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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Michael's 40th Class Reunion

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/23/2024
Posted: 10/18/2009
Page Views: 979
Topics: #Places #NewYork #Eastchester
I accompany Michael to his 40th high school reunion.

I had a great time at my 40th high school reunion earlier this year. So did Michael. Mine was a small class (42 graduates) and we had already worked out most of our "issues" years ago, so it was just a gathering of old friends with little in common but our 12 years of shared scholastic history.

Michael's 40th high school reunion promised to be more stressful, as his relatively large class of 260 graduates had not kept in close touch through the years (with some exceptions), and its members had each had a small circle of friends rather than everyone knowing everyone well, as was the case in my high school. Moreover, Michael would have to not only come out of the closet for the first time to most of his classmates, but have to explain an unrelated name change. So he really wanted me there for moral support, as did our friend, Barbara, who was the only one of his classmates with whom Michael had kept in close touch.

Considering that we moved into a new house just last weekend, and still haven't really unpacked, I didn't really want to fly to New York this weekend. But duty called, and I answered.

Michael flew out Thursday, staying at a Newark Airport Holiday Inn overnight until I arrived on Friday. I flew out on Continental, a non-stop 5-hour flight without food or entertainment other than my seat which was apparently designed by the Marquis de Sade. However, I barely noticed as I was still exhausted from the move so slept the entire way. Once in Newark, I picked up my rental car from Hertz, then attempted to drive to Michael's Holiday Inn which was across the street from the airport and could be seen from there.

This was easier said than done. I had brought my GPS but not even it could guide me through the tangled spaghetti maze of exits, entrances, overpasses, underpasses and bypasses that make up the combined lanes of New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and various Interstate Highways. Nuking it all and starting over could only be an improvement.

The basic problem is one I've found common to all the Middle Atlantic States: arrogance. The people there assume that everyone else knows everything they know. Signs, therefore, are superfluous and only grudgingly supplied, far too close to the actual exit to assist in deciding which lane to occupy. And the traffic, even at off-peak hours, is too dense to allow a last-minute lane change. So I kept finding myself bullied into the wrong turn-off. In my attempt to cross the road to the Airport Holiday Inn, I found myself in Rahway, and then Bayonne. I literally screamed and pounded the steering wheel in frustration.

The saving grace was my cell phone; at least I could keep Michael posted and not worry that he thought I'd stood him up, as I did twelve years ago when I met him in New Jersey for a date—about an hour late, and for the same reason.

Anyway, I did get him eventually and once we got out of the chaotic hellhole that is Northern New Jersey my mood improved.

Michael's 40th Class Reunion Get-Together

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/16/2009
Page Views: 1207
Topics: #Eastchester #NewYork #High-SchoolReunion #Travel
We attend the first event of Michael's high school reunion.

Michael went to Eastchester High School, Eastchester being in New York state. However, the first reunion event was being held in White Plains at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. This hotel was also being "recommended" as an appropriate place to stay for all reunion-attendees. That's because people in Eastchester are mostly filthy rich (Michael's mother was an heiress) and that Middle Atlantic arrogance can't imagine anyone being otherwise.

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Touring Eastchester High School

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/16/2009
Page Views: 941
Topics: #Eastchester #NewYork
We tour Michael's old high school as part of his 40th reunion.

When most students finally graduate from high school after four long years spent trapped within its walls, they can't imagine ever wanting to go back. However, 40 years can mellow the most claustrophobic of high schoolers, and thus there was quite a turnout for the tour of Eastchester High School being given for the graduates' 40th year reunion.

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Michael's Old Neighborhood

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/17/2009 4:00:00 PM
Page Views: 904
Topics: #Eastchester #NewYork
We visit the neighborhhod in which Michael and Barbara grew up.

My husband, Michael, and our friend, Barbara, have known each other since 7th grade. At one point they lived, literally, behind each other; and Michael could see Barbara wave from her bedroom window to his. So, since we were all in Eastchester for Michael and Barbara's 40th class reunion anyway, we of course had to visit their old neighborhoods.

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Michael's Reunion Dinner

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/17/2009 11:30:00 PM
Page Views: 957
Topics: #Easter #NewYork
Michael and I dance for the first time in 10 years.

I don't know that I "clean up" all that well. When people see me all dressed up they usually gasp and say that I do, but I think it's more of the startled reaction to a chicken playing piano than any genuine admiration. The thing that's remarkable about a chicken playing the piano isn't how well it plays, but that it plays at all. That my normally-sneaker-or-sandal clad feet even fit into leather shoes, or that a tie can be made to knot itself around my normally collarless neck, seems to be unexpected enough to impress the initiated. For those who don't know me, I tend to get the polite avoidance of eye contact that suggests that, if we were in a Wal-Mart, they would be surreptitiously whipping out their cell phones to capture my incongruous image for

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Visiting Rose

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/18/2009
Page Views: 905
Topics: #Kingston #NewYork
We visit Michael's niece Rose and her family.

Michael's late sister, Dorothy Ann, had 8 kids. Michael helped raise those kids in the absence of their father. And so he is very close to all of them. Since we were just a short drive from one of them, Rose, while attending his 40th High School Class Reunion, we determined to drop by and hoped the others who live on the East Coast could converge.

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