The first reunion, 10 years after we walked the stage, was held, I was told, in the old gymnasium that still smelled of sweat and old sneakers.

There was crepe paper in the school colors and paper napkins, Dixie cups and the glass punch bowl were supplied by Mrs. Eichelberger, the Latin teacher. Almost no one misses that one. I did.

I was in New York.

After that, interest diminishes. With each passing year the reinventing begins, the hair dyeing, the makeup, dieting. The first is about the great new job, the second about the promotions or lack of, and then it’s downhill to the obit section.

There was one, I’m told, that was held at a Radisson ballroom in the early ’60s. Whoever booked it bounced the check. Six divorces and four births were announced. The next one was at someone’s house. It rained, and there was a fist fight.

Word comes to me now of the 60th. 60th? Is that possible? The mind that once grew numb with calculus and biochemistry now boggles at the thought.

As I am the only survivor who became a writer, it falls on me to envision it. Who will be there? Who is dead and who is alive?

There is only one scenario possible. It will likely be held in the visitor’s lounge at the Rosebud Assisted Living Home. The staff will handle the decorations this time, I imagine. No chicken wings or beer this time. Loud sport coats and too long dresses will be replaced by nylon leisure suits and robes. Men’s hair will be silver or non-existent, women will delight in various shades of orange. There will be tiny tuna sandwiches and iced tea in plastic glasses that smell of disinfectant. The paper napkins will be borrowed from the Burger King just down the street. Bowls of Beano will be supplied. Valet parking for walkers, I’m sure.

Memories will be shared. There will be talk of Ray who died in Korea and left his collection of Perry Como records to his senior class love, Laura Wharton, who broke his heart by running away with Alan Towers, who became a Kroger’s Market night manager. Roger will speak of his prostate; Ruth, of her hammertoes.

Music will be supplied, I imagine, by Billy Seeger, should he still be alive. Billy played the accordion and was fond of polkas. The mandatory group photo shot will be easier this year. In 1967, I’m told, there were problems getting everyone back into the ballroom for the shot, and there was the marijuana incident in the girls room. The picture will be arranged, just as it always was, by height. Allison was the shortest, 5 feet, one inch as I remember and established a permanent spot in front. Kevin Mueller, the tallest at 6 feet, seven inches, was always at the back.

Most will want to sit down this year, even Kevin, who is now a wealthy dentist in southern Illinois and had both knees replaced.

If she is still alive, and I hope she is, Rosemary De Branco — she of the one-thousand-and-one pastel colored angora sweaters and simple strand of pearls — will be seated center next to Barbara Johnson, both of whom always wore White Shoulders cologne and confused us all.

With the greater possibility of major dentures, Best Smile will be eliminated. There will be a prize, I’m sure, for the person who came the greatest distance. I heard from Ron Cincena, now deceased, some years ago that the prize went to Phil (last name omitted) who came all the way up from Arkansas State Prison, where he was paroled after serving time for check bouncing. Phil, I’m told, passed away after a short career as a night bagger at Alan Tower’s Kroger Store.

As usual, I won’t be attending this year. I’m in Maine with heat rash on my forearms.

60th.

How time flies when you’re having fun.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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