Reunited Again


Recently I attended a 70th high school reunion.

For those of you working out the math as you read this, let me assure you that this was not my 70th reunion.  It was that of my dad and the Kirkwood High School class of 1944.

Or at least what is left of them.

Sign Up for E-News

I met my dad in St. Louis.  He flew in from California, I from New Jersey.  Although he is in very good health, he moves somewhat painfully on 88-year-old knees and wanted some help getting around.  I was happy to oblige.  After all, how often do we get to attend high school reunions? 

In his case, plenty.   After 70 years, he has chalked up quite a few.

This reunion was held in a private room at a small Italian restaurant.  A table at the entrance displayed photographs and an old high school yearbook from 1944.  The photographs contained group and candid shots taken at previous reunions. 

After 70 years, it is possible to have a reunion of reunions.

Also on the table was a printed contact list of all the known class members compiled since the last event, twenty years ago.   My dad joked that a lot of his classmates were December

He moved his thick, bent finger across names that bore the abbreviation, dec.

As the reunion started, I was amused to discover that no matter how close we get to December, high school never really leaves us:  we can still be thrown back to petty comparisons that dredge up distant teenage insecurities.  As one woman entered the room and looked about for familiar faces, she ruminated aloud, “Oh god, am I the only one here with a walker?”

Although one well-dressed man did make it a point to wish me a Merry Christmas even though it was still October, the attending members of the class of 1944 were remarkably healthy and mentally “with it”.  But I suppose 70 years after high school, being healthy and alert are pretty much prerequisites for showing up anywhere.

Even so, the group’s impressive capacity to engage did not stop them from apologizing for their hearing and complaining how confusing it is to use cell phones.  

Despite crashing their reunion, the Kirkwood High School Class of 1944 graciously treated me as one of their own.  Which was fine until one woman asked if I would point myself out in the yearbook because she failed to recognize me.  

Her memory was not what it used to be, she said.

Apparently, neither was her eyesight.  However, she did tell me I hadn’t changed a whit in thirty years, which I took as a compliment.

One very nice gentleman, who I did not know, introduced himself and made it a point to tell me what a great guy my father was in high school.  “If you are even half the man he is,” he told me, “you should feel very proud.”

I did a quick calculation.  In order for my sons to follow in their grandfather’s footsteps they will have to be twice the man I am. 

They have a good chance.

Another nice woman took me aside, winked at me, and told me that long before she married her husband, she and some friends had once played spin the bottle with my father in a field behind her house. 

Then she stopped and shook her head, suddenly lost in reverie.  “He is no longer with us,” she said, smiling sweetly.

“I am sorry,” I told her sincerely, placing my hand on her shoulder. 

I assumed she was speaking of her husband, because my dad at that minute was very much October and laughing with his life-long friend, Bob, and another old friend, whose name was Ted.  

I knew them well from the photograph.

You see, among the few faded pictures I have of my father as a young adult, one sticks sublimely in my mind.  It is a shot of my dad and three close high school buddies who had reunited sometime in the early days of their professional careers.  

Bob and Ted are in the photo, along with a fourth they called Burly.   All four are lying shoulder-to-shoulder, face up on a bed, drinks in hand. 

They are wearing ties.

My dad is hanging off the bed, glancing obliquely at his old friend, Bob, who is lying next to him.  The other two have angled their faces toward Bob too.  Bob is staring in mock innocence at the ceiling, like a mischievous schoolboy. 

What you don’t see in the picture is this:  Bob has just farted.

What strikes me about the photo is that all four of these good high school friends are on the brink of hysterics.  They are captured forever in a magical moment of time just before their laughter ignites and burns the years down.

And here in St. Louis, so many decades later, three of these good friends stand together again enjoying the smoldering laughs of remembrances shared.

The fourth is not present.  Burly is December.

I think I will go to my next big reunion.  

There are some friends I have not seen in a long, long while.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, February 19 – Sunday, February 25, 2018


By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library are continuing their book collection in preparation for Annual Book Sale.  Kids are off from school on Monday for Presidents’ Day – bring them to the library!  We have plenty for them to do.  For adults, Professor Licklider’s second lecture on North Korea will take place on Tuesday.  The ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams - Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Week at the Library of The Chathams

Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018


By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library book collection continues.  The tax season is here, and dedicated volunteers are here to help you with you tax returns!

For information about all programs or to sign up, please call the library at 973‑635‑0603 or go to ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!


Video: Point View's Deitze Tell CNBC Fed is 'On Track' for March Rate Hike

February 15, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on CNBC on how to position your portfolio despite more volatility:

For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...