The village, high school reunion & Me
Posted July 10, 2010on:
A wise person – I think it was a woman – said last night, “It takes a village to complete a sentence.”
It’s true. Sitting upstairs in the outdoor biergarden at the German restaurant, Schneithorst, we were trying to remember just who had told us he/she had worked in the Carter Administration.
It had been an intense, loud, overheated room inside the restaurant where we had gathered for drinks and hors d’œuvres. We were literally bumper-to-bumper inside the room that was reserved for us. I have never had as much trouble getting across a room.
The Ladue High School reunion planning committee had panicked at one point because only 30 or so of our class of 500 had signed up. It was unnecessary panic; the village had returned.
Back to the Carter Administration person, I offered, “I’m pretty sure it was a woman.” That sure narrowed it down.
Our minds raced, trying to extract that buried information from a mere hour or two earlier from our overheated, over stimulated and over saturated brains.
Then someone snatched victory from shattered memory. “It was Sharon P…!”
Truly, it was a relief.
It was then I said, “It takes a village to complete a sentence,” to which I heard great laughter.
Earlier I had explained to someone else (don’t ask me who) that, “I was born with a 40 megabyte brain and we now live in a 250 gigabyte world.” Or to use another analogy that I’m just now making up, my memories aren’t always of high enough resolution for today’s images. And still another, I need ear plugs to keep all the stuff I hear from falling out.
OK, enough with the analogies.
The high school reunion events began with a tour of the high school Friday afternoon. I’m staying with my good buddy, Laurie, who did not want to go to the tour but going to the social hour was OK. So I went with another good friend I had not seen in probably 15 to 20 years. As a guidance counselor at a high school in Indiana, Shelly had a bit of professional interest in how the school had changed.
Current students tried to take us around to show the new additions to the building, including a new swimming pool that was just as hot and stuffy and chloriney as the one in which my mom graciously sat to watch during swimming lessons as a little kid. “Watch me, Mommy. Watch me!” A saint that woman was, I tell you, a saint.
I did think there was a possibility that one reason for the tour was to hook us into making contributions to the alumni association or the Ladue School District Foundation. There was a table with brochures, but no heavy sell. I did pick up an “I love Ladue schools” button, as did Shelly.
Ladue, by the way, was and is a very wealthy school district, with old money of St. Louis. Living in the suburb of Olivette, we were the poor relations in the Ladue district spectrum, but the lower end was very comfortable.
The ranch houses of the post World War II neighborhood in which I grew up are being torn down – or were before the housing bubble burst. Huge houses are going up instead. With a mixture of the old ranches and the very new and big, it looks kind of incongruous, but my old house is still there. Those new houses mean Olivette will eventually not be the poor relations.
For the current students trying to take us around the school, it was a lot like herding cats. Only half listening, we were fully watching each other trying to figure out if we knew that woman or this guy. Some, who knew I had breast cancer in the last year, were afraid to hug me. I told them I was not breakable.
I reconnected with two guys who had cancer surgery in the last six months. All three of us are here on the planet and there at the event, as we decided in communications on Facebook.
While much had been added to the school, like the alumni who returned, there were some elements of the old that could still be seen. The floors, walls and lockers in some areas looked the same, kind of like our faces a little worn for wear. The building had significant remodeling and additions. Some of us had way too much added in certain areas – or perhaps even more like me, a bunch taken off the top, although a different top for the men shall we say than me.
We wore name tags with our high school graduation photo around our necks. Mine hung right at where my chest used to be or perhaps more accurately, where it had been remodeled. But who cares? Not me.
But at the heart of each of us still was each of us. But don’t ask me what that still was or is.
I’m still overheated, over stimulated and over saturated from a hundred or two conversations at once. I’ll have to defer to my village for any specifics.