reunion. I told her that both of us won’t know anyone in attendance. Besides, the last time I did know of some kind of reunion of sorts, it took place in the ballroom of a local Holiday Inn. However, what’s the point of attending a reunion where I would not know anyone there? It would be rather silly to go up to someone to say “Hi! Am I suppose to remember you?” Then again, maybe somebody would remember me. As for now, I’ll just stick to a crowd I really know nothing about as much as they would know of me! So much for humor!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Impro Theatre, the improvisational theater troupe that performs “plays” that are in the style of a well known playwright or a specific genre, will be making two separate appearances outside of their home base for the month of December.
Its first program is 1966 HOLIDAY VARIETY EXTRAVAGANZA, a satire of those Christmas TV specials that once littered the media landscape back in the days when three television networks brought in most of the programming as scheduled and as deliver through an antenna device from over-the-air signals. These form of TV specials that were created for the Christmas season (when the holiday in question was actually called “Christmas”), featured a host that was musically inclined (Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, etc.) that featured plenty of musical numbers, comedy as provided by a tally of “special guest stars”, and other forms of merriment that was geared toward a family audience. They were all sweet, charming, and gay. (The original meaning of the term “gay”!) Unlike those TV special of yore where everything done on camera was scripted and pre-planned down to its last holly and mistletoe, Impro Theater will perform this show through total improvisation, meaning that everything presented will be done without any planning! Their stage show cue will be extracted through a few vague suggestions taken from the studio audience. Each performance will be presented for its first time, as well as its last. No two shows will be alike!
The second Impro Theatre production will be JANE AUSTEN UNSCRIPTED, where an ensemble of players will present a play done in the style of the early 19th Century English author that charmed millions of readers through her novels as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and other works. This time, the troupe will present a play that could have been Jane’s latest work, but isn’t! Using a suggestion or two taken from the audience, one will witness a new work that will service as its first premier and its closing night performance all in one! Everyone on stage will be dressed in period costumes, so the flavor of Jane Austen can still be savored!
1966 HOLIDAY VARIETY EXTRAVAGANZA will perform at The Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 West Riverside Drive, Burbank (Toluca Lake adjacent) opening on Friday, November 30th through Sunday, December 9th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. Tickets and more details can be obtained by calling (818) 955-8101, or via http://www.www.garrymarshalltheatre.org
JANE AUSTEN UNSCRIPTED performs December 14th through the 22nd at The Edye theater space within The Broad Stage, 1310 11th Street (at Santa Monica Blvd.) Santa Monica. Showtimes are Friday, December 14th and 21st at 8:00 PM, Saturday, December 15th at 8:00 PM, Sunday, December 16th at 5:00 PM, and Saturday, December 22nd at 4:00 PM. Tickets can further details can be obtained by calling (310) 434-3200, or online at http://www.thebroadstage.org
IMPRO THEATRE can be found at https://improtheatre.com/
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